Losing leads is a dilemma Eric Bramlett is all too familiar with — he operated for quite a few years without any kind of system in place.
“The CRMs we tried just didn’t work very well. I would set everything up, use it for a week, find no value in it, and then just stop using it.” Soon enough, he was using the automatic emails provided through the MLS client gateway as an ad hoc lead management system.
Needless to say, it was messy.
“I would weed through all those emails and I couldn’t remember who to call next,” Eric says. “I was basically using email as a CRM, which is not an efficient tool.”
Finally, he buckled down. “I cut out all distractions and made production my #1 priority,” he says. “I became obsessive about lead gen, follow up, and tracking.”
But to do that, he needed a real CRM.
Follow Up Boss was a perfect fit — it was a platform he actually wanted to use with robust tracking built right in.
After years of doing it the hard way, Eric knows the value of a strong CRM. “If you’re trying to manage more than three clients at a time with email, it’s not going to work. With Follow Up Boss, you can manage 15, 20, 30 clients at different stages of the sales cycle and you’ll be able to save your sanity and know where everything is.”
But using Follow Up Boss also allows Eric and his team to take their business to the next level by not only being more intentional in the way they work their leads, but in the way they perceive them.
Armed with a brand new "Leads Are Opportunities, Not Obligations" mindset, Eric switched his lead distribution process to lead ponds.
With lead ponds, agents get to grab their own lead opportunities, rather than have them pushed to them. This means the most available and motivated agent gets the lead first, which increases speed to lead.
It also allows the agents to manage their own pipelines, rather than the broker guess which agents need more leads. “It's been a huge efficiency boost,” says Eric.
“Our agents have a daily process where they log into Follow Up Boss and they just start running through their follow up list,” explains Eric.
Every lead comes in with a weekly Action Plan by default. But Eric encourages his agents to use their own discretion to determine the frequency a lead should be followed up.
“If a lead’s better off with bi-weekly or monthly or quarterly follow ups, the agent can go and adjust it,” he explains.
Eric even uses action plans internally to deliver a weekly follow up reminder to his agents: “It helps make sure no leads fall through the cracks. It’s definitely an integral part of our business,” he says.
Remote Phone Duty
But that’s not the only change driving positive ROI for Eric’s team. “We implemented remote phone duty last year, which has been hugely successful,” Eric explains.
In keeping with his philosophy that leads are opportunities (not obligations), Eric’s agents all have the option to take remote phone duty when they want to service more leads. Though it’s not required, it’s a great way for them to take even more ownership over their individual pipelines.
“If an agent isn't performing and wants help, we first look at how many opportunities they're claiming from ponds and how many phone duty shifts they're taking,” says Eric. “If they're not doing those things, it's an easy fix. If they are already doing those things, then we have to dig a little deeper.”
When it comes to making business decisions, Eric is all about trying to solve things systematically.
“I’ve always been into analytics, figuring out what’s working and what’s not. The more you track revenue, the more you realize what’s driving your business,” he explains. And that makes it easy to see where to invest more time and money.
Eric and his team tag leads by source in Follow Up Boss, use Transactify to quantify exactly how much revenue they’re earning from each one, then optimize accordingly.
And as you might expect, he’s all about testing to find out what works.
“Your best lead sources vary from market to market. We’re constantly testing and trying stuff out,” he says. According to Eric, if they test out 10 lead sources, nine of them usually don’t work.
“That’s why it’s important to track. If you’re just barfing money everywhere and you’re using your gut to tell you if it’s working or not, it’s not very accurate,” says Eric.
“If you track everything and you really know where your business is coming from you can then say, ‘Okay, how much time or money am I spending on this source? Am I getting a return?’ You’re always making sound decisions and improving efficiencies.”
Ultimately, Eric’s goal is to provide his team with the business foundation they need, to build the lifestyle they want.
“My job is to provide good systems, which I’m very obsessive about. That, and leads,” he says. “We’re hiring people that are already very good and they’re coming into a brokerage that cares a lot. But primarily it’s about us helping with lead gen. If somebody comes to us and they’re already doing $5 million per year, they’ll do $10 million with us, no question about it.”
But Eric knows success is relative.
“There’s nothing wrong with saying, ‘I want to be a $10 million producer and that’s it. You’ll be able to watch your kids play soccer and go on vacation — that’s a great life. Then there’s people that want to do $20 to $30 million and we can help them get there, too,” says Eric.
For himself, Eric prefers to produce less and make it to his son’s soccer games every weekend. “With Follow Up Boss if I happen to be out of town, I can look at our reports and say ‘Yes, everything is dialed in and working.’ Then, I can breathe easy.”
And if his current results are anything to go by, his systems are absolutely dialed in.
“We broke $100M in mid-March this year, so we're tracking to do $300-$400M depending on how things shake out,” says Eric. Because of this growth, Eric has had to take a crash course on scaling. He’s hired a Chief Excellence Officer who will essentially take over his role as company leader, with Company Culture as a core focal point. This allows him to spend more time on what he loves: Marketing & systems.
Clearly, a watertight system is a top priority for this lifestyle-focused top producer. But in the end, he stands by his mantra: “Track everything. Do more of what works and less of what doesn’t. If you do that, you’ll continually improve.”