Have you ever looked at your real estate business and wished you had more control, more predictability, and more time to focus on the things that matter in the long run?
Tackling the new challenges that each day brings is part of succeeding in any business, and especially a pay-for-performance industry like real estate. But if you're feeling like you're reactive more often than proactive, maybe it's time to ask yourself, "why?"
The technology you’re using might be the reason.
Don’t get us wrong: technology is the greatest driver behind any successful business in the 21st century. But it’s also a double-edged sword.
Use technology the smart way, and it can propel your business far ahead of the competition. Use it incorrectly, and the very same technology can inhibit your growth and force you into a constant state of putting out fires.
How do you make sure that your tech tools are your allies?
Let’s find out how some of the best real estate team owners are using technology to stay ahead of the game.
If you’re an agent, broker or team leader in today’s age, you already know you need to establish reliable systems to help you handle more transactions in less time.
Despite hundreds of tech systems and software products on the market, there are really only two main approaches to to how you as the owner of a real estate business choose to wield those tools:
When you’re looking to scale your real estate business, the task of figuring out which tech tools to run on can feel overwhelming to say the least. The good news is, there’s really no wrong or right choice—just the one that makes the most sense for you.
Let’s take a closer look at each approach.
All-in-one solutions that include everything from lead generation, Facebook ads, email marketing and more provide you with everything you need to close more deals—from the first cold contact to the congratulatory email.
In a way, they provide you with a complete model for your real estate business. But, there’s a catch: it’s not your own business model and if you want to make changes in the future, you might find your hands are tied.
There’s a reason all-in-one systems are commonly referred to as “closed” systems. They come with their own set of tools, and while you may be able to tweak a thing or two, you won’t be able to adapt the system to your own unique needs or add new tools that you and your team love to work with.
When you’re in the early stages of growing your business, an all-in-one system can help you automate some of the things you shouldn’t be spending your time on (e.g., testing multiple ads, lead gen tactics, email CTRs, etc.) so you can focus your energy on the parts of the conversion process that really need your attention (making calls, nurturing your past clients and SOI, training team members).
But we’ll be honest. At Follow Up Boss, we don’t think that there is such a thing as the one perfect real estate system that includes everything that a real estate business needs to generate and close leads. And frankly, we don’t think there should be.
The way we see it, real estate teams should build their own lead management systems—efficient workflows that reflect the unique value of your business and consist of the tools you and your team actually like to use.
The main difference between the all-in-one system approach and the open systems approach is that open systems allow you to integrate other apps and software—building unique combinations of the tools and processes your real estate business requires based on where you are in your business journey.
When you first start scaling your lead gen or marketing, it can be hard to imagine how these processes will look in one, two or five years. But having the ability to switch between lead sources, marketing platforms and other tools is crucial to creating and maintaining team-friendly systems that are easy to scale and grow as your needs change.
Let’s talk about how some of the most successful teams in the real estate industry use open systems to create sustainable, flexible, and easy-to-scale workflows.
Follow Up Boss is an open system, letting you choose the tools you use.
Ryan Rodenbeck, the founder behind wildly successful Spyglass Realty, is a big advocate for using tech in real estate. He tested virtually every tool out there to find out which ones really make his team of 20+ superstar agents more efficient.
But even with his vast technical experience, he found the majority of all-in-one solutions limited his team’s ability to perform at their best.
“I have used a lot of CRMs out there,” says Ryan, “Experimenting with every type of system from the overly complicated to the over-priced.”
Lead quality was down, agents were deep in the transaction management weeds and leads were being left un-nurtured—even the website needed a makeover.
“We wanted to have a better class of leads, we wanted to have a better website. I wanted to have a CRM that was not attached to anything else. That was super important to me.”
Ryan uses Follow Up Boss for nurturing leads and tracking agent performance, and easily combines it with another favorite tool, Transactify to help them keep prospecting, even with multiple transactions pending.
By combining both tools, he gets the best lead management system for his agents, while further optimizing his process by focusing on specific transactions and conversion patterns. Because he uses an open system, Ryan can easily add other best-of-breed tools into his business foundation as he sees fit.
At the end of the day, Ryan and his team aren't stuck with a toolset they have to use as a part of a bigger product.
Instead, he himself controls the level of complexity of his system, deciding what tools fit his team the best.
As Ryan puts it: “If you can identify tools that your agents will actually use in their day-to-day workflows, you can rest easy knowing you’ve made the right investment.”
Ryan uses advanced lead flow rules to make sure agents get leads in the areas they serve and the price points they're best suited to handle.
Emilio DiSpirito, the leader behind one of the top five Rhode Island real estate teams, believes in the power of systems.
But more than that, Emilio believes in systems that are flexible.
For years, he experimented with different approaches to building his real estate business. Eventually, Emilio found the right combination of processes and tools that allowed him to increase his transaction volume from $8 to $50 million in just four years.
The million-dollar secret is that the experimentation never ended.
What makes Emilio’s team so successful is how easily they can experiment with new lead sources and formats by adding new tools to their pipeline. And because they use an open system, it’s easy for them to trial, track and measure what works.
The DiSpirito Team currently focuses its efforts on several marketing channels, including open houses, social media, and SEO.
"A lot of our engagement comes through Facebook, some of it through Instagram and some through LinkedIn. I think LinkedIn is going to be really big in the future," shares Emilio.
If one of the lead sources runs dry and another one wells up, the team can quickly re-adjust their workflows and seize the opportunity while other businesses rush to catch up.
Emilio uses Ylopo to host his website, and his site’s leads are sent straight into Follow Up Boss. “With Ylopo in the mix, leads are able to instantly start a conversation, straight from Facebook Messenger,” he adds.
In this scenario, Follow Up Boss works as a cornerstone for everything the team does.
"Follow Up Boss has been really instrumental in keeping us in front of not only new clients, but the clients that we're nurturing,” says Emilio.
Most importantly, Emilio knows he can easily change things on the go if his team needs to try something new. For example, Emilio plans to boost his team’s SEO efforts by spotlighting local featured businesses. No matter how the market changes, he knows he has a flexible foundation that will allow him to easily pivot his marketing on an as needed basis.
With the power combo of Ylopo and Follow Up Boss Action Plans Emilio and his team set up highly-customized follow up plans for different kinds of leads based on a range of criteria, like price, neighborhood, age of lead and more.
At the core of every successful real estate team is a hard-working team of ambitious agents.
But complicated technology can keep you from building the team of your dreams.
Michael Smith built Greenville’s leading Bluefield Realty Group in just four years, and now his brokerage employs more than 20 agents and staff members.
In growing his brokerage, Michael’s top priority was always choosing the right people.
“I really wanted to build a team by design. And even from day one, I started building systems that could be duplicatable and scalable so that I could plug other agents into the system. I wanted to make sure I could always provide for the agents and keep them busy.”
From the very beginning, Michael understood that an agent’s ability to be great isn’t something you can always see on their resume.
“I'm looking for the things that can't be taught, like integrity, and work ethic,” he shares. “One of our best agents, the year before he joined us, sold one house, and then the year after he joined us, I think he sold 24 houses.”
But what if your future superstar fails on day 1 simply because your business systems are impossible to use?
All-in-one real estate solutions often come with a myriad of features and try to cover every possible scenario that real estate agents could experience.
While having hundreds of features may look good on paper, it may simply be too much for your team to work with. It’s important to make sure your tools empower your people to do their jobs, not make them hate them.
"Really, the thing I like about Follow Up Boss is that it’s so visually simple and easy. I feel like the learning curve is so short. When I onboard someone, it's just intuitive. It's easy to understand, it's very, very user-friendly," Michael says.
"I've seen a lot of other platforms out there that are just so complicated and visually hard to understand, but they still can't do half the things Follow Up Boss does."
Using Follow Up Boss, Michael can track leading indicators like response rate to evaluate lead sources and agent performance faster than waiting for deals to close
We’re long past the time when all you needed to sell a house was a land line and a notepad.
These days, thriving real estate teams are always on the lookout for cutting-edge technology that can give them a market advantage. And in this day and age, the key to getting and staying ahead is having the flexibility to scale your business without getting bogged down troubleshooting outdated tools and workflows..
Investing in an open system lets you build the most optimal processes for your company and integrate with all the best tools on the market.
If you want to see how an intuitive, easy-to-use, open CRM system can keep your real estate business secure and competitive for years to come, try Follow Up Boss today.