Real Estate Agency Is Sold on Contactually

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Real estate agents live on referrals and repeat business. To be successful, they need to build up a bank of prospects, past clients, friends, family, local professionals (bankers, lawyers, etc.), and anyone else who might be in the market for a new house, apartment, co-op, condo, or office space in the not-too-distant future.

“It’s a cutthroat business,” says Geoffrey Bray, co-owner of the Engel & Voelkers franchise in Minneapolis.

In that environment, the agency managed to conduct 808 closings for a total of $235 million in sales in 2017. Those numbers might have been even higher had the agency put in its current CRM system sooner.

Realtors at Engel & Voelkers needed client management, lead management, and transaction management, but the company was having a hard time finding all three in the same system, Bray recalls.

As a result, each of his company’s 55 real estate agents used their own systems or no system at all, meaning that leads and follow-ups could easily fall through the cracks.

That’s a dangerous outcome in the real estate game, where only about 35 percent of homeowners remember who their realtor was two years after closing, according to the National Association of Realtors.

Real estate agents want to work with their customers on future sales, given that the average homeowner moves every seven years, according to industry statistics. They also need to rely on past customers for referrals.

“They all know a lot of people who are going to move. You need to stay in front of them,” Bray says.

Though the need had been growing for some time, by 2017, the company had grown to a size that numerous agents were calling for a CRM system, Brays says. “We knew we had to provide something.”

After looking at a number of systems, Engel & Voelkers eventually went with Contactually CRM.

Contactually’s system works as a platform and a mobile app. Both enable users to enter contacts and spheres of influence, group contracts according to their specific needs, and create different plans for follow-ups. The application syncs email, phone, and communications history with a single click. Users can also develop custom templates and automate personal messages.

“It’s a simple, fact-based system,” Bray says. “It provides a regular system for following up with clients, friends, and others.

“Without a formal system, it’s impossible to keep track of contacts and which ones you have followed up with appropriately,” Brays adds. “This way, you know what you have to do every day. It’s like having a personal trainer.”

Engel & Voelkers had very strict requirements for its CRM system, ones that dovetailed with Contactually’s capabilities.

First, any CRM system would have to be able to bring together leads, client management, and transaction management. Second, it would need to be able to track leads and prospects all the way through the sales funnel, from initial contact through the closing and any post-sales follow-ups. Third, it would need to be easy to use so that agents actually used it.

Lastly, the system had to be state of the art. “We’re a pretty progressive company, but as a whole, real estate technology is behind the times. We were looking for a cutting-edge platform, one that would let us grow with the industry. We were looking for API integration and something that could talk to Zillow, Trulia, and Realtor.com,” Bray says. Those three websites have a plethora of real estate information, including listings, pictures, and informative articles.

Bray found all that and more in Contactually. The agency launched Contactually late last summer and is enjoying a 90 percent adoption rate.

Since installing the system, transactions have grown 55 percent, and sales volume is up 65 percent. Additionally, the firm averages 17.5 sales per agent, up 15 percent in the past year.

Bray hopes to grow those figures even more during 2018, the agency’s first full year on the new system.

The Payoff

Since rolling out Contactually CRM a year ago, the Engel & Voelkers franchise in Minneapolis has seen the following results:

  • transactions have increased by 55 percent;
  • sales per agent have increased by 15 percent; and
  • total sales volume has increased by 65 percent.

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