Legend has it there were once great white elephants, much sought after by the Southeast Asian monarch and European hunter. Their very existence entered the realm of folklore, and people spoke in hushed tones of lost safaris seeking fame and fortune. The white elephant symbolized great power, and its possession meant the kingdom had peace and prosperity.
Some hunters tried every technology that money could buy and gave up despondently, others searched for years in vain, still others retired in anger and frustration blaming everyone but themselves. Claims of capture proved empty, and many simply concluded that in all probability the great white elephant did not exist, and everyone should probably just shuffle off and go seek something else.
And so it came to pass that the term ’white elephant’ symbolized something valuable whose usefulness was far outweighed by its cost.
In terms of quantity and depth, the real estate industry in Australia seems pretty well served with various web-based Client Relationship Management (CRM) products. In brief, a CRM should allow you to track contact with your current and prospective clients, and is really the goose that lays the golden egg (every day… if used correctly, which is ‘patiently and persistently’).
… and many more (I’m not trying to get an exhaustive list in here)
As my former maths teacher used to say when he handed back our papers, “these are mostly ‘much of a muchness’ ladies and gentlemen”. No doubt certain providers claim that theirs does more for less, is more intuitive, innovative, easy to use or secure. I am sure they are right in their own way. Most of these providers have been around for over ten years specializing in what they do and have worked really hard (usually without recognition or thanks) to bring these products to market, continually improving them and investing huge sums to get them right.
So I’ve been surprised to witness very few agents actually using these products as a CRM. While most offices claim to have purchased these (or a variant) in the past, fewer than ten percent of real estate agents I meet in the field or at training courses seem to be actively deploying a CRM product to help them keep in touch with their clients, send out regular enewsletters, match clients to properties and the like. Of the 30 per cent or so agency offices that seem to have a product right now, most are using it to merely host their web site and upload to various portals.
Why is this?
Is it a failure of education and support? Are reps suspicious of entering their clients into a system accessible across their office(s)? Are they too lazy to try new ideas? Scared of technology? Are there (their) needs not currently being filled? Or have the CRMs become too complex as they try to satisfy everyone (and end up putting a lot of people off)? Is it all just too hard?