Utilizing a CRM for Your Business

The top two sources of business for Realtors are referrals and past clients.  With that being said, our question to you:  How are you keeping up with your past clients??  Many real estate agents still use Excel spreadsheets or a simple contact manager (like the one in Outlook or Gmail) to manage their database of past clients, because they think of their database is just a list of names and numbers.  What they don’t realize is that they are missing out on the power of automating the processes and developing and maintaining relationships with the people in their database!  Having a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system is a way to keep up with your past contacts.  It’s an organized way to document activity with each client so you can easily follow up with them and build relationships.

In our class, CRM 101, we discuss the basics of a CRM, the types of information you should gather as well as the value a CRM process can add to your business.  A common question the Independence Title Education team gets is: “Which CRM is the best?”  While we can’t give a solid recommendation on just one because it truly does depend on the type of business you have, we have put together our “Top 8” below from our research.

A CRM is something that takes time.  Unfortunately, time is something a lot of us don’t have.  The good news is that selecting a CRM platform which suits your individual needs is probably the most time-consuming part of the process!

Still need help deciding?  Thanks to EasyAgentPro, we found this nifty little tool to help you decide.  Take this short quiz and it’ll point you in the right direction.  Also, Three Questions to Ask Before Selecting your CRM.

There are so many ways a CRM system can help you manage your database.  The key to getting the most out of a CRM is to be disciplined about using it.  Every time you speak with a contact, enter notes about what you discussed and schedule your next contact.  Every time you generate a lead, assign them to a follow-up plan.  Over time, you’ll find that your relationships are stronger, your pipeline is fuller, and your business is growing and changing.

(A lot of this research was taken from the Facebook group Lab Coat Agents, if you don’t follow, you should!  It’s a great place to get tips, tricks and insight from agents across the globe.)

[AUSTIN] Spring into Education! New Classes Available.

The Independence Title Education Team has been working hard on developing new and improved classes for you!  See a list below of all the brand new classes we are offering this Spring.  Please also check out our menus for all classes offered by the Education Team.  To schedule one of these great classes in your office, contact your local business development representative.  You may also join us at any of our public classes.

  • Power of Personality – Every buyer, seller, and Realtor have a different and distinct personality. In this class, we will walk you through how to determine a person’s personality style. You will discover how to assess different personality types and ultimately learn to communicate with and market to all types of people effectively.
  • Facebook for Real Estate – New to Facebook or struggling with managing it? Join us to learn the difference between a personal profile and business page; learn tips and tricks on managing the two separately or just utilizing your personal profile. We will talk about controlling privacy settings, sharing engaging content, empowering your brand, and truly connecting with current and prospective clients.
  • Facebook: Beyond the Basics – What is your main goal for Facebook? Get leads? Market your listings? Engage with clients? If you answered yes to those questions and already know the basics of Facebook, then this class is for you! In this hour, you will learn how to set up Facebook Ads, understand the importance of a landing page, use Facebook live to increase exposure on certain topics, and learn tips and tricks that will help you engage with your Facebook community.
  • Instagram: Beyond the Basics – Due to Instagram’s visual nature, more and more Realtors are using it to build and promote their real estate brand. In this advanced class, we will discuss recent updates and new tools such as Instagram Live. We will identify a target audience and unveil clever ways to engage with them. We will also go over hashtags and real estate branding tips. Lastly, we will look at ways to connect with your followers and promote your listings via Instagram Ads.
  • ITC University – ITC University is designed to provide essential knowledge to a brand new assistant, closing coordinator, or newly licensed agent. The group will meet on Wednesdays from 10-3 for 4 weeks. We will define basic real estate terminology and lingo, learn those perplexing acronyms everyone uses, and study commonly used TAR forms. We will touch on all the major software platforms including, Zipform Plus, DocuSign, Matrix, Realist, and Supra. We will also explain and examine the Title Commitment, Closing forms, and a Contract to Close Checklist. Our University will have you or your team proficient by the end of the 4-week course.
  • Principles of a Smart Transaction – This class highlights the major benchmarks in a real estate transaction. Starting with helpful things to collect at a listing appointment, to reviewing commonly overlooked sections of the contract, breaking down the basics of understanding a title commitment, and concluding with other contract to close tips. This course is just what any agent needs to execute a smart transaction.
  • Real Estate in a Snap – Most Realtors have heard of Snapchat; however, many aren’t aware that it has higher engagement than any social network on the planet! Snapchat’s instant, visual nature allows Realtors to send content to potential clients and customers in a fast, fun, and creative way. In this class, we’ll start with the basics of Snapchat, then teach you how to engage and interact with your followers in an authentic way
  • Time-Saving Tips for Realtors Do you wish your days could be more productive? Do you feel overwhelmed when trying to complete daily tasks? In this class, we will look at a day in the life of a Realtor and give you some “life hacks for real estate”. You will also learn ways to make your business more productive, more effi’cient, and hopefully more fun!
  • Translating Transaction Desk – Do you ever feel like implementing new technology into your business is like learning a foreign language? Well, leave it to us to translate Transaction Desk for you. This class will cover all the dierent aspects of Instanet Transaction Desk. You will learn how to use the platform as a one-stop-shop for managing documents and transactions.
  • Matrix on the Go with goMLS – The goMLS Austin mobile application not only lets you search the MLS and access showing instructions on the go, it allows ABOR members and their customers to work together and remotely share information throughout the home buying and selling process. In this class, you will learn different features of the app such as automatic agent branding, accessing MLS data, and sharing information on listings with clients via your cell phone!

Buyer Capture is Here!!

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Have you ever driven across town to pick up an earnest money check from your buyer?  If so, put down your car keys… buyer capture is here!!  We are excited to announce that the buyer capture feature with the ZOCCAM mobile app is now available!

You may recall an earlier blog post about the ZOCCAM mobile app which allows the Realtor to send the contract and earnest money to Independence Title via their smart phone?  Just recently released, Realtors now have the ability to invite their Buyers to send earnest money via ZOCCAM! This allows for a safe and compliant delivery option for your buyer. Won’t this be great for your out of town Buyers?!

The Buyer Capture feature allows the Realtor to attach the contract and send a request to the buyer to utilize the ZOCCAM app to capture the check. Once the request is initiated by the Realtor, ZOCCAM sends the buyer a “Z-Code” that is tied to that specific transaction, ensuring secure delivery of the earnest money.

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Your buyer’s may ask, “Is this secure?”  The answer:  Yes, it is.  If they’ve ever deposited a check to their bank via a mobile app, they will recognize the software which is completely encrypted.  Contact your local Independence Title business development rep for step by step instructions.

Have You Updated IndependenceTitleAgent?

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Have you ever tried to explain a Seller’s Net Sheet to someone and their native language is Vietnamese? Or have you ever had trouble comparing multiple offers IndependenceTitleAgent can help! IndependenceTitleAgent is a closing cost app that will help you calculate closing costs, run Seller Net Sheets and Buyer Quick Estimates, and so much more!

IndependenceTitleAgent has added new features in its most recent update! Below are the features you can start using today:

Languages: IndependenceTitleAgent has added 6 new languages to the app: Vietnamese, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Russian, and Arabic. The new languages can be applied to all printouts and marketing pieces. To change the language, simply select the language icon at the top of the preview screen.
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Multiple Offer Comparison Enhancements: Comparing multiple offers can be confusing and time consuming. Instead of creating a spreadsheet, have the app do the comparing for you! Before the update, you could compare up to 3 offers but now you can compare up to 12 offers!

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New Printout Styles: Every client that you work with is different. Some may be visual learners while others may just want a list of data. There are many new printout styles to choose from when sending customized reports to your clients. After generating a report, simply swipe left to see the different styles.

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Closing Date Default: Instead of choosing a closing date every time you run a quick estimate or seller’s net sheet, simply choose a default of 30, 60, or 90 days out and it will automatically default to that every time.

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Contact your ITC Business Development Representative for more information about IndependenceTitleAgent!

To Download click below!

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The Ultimate App!!

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How much will my monthly payment be? How much do I need to bring to the closing table? How much will I net at closing? If you are a Realtor you probably hear these questions every day from your buyers and sellers.

What if you could answer your clients’ questions within seconds with one user-friendly app?

IndependenceTitleAgent is THE APP that will make your life easier and impress your clients! Generate Buyer Quick Estimates, Seller Net Sheets, access Rent vs. Buy and Net-to-Sell calculators, and more . . . from your smartphone, tablet, or desktop!

Follow the steps below to download IndependenceTitleAgent and be on your way to real estate greatness!

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Be sure to attend “The Ultimate App” class or contact your Independence Title Business Development Rep for more information.  You can also download the desktop version at www.independenceagent.com.

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How are you going to see your figures for closing?

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As we near the end of 2015 I think we should focus on one detail of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) regulations, which is the American Land Title Association (ALTA) Settlement Statement. For most residential transactions the ALTA Settlement Statement is a Realtor’s new best friend. This form is quickly becoming the golden ticket among title companies as a solution for navigating new privacy rules that limit which closing documents can be shared from a real estate transaction.

New lending practices mandated by the CFPB, effective Oct. 3rd, in conjunction with existing privacy laws, prevent title companies from sharing the Borrower’s Closing Disclosure with the seller or with Realtors. The Closing Disclosure, or “CD,” combines the HUD-1 and Truth in Lending form and is prepared in most cases by the lender. There are promulgated authorizations from TREC (last paragraph of the new Third Party Financing Addendum) and TAR (“Authorization to Furnish TILA/RESPA Integrated Disclosures”), but it is unknown if lenders’ compliance departments will accept these authorizations. The Closing Disclosure contains non-public information like the term of the loan, interest rate, payment amount, and so forth.

The ALTA Settlement Statement shows all fees from the contract and the Closing Disclosure It also allows Realtors to confirm that all provisions of the contract have been honored and all agreements between parties are satisfied, without specific authorizations for the lender to release the Borrower’s CD. The ALTA form does not contain non-public information, and can be shared with all parties. Most importantly, Realtors requesting a preliminary closing statement will likely be receiving the fees on the ALTA Settlement Statement.

If your title company is unaware of this solution, feel free to refer them to the “ALTA Combined Settlement Statement”.

For more information, visit the Independence Title Blog, and our Austin Education page.

ABoR.com | Extreme Makeover

You may have noticed the Austin Board of REALTORS website got a makeover recently.

Austin Board of Realtor's Website

The changes offer a more intuitive experience while surfing the site, but change is always a little difficult so they’ve made it easy to quickly access some of the most important areas of the site. Notice this?
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When you click View Site Tips, you get (you guessed it) site tips!

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There is one tip you can’t see on this screen, and that’s what happens when someone searches using the Find a Member button.

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You’ll still be able to search with partial information…

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and see a list of agent names and phone numbers.

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However, to see more information, like an email address, click Details. You’ll then be redirected to the Realtor.com profile for that agent.

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So if you haven’t logged in to claim your free profile on Realtor.com, or haven’t logged into the site in a while, now is the time! Be sure your contact information is up to date, and if you haven’t already, include a cover and profile image as well.

| Log-in to Realtor.com as an agent |

Realtor.com has recently updated its website as well, it seems much more user-friendly with several easy ways to include recommendations and reviews from past clients and other industry professionals.

Lastly, if you can’t locate something on the new ABoR site, remember to use that search bar at the top!

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Hopefully these tips will help you make an easier transition to using the new site. Remember, go set up your Realtor.com profile today!

Check Legal and Ethics off Your 2015 To-Do List!

Don’t let your mandatory continuing education credit sneak up on you this year! Sign up today for a Legal and Ethics class in your area. When you register online you’ll have the option to pay for class, receive email updates as details are confirmed, and receive reminders as your class date approaches.

Remember to mark your calendar!

April 22nd | Round Rock | Register

May 6th | South Austin | Register

June 3rd | Cedar Park | Register

August 13th | North Austin | Register

September 10th | Buda |Register

September 16th | Dripping Springs |Register

 

Now, doesn’t it feel good to have that out of the way?

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Image CreditRichard M Lee / Shutterstock