14 Aug

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How CRM Helps Sales Agents Make More Money

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Handshake to close the dealOftentimes, onsite sales agents use CRM simply because their managers have asked them to so, without realizing it’s potential to help them earn more money. It’s not an outlandish statement. CRM that is custom-built for new home sales offers proven systems and processes to help sales people keep in touch with prospects, understand their activity and interests, and take the best approach to close the deal. Let’s look at some ways CRM can help you be a more successful agent.

Never Lose Track of Prospects

CRM is geared to help sales agents keep track of leads and prospects – from the very beginning of the sales cycle.  With Lasso, you are notified of new online leads the moment they sign up on the website, so you never miss or forget one. By assigning a sales process to each new lead, and adjusting the process appropriately as the lead moves along the sales cycle, you’ll never be at a loss about who to follow up with and what information is relevant to send.

Know What Your Prospects Want

Lasso offers a unique feature called Registrant Website Analytics. With it, sales agents are able to track how a registrant found your website, what pages they’ve viewed, and even when they return to the site. This equips you with valuable knowledge about what your prospects are interested in, and allows you to tailor your sales presentation and follow-up plans accordingly.

Understand Why You Lost a Sale

Says popular author Seth Godin about failure, “Failures that don’t kill us make us bolder, and teach us one more way that won’t work, while opening the door to things that might.” The only way to learn from failure is to understand what didn’t work. CRM provides powerful analytic and reporting tools that allow not just managers, but sales agents, to see what actions (or non-actions) may have resulted in a lost sale.

Use Your Time Wisely

CRM takes the guesswork out of follow-up and sales activities by automating processes. Daily reminders, document storage, email templates, and mass mail capabilities are examples of just a few of the features that keep sales agents on track and ahead of their work, freeing up time to focus on more immediate revenue-generating activities.

We’ve all heard the saying that “knowledge is power.” CRM proves this true by providing sales teams with critical knowledge about leads and prospects to allow sales agents to do their jobs better, and more efficiently. For more details on how Lasso CRM can help you or your sales team become even more successful, contact us today.

03 Jul

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Email Marketing: Four Smart Ways to Keep in Touch

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Keep in touch with prospects with email marketing

This article was originally posted on the Lasso CRM Blog.

“Let’s keep in touch” is the kind of phrase we all say when we actually have no intention of keeping in touch. We say we’ll “keep in touch” to those we see at the high school reunion; we assure our most irritating relatives that we’ll “keep in touch” each holiday season, and then we somehow  lose their phone numbers.

One area in which we should say and mean “keep in touch” is in real estate sales. Communication is the lifeline through which we maintain the momentum of the sales process. It can mean the difference between an encouraging sales center visit that results in a signed contract, and a visit that goes nowhere fast. And in today’s digital age, email is a critical component of any savvy sales communication strategy.

Most of us have been using email so long as part of the real estate sales process that it’s almost become second nature. Let’s take a look at four common categories of email marketing, and in doing so, hopefully it will help us remember why email marketing is so critically important, and maybe help us discover a few new ways to try the same old tricks.

1. The pricing and/or features update: This is probably the most common email sent out to prospects – a simple update on new pricing offers or an announcement of new features/floorplans available in a community. The key with this category of email is to present enough information in a clear way as to drive some critical “call to action,” usually either a visit to the sales center to learn more, or a click-through to the community website for further details.  It’s also important to develop a strategy concerning what information is released, and when. Too many emails will earn your notes a spot on the spam filter list; too few and the buyer may have already sought out another community. The goal is balance.

2. The upcoming event notice: These emails are pretty straightforward, but don’t forget that events at your community aren’t the only events taking place in your area. A local art festival, a holiday parade, a block party-these and more are all good reasons to send out an email to prospects. Not only do they provide valuable information, but they also help sell the neighborhood and surrounding community to buyers along with the features and advantages of your homes.

3. The content reminder: Anytime new information is available on the community website, it’s an excuse to send an email and stay in touch. This should act as a key motivator for the marketing team to maintain an active and dynamic site that is frequently updated with new content, images and video. The rise of YouTube, Flickr and other video/photo sharing sites has helped place new emphasis on the value of user-generated visual content-instead of spending thousands of dollars on a video crew and editing team to produce a few minutes of content every couple months, a marketing team can spend a few hundred dollars on a small portable video camera and upload new home tours, buyer and sales team interviews, and video profiles of amenities and community features.

4. The personal note: This category of email is perhaps the most important; a salesperson should send a true personalized note from their email address to help cement the early stages of a relationship and to remain in contact throughout the course of the sales process. Many prospects today prefer to communicate regularly via email rather than phone; respecting this boundary can help establish a strong relationship far better than ignoring the preference and relying on more typical and frequent phone calls. At the same time, after a few unreplied emails, a phone call is an appropriate way to attempt to reignite the buyer’s interest.

Making every effort to “keep in touch” with prospects is a critical component of the sales process, and email is a powerful tool. However, using it carefully and strategically is vital; otherwise, your communications become just as annoying as your Auntie Zelda or that classmate from your high school biology class.

05 Jun

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How Do I Manage Unqualified Leads?

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Thinking person with question marks.

This post originally appeared on the Lasso CRM Blog.

Recently at Lasso CRM, we launched an initiative to thoroughly scrub our database. We went through almost every registrant and updated notes, ratings and contact info, and merged duplicates. There were some prospects, however, who weren’t ready, willing or able to implement a home builder CRM system. Undoubtedly, you have your fair share of unqualified leads as well. So, what do you do with them? Are they still valuable? The answer is yes!

Leads can be unqualified for a number of reasons, and just because they don’t qualify for a home today, doesn’t mean they won’t qualify in six months to a year. This is particularly true of internet leads who are marked unqualified because they are unresponsive. Also, if a lead is truly interested in your community, but it isn’t right for them, he or she could become a terrific advocate on your behalf – if they are given the right information.

Here are some suggestions to reaching out to and engaging unqualified leads without investing too much time and effort:

  1. Never delete a lead from your database. It’s better to share valuable, periodic information than none at all.  Life circumstances can quickly change.
  2. Create a unique email marketing campaign for unqualified leads. Once you’ve identified and grouped your leads, send them a self-serve registrant update so they can update their contact info and preferences.
  3. Send a newsletter and call unqualified leads at regular intervals (perhaps quarterly) with updates on the housing market, financing, interest rates, and special incentives, as well as community successes and updates.
  4. If there is a significant change in pricing or availability, let them know. This could impact their purchasing power.

By providing unqualified leads with information and updates, your community will be top of mind when they are ready, able and willing to buy. And if they never purchase a home with you, they’ll at least have the information to share with their friends and family who may be in the market.

For more information on database marketing using home builder CRM software, contact a Lasso team member at sales@lassocrm.com.

22 May

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Getting the Most from Your CRM System

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This article was originally published on the Lasso CRM Blog.

Blue dart on Goals dartboardDuring a recent Lasso webinar with online marketing expert Mike Lyon, Mike said something that really stuck with me. He was discussing how to create and implement a successful online lead follow-up process when he said, “CRM is the process.” In other words, using your CRM system effectively is the best way to follow up with leads and prospects, and ultimately close deals.

So how do you use your CRM effectively? It’s not enough to know it’s there in case you need it – it has to be used properly, on a daily basis, in order to help you reach your goals.  Mike hit the nail on the head when he said, “Your system is only as powerful as the information you put in, and the people who use it.” So let’s look at some ways to get the most out of your CRM system.

Implementation: The system has to work for the way your organization works. That could mean changing terminology, adding custom fields, adjusting the dates sales reports are generated, or making sure existing contacts are uploaded and grouped correctly. It’s best to discuss these items with your CRM client representative at the time of set-up to make sure your system is user-friendly and intuitive.

Do the work on the front end; Save time on the back end: We know sales people are extremely busy, but it only benefits them (and the company) when detailed information on prospects is promptly recorded and tracked. This not only allows sales and marketing reports to be generated on-demand, but more importantly, it will help sales agents remember details of their prospects and implement the appropriate follow-up process. If you’re not doing it, your competitor surely is.

Use an Administrator: It’s always best when at least one person in your organization (ideally the one who oversaw implementation) is the CRM administrator. This person will know the intricacies of your database, how to search for specific information, and can be a resource for sales agents and marketing teams.

Using CRM is not an option: Going back to Mike’s statement, it only works if it’s being actively used. Granted, every sales person is not a “database person.” But that doesn’t matter if they understand its importance to the company or community’s sales goals. Make CRM use mandatory. Provide ongoing training and support. Explain how having automated email campaigns, online lead capture, detailed prospect information, and reporting all in one place can help agents with individual success.

The benefits of using a home builder CRM system are numerous, but only when the system is implemented correctly, updated frequently, and used daily. You’ll see the difference in prospect engagement and appointment conversions, which are the pathways to sales.

Visit our website to learn more about Lasso’s time-tested CRM implementation process.

08 May

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From Prospect to Purchaser (and Beyond) with Home Builder CRM

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New homeowner holding key in hands.

The main objectives of customer relationship management (CRM) for home builders is to create a system that captures every lead, nurtures the relationship through automated sales processes and email marketing, and moves the prospect through the sales funnel to write a contract. While much energy and time is spent on converting leads to buyers, we mustn’t overlook the critical phase of contract to close, and the communication and data management that goes along with it. Whether your sales teams handle this directly or you have a separate closing department, home builder sales software offers a comprehensive, one-stop solution to manage the process.

Here are five main areas where CRM is effective at automating contract to close:

1. Inventory Availability & Deal Status
2. Options & Upgrades
3. Contract Management
4. Deposit Management
5. Document Storage

If you are selling more than one building or community, and employ more than one sales agent, having a central database to store real-time inventory availability and deal status is both a time and deal-saver. Sales agents can quickly pull availability and confidently present the information to a prospect. Automated report distribution further simplifies the process by emailing availability to sales teams each morning before they begin their workday.

Without an automated system, sales agents, designers and the construction team often rely on a myriad of spreadsheets to track inventory and options information. Lasso CRM offers a central place to not only store and report this info, but also to manage buyer feedback, preferences and correspondence along the way. Documents can be saved and attached to the buyer profile for quick and easy reference.

It is equally important to maintain constant communication with a buyer once they’ve written a contract. With CRM, you can create a follow-up process to keep buyers abreast of weekly construction updates and community events to build their excitement about their new home. Even once a buyer has closed, use the email marketing feature of your CRM to maintain that relationship via community newsletters or special referral incentives.

Home builder CRM streamlines and simplifies the many processes required to market and sell new homes. It enables you to do your job faster, easier and more profitably. Contact Lasso to learn more.

24 Apr

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Using Email Templates for New Home Marketing

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Lasso screen shot of email template library

There’s a lot that goes into creating a great marketing email. In order to create emails that are opened and read, you must consider the balance of images and text, image resolution and width, calls-to-action and HTML programming, among other elements. It’s no easy task, but pre-designed email templates can provide the right foundation to take advantage of this effective and inexpensive form of marketing.

Lasso screen shot of email template typesAt Lasso, we’ve created a library of 25 (and counting!) email templates that are pre-formatted for optimal deliverability and performance. We’ve taken the guesswork out of programming, layout and design, and testing across different email providers is easy with our built-in testing function.

The library includes templates for newsletters, events, announcements, letterhead, and sales center openings. All you’ve got to do is add your own images and text.

Email marketing should be an important component of your marketing plan. Whether it’s a community or construction update, it needs to be professional-looking and follow email best practices to maximize open rates.

To learn more about creating effective emails, download Lasso’s latest white paper, or contact us at sales@lassocrm.com

10 Apr

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Why Bigger is Not Always Better

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Baseball player with oversized baseball

Everyone has heard the phrase, “The bigger the better.” In real estate, this concept may apply to land in Texas, master closets or kitchen cabinet space, but it doesn’t always apply to your home builder CRM database.

Ideally, you want to build a targeted database of prospects who have expressed interest in your community, brokers, Realtors® and other connectors who can bring business to you. What you want to avoid is a large, questionable database of purchased email addresses or acquired lists that have nothing to do with the task of selling real estate.

Having a database of brokers and leads who have opted to receive news and updates means that you have a captive audience that is willing to engage and share information. A database that has either been purchased or not regularly cleaned will lead to increased email bounce rates, unsubscribes and recipients who mark your email as spam – all of which can negatively impact your sender reputation with Email Service Providers.

With email marketing gaining momentum due to cost-effectiveness, strong ROI and consumers’ willingness to opt-in, the last thing you want is for your emails to be unread or blocked because of a bad sender reputation.

For more information on how to effectively build and clean your database to achieve maximum email marketing results, download Lasso CRM’s newly-published whitepaper, Cut Through the Clutter: How to Create an Awesome Marketing Email.

 

27 Mar

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Using Reports for Good

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Thumbs Up

Use CRM reporting to praise a job well done.

In this month’s Lasso webinar with Leadership Sales Coach Jason Forrest, one of the points Jason drove home is that sales managers often fixate on correcting team members’ individual negative actions. On the other hand, coaches hold off on negative feedback until they see a pattern. Coaches acknowledge the positive far more than the negative, which is essential for creating a motivated and dedicated sales team.

One way to keep up with the positive actions of your sales team is with the CRM reporting offered through your home builder software. Managers and coaches can access daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly reports that show how often sales agents are following up with prospects, what methods of communication they are using, what their conversion ratios are, and so much more. These reports can be distributed automatically to the manager’s inbox so that the first thing a sales agent hears in the morning is, “Great job on setting that second appointment!”

Many sales professionals dread reporting and have the misconception that it is the only reason they are required to input data into a CRM system. However, using reports to praise a job well done could motivate your agents to use CRM software for its numerous other benefits: follow-up processes, email marketing, personalized communication, inventory tracking, demographic analysis, and more.

To learn more about CRM reporting and options for custom reports, email sales@lassocrm.com.

13 Mar

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Organize Your Prospects for Targeted Follow-Up

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Woman with blue pen and bullseye target

As with bank accounts and relationships, a home builder CRM system is only as good as what you put into it. When it comes to following up with prospects – both online and those who have walked into your sales center – it’s important to rate, label and tag leads so that sales and marketing teams can segment lists to provide more focused follow-up.

A good CRM system will allow you to assign a grade or rating, multiple source types and contact preferences to each prospect in the database. But in order to reach these prospects with the kind of specific and timely information that will spark their interest (and prompt a call back), you need more. To create meaningful and personalized follow-up, think about the additional details you’d want to remember, such as:

  • Birthdays
  • Spouse/partner/children’s names
  • Timing of move or relocation
  • Interest in specific floor plans
  • Outside interests such as sports or art
  • Pet names and types
  • Completed follow-up activities
  • Mass mail statistics
  • Custom questions

For example, if you’ve just opened a new pet walk in your community, you could first send an email to all prospects with pets, and even use merge fields to automatically include the pet’s name in the email. Similarly, if a specific two-bedroom plan is highly incentivized, send an email to brokers who, in the last several months, have brought clients interested only in two bedrooms. This way, you are reaching prospects with the exact information that weighs on their decision-making process.

This level of segmentation is only achieved when the information is properly updated in your CRM system.  Only then will your sales and marketing teams will be able to reach the right audience by sending highly targeted, relevant information to those who will find it most useful. To learn more about list segmentation, email sales@lassocrm.com.

13 Sep

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Buying New Homes in Tennessee: Providence Landing

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House-hunting on a budget is easy when you consider Providence Landing from Goodall Homes.  Within a 20-minute drive to downtown Nashville via I-40, this community has the best of both worlds when it comes to quality and convenience.  Providence Landing provides a more quiet suburban atmosphere in picturesque Wilson County while offering easy accessibility to the city for work or play.   Notably, there are plenty of excellent shopping and dining options found in the Providence Marketplace. This neighborhood also belongs to the Wilson County School District, specifically Rutland Elementary, West Wilson Middle, and Wilson Central High School.

The Landing offers five lovely floor plans to choose from, starting in the mid $170’s.  One of these, 32 Dunnwood Loop, will be ready for residents in early November.  This 1,687 square foot single family home includes 3 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms, and the main level Master Suite has a spacious walk-in closet.  There’s a bar and island in the kitchen, a 2-car garage, and even a Bonus room!  This beautiful home is priced at $195,075.  For more information or to schedule a personal visit, please call 615-448-8929.

Directions:
From Nashville, take I-40 East to Exit 226C (Providence Way).  You’ll want to immediately turn left onto Belinda Parkway.  Providence Trail is on the right, approximately 1/3 of a mile of the way down.  Once on Providence Trail, you’ll continue on 1.5 miles to turn right onto South Rutland Road.  Stay on Rutland for another 1/3 of a mile to Providence Landing. This will be on the lefthand side.

Goodall Homes is proud to have led thousands of homebuyers to their dream home.  Whether you’re looking for a single family home, a Townhome, a Condo, or even a Villa, Goodall has you and your needs in mind when designing and building these houses.  They invite you to visit and to hopefully stay for good!