Brokers Who Don’t Use a CRM Are Falling Behind. Here’s Why.

In a previous blog on negotiation tactics, Jay Olshonsky, President and CEO of NAI, noted that many brokers aren’t taking advantage of the power of technology.

“80% of brokers need to embrace technology more than they’ve embraced it historically,” he explained. “10% are off the charts and buy whatever data, whatever technology they need, and the next 10% are trying to be just like the other 10%. But we still see a bunch of brokers who are hesitant to engage with the new way of doing business.”

And that gives those who do invest in technology a major leg up on their competition.

“If you look at the 10% that’s controlling 90% of the business, if you ask them what sort of technology they’re using, they say, ‘Anything we need,’” Jay pointed out. “In that way, they’re separating themselves. So, I really encourage you, if you aren’t using modern tools, you need to start using them.”

Anthony Palumbo, Vice President at Impact Commercial, shares the sentiment.

“It doesn’t make sense,” he said. “I know colleagues in the industry who don’t want to adapt to it either. I think there’s this misunderstanding that technology isn’t valuable in commercial real estate.”

Anthony invested in Rethink — the client relationship management (CRM) platform purpose-built for commercial real estate — in April 2020.

He has a simple message for brokers who are hesitant to do the same:

“I’m going to pass you soon,” he said.

So, why does a CRM give Anthony so much confidence?

Below, we explain how the right CRM can give brokers a competitive advantage over competitors who rely on spreadsheets to track and manage deals.

Making the most of the data you already collect

According to Michael Brondello, an independent consultant and certified Salesforce Admin who helped The Whinery Group at Marcus & Millichap implement Rethink, commercial real estate as an industry relies too heavily on spreadsheets to track and manage deals.

“Most people in this space use Excel, and it blows their mind when they see what a solid platform can do,” he said.

He went on to explain that Excel fails to properly organize and connect data, leading to an overwhelming user experience.

“You can’t show or capture the relationship between a property and how it moves between sellers and buyers when you’re just in a standard table,” Michael said.

“Even when you’re capturing standard demographic information about a contact, you have to add a separate column for each piece of information,” he added. “But now, you’re looking at an Excel sheet where you have to scroll 50 pages to the right to try and capture everything.”

The other problem arises when people try to avoid this issue by capturing multiple pieces of information in one cell.

“As soon as you do that, you’re jeopardizing the integrity of the data because now you can’t easily find the information you need,” Michael explained.

With a CRM like Rethink, however, firms can easily store, find, and analyze their data.

“It’s such a clear difference,” Michael said. “You can relate objects to each other, so a company can own properties and a property can have a proposal attached to it. You just can’t do that with a standard table.”

Empowering long-lasting, profitable relationships

Because the right CRM makes it easier to store, find, and analyze critical dealmaking data, it empowers brokers to develop long-lasting, profitable relationships.

For example, after Michael helped the Whinery Group implement Rethink, they attracted new prospects more easily and moved them through the deal pipeline.

“The ease of managing the prospecting process has been an absolute game-changer, and the level of clarity on the pipeline is unparalleled,” Michael said. “I can’t even imagine how broken it would feel at this point to use Excel because the way we use Rethink is just so intuitive.”

Keanan Halla, Director of Information Systems at Trinity REIS, noted how Rethink’s CRM helps her team offer a better client experience than they could with spreadsheets.

By keeping key data stored in a centralized database, Keanan and her team can easily access the information needed to keep clients informed and engaged.

“If you’re tracking information on a spreadsheet, you’re not going to be able to find or remember that information later. If you only have one or two clients, you can do it, but if you want to be successful, you need to be able to quickly view your client’s record, see what properties they own, and what you’ve worked with them on in the past,” Keanan said.

Increasing firmwide collaboration

Ralph Balber, President of ALO Property Group, considers himself an avid Excel user.

Still, after implementing Rethink’s CRM, he recognizes the platform’s superiority when it comes to deal management.

“I’m awesome at Excel. I love Excel. I do everything in Excel,” he said. “But you can’t even compare Rethink to Excel. You cannot do what this does with Excel.”

The main difference between Rethink and spreadsheets? The increased firmwide collaboration.

“You can’t collaborate on Excel. Even if you use SharePoint or Dropbox, you can’t collaborate with people,” Ralph explained. “Forget outside the office. Even in the office, you cannot collaborate on deals with Excel like you can with Rethink, and you can’t store stuff on Excel that you can here.”