2 minutes
Classroom Setting

7 Modern CRM Must-Haves to Drive Real Estate Business Growth

Real Estate Advice
Real Estate Success

A CRM, or “Customer Relationship Manager,” is a system that can help you automate your lead follow-up, stay organized, and help ensure you do not miss tasks. Your CRM might be the most important tool you use to fuel the success of your real estate business.

Most realtors do not have a CRM and those who do, don’t use it effectively. The first place to start when selecting a CRM is with your budget. Like most things, you get what you pay for, but you must work within your budget. The real estate technology world has no shortage of CRM choices, so I am going to focus on the critical features your CRM must have to boost your ability to succeed.

7 Must Have Features of any Real Estate CRM

1. Add leads both manually and automatically into your CRM

2. Add notes to each individual lead inside your CRM

3. Organize your database by type and category: Buyers/Sellers/Leads/Clients/Past Clients/etc.

4. Mass email feature that allows you to bulk email everyone in your database all at once

5. Drip campaign plans for both email and text

6. Auto responses, both email and text

7. Manual and automatic task capability

Is it time to invest in a CRM?

These seven absolute must-have features are what a modern CRM needs to be effective. A good CRM is critical to establishing and adhering to a follow-up process(for more on lead follow-up best practices, click here). A CRM will help you stay on task, and stay organized. Once set up correctly, a solid CRM is a massive game changer.

If you do not have one already, we’d love to help you start working on identifying and setting up your CRM.
Ready to learn more? Lets talk!

This blog was originally published on April 10, 2020 and has been updated for clarity and with the latest information.

Dominate Your Real Estate Business
Joshua Smith Feb 10th, 2021
5 minutes
Real estate agent showing a property to a couple.

The Path Toward Real Estate Success: Become The Information Portal


We are living in the “Information Age,” and to stand out from our competition, you must learn to win the game of delivering great information to the marketplace.

For realtors, the name of the game is: Get people to know you, like you, trust you, and become aware of what you do for a living. Then, as long as you stay in touch frequently, your business will grow.

The internet and technology continue to change how this mission is accomplished, so you must always be adapting to the changes to continue to thrive.

Today’s consumer can search homes, get information, see photos, and much more without our help. No longer is the realtor essential in the home search process; well, at least that perception can be the consumer’s sentiment. So we must ask about which things can be really difficult to find information. What are things important to the consumer that can’t be found on Zillow or other major online search sites? Spend some time on those sites, and you will quickly find out.

If you can deliver the hard-to-find information consumers are looking for, you become valuable. And if consumers continue reading/watching your content, they will get to know you, like you, trust you, and become aware of what you do for a living. And when they are ready to buy or sell real estate, the chances of their choosing you greatly increase.

The cool part is that this strategy is essentially free. Let’s break down a few things to give you some ideas.

What and How To Create Content To Become The Information Portal In Your Market:

First, let’s break down the “How.”

#1: Get a camera that shoots good video (an iPhone or any new cell phone will work). I am sure you already have a cell phone, so this should not cost you any additional money.

#2: Have a website with a blog feature, and which is connected to a CRM/database. I am sure you already have one, as it is essential to have in the time that we are in, so again, should not cost you any additional money.

#3: Set up a YouTube channel. YouTube is 100% FREE.

#4: Have a Facebook account. Facebook is 100% FREE.

Now let’s break down the “What.”

#1: Create a weekly video in which you interview a local business owner. Make the interview about the business owner and not your business. Discuss what the business does, how long they have been open, do a tour of the facility, etc. Keep it under five minutes.

#2: Create videos of local parks, amenities, schools. Anything nice about your area and would attract people to want to live there.

#3: Create videos of local subdivisions/communities.

#4: Create videos of all new build developments.

#5: Create videos of all your listings and any nice homes that you see/preview.

#6: Create a monthly video market update about your local real estate market.

Now that you have all this great content, what do you do with it?

#1: Upload the videos to YouTube and make them public. Make your channel in your name, with your photo, and make sure to put in a great description. 

#2: Embed the YouTube video into your website blog, so now you have a video blog, AKA “Vlog”, then do a written blog about the video you created.

#3: Mass email your blog link to your database as soon as you release your blog (weekly is a good timeframe).

#4: Share your blog on your Facebook page, as well as any other pages or social media accounts you have.

#5: Create a local area Facebook group: Example “Living In XYZ City, State”... Make it a group, not a page, and allow anyone to join. Post each blog in there (again weekly is good).

Yes, this is a lot of work, but work which is well worth it. Think about it this way: As a realtor, you are applying for a job to work for buyers and sellers. When you apply for a job today, what is the first thing the potential employer does after reading your resume? They search for you online and on social media. YouTube is the number two search engine on the planet. And YouTube is owned by Google, which happens to be the number one search site on the planet. Google will drive consumers to your YouTube channel to watch your content, and embedding a YouTube video on your blog is one of the quickest ways to build up SEO (Search Engine Optimization = getting your website to pull up organically on searches without having to buy ads on Google).

In addition to the points in the above paragraph, at minimum you are delivering great content to your database (valuable on its own merit), which then drives your leads back to your website. With Facebook, you are building a local community of people who live in your area and are building connections and allowing potential clients to get to know you, like you, trust you, and become aware of what you do for a living.

As with anything new you take on, this shift in action does come with a bit of a learning curve, but eventually you can can accomplish all of the above in about five hours out of your week. You will meet all the local business owners, builders, school principals, etc. Not bad people to have good relationships with, and you will become “The Information Portal In Your Market”.

Thanks for reading!

  Joshua Smith, Realtor/Mentor/Entrepreneur

-Voted 30th Top Realtor in America by The Wall Street Journal

-Over 5,000 Homes Sold & Currently Selling More Than 1 Home Daily

Joshua Smith Oct 16th, 2020
3 minutes
Happy couple closing a real estate transaction.

The Secret to Real Estate Referrals and Repeat Business: Stay In Touch With Past Clients

Joshua Smith
Making Money in Real Estate

Did you know that 88% of recently surveyed buyers and sellers said their realtor did a great job, and that they would absolutely use them again in the future? However, only 11% ever do a repeat transaction with that realtor.

Why aren’t past real estate clients doing repeat business?

You can deliver absolutely amazing service to your clients, but if you do not stay in touch after the fact, those clients will forget your name and not know how to reach you. Out of sight, out of mind. To ensure your past clients do future business with you (and equally as important, send you referrals) you MUST stay in touch!

Why don’t most agents stay in touch?

Two reasons:

  1. They do not have a CRM/database to stay organized to stay in touch. Read more about what to look for in an effective CRM here.
  2. They feel uncomfortable bugging past clients begging for business.

The great news is both of these objections are extremely easy to overcome:

  1. Get a CRM/database, and use it. Problem solved!
  2. You absolutely do not need to beg for referrals to stay in touch, but you must stay in touch!

But how do you stay in touch without coming across as an annoying salesperson? By checking in and always focusing on the human connection. As Dale Carnegie states in his amazing classic business book, “How To Win Friends and Influence People,” the way to build deep connections is by being “interested in others, not trying to be interesting.”

Here are 4 basic tips for checking in with past clients:

1. Put past clients in your CRM/database

Send a “Monthly Current Market Video Update” to keep everyone educated on what is happening in the local real estate market.

2. Send out handwritten birthday cards.

Handwriting the note is essential. The personal touch goes a long way

3. Send out happy holiday emails.

Be sure you are staying relevant and front of mind.

4. Pick up the phone, and call every 90 days.

Don’t make it about you, make it about them. “How is the Family?”... “How is Work going?”.... Etc. Ultimately, the law of reciprocity will kick in and they will ask about you, your family, and your real estate career.

Why bother staying in touch with your past clients?

By staying in touch, you will stay front of mind, which will absolutely result in referrals! Now, to be successful at staying in touch, you need a good CRM/database that will allow you to task yourself, take notes, and allow you to do mass emails.

Your past clients are truly your money tree, growing in your backyard. Don’t forget to water it!

This blog was originally published on December 1, 2016 and has been updated for clarity and with the latest information.


Dominate Your Real Estate Business
Joshua Smith Feb 17th, 2021
4 minutes
Using technology to enrich a business relationship.

The Path Toward Real Estate Success: Recommended Tech

Joshua Smith
Making Money in Real Estate

While last week’s post was focused on how to prevent technology from diminishing your role as a realtor, technology and systems do help you run a much more effective and efficient business, while providing better service to your clients and creating a deeper connection.

So today, I would like to discuss some systems I recommend having in place.

IMPORTANT NOTE: You do not need to have all of these systems. They can allow you to be much more effective and efficient but are not necessary if you are unable to afford them.

Recommended Technology and Systems In Your Real Estate Business:

#1: CRM/Database. Your #1 asset in your real estate business is your connection with your database. To be truly effective with your lead conversion, pipeline management, etc.. a CRM/database is absolutely crucial! More on CRM essentials here.

#2: Tracking Systems. As we have discussed in past tips, you MUST be tracking your daily activities, appointment set/conduction/client ratios and your financials. The great thing is this can all be done for free with Google Drive. Read about tracking here.

#3: Website. Today’s consumer is going to do their research on you, and they will expect you to have a site. You want a website which allows you to brand yourself, has a blog feature, is effective at lead generation, etc. More on what to look for in a site here.

#4: YouTube Channel. Today “Content is King,” so you must have video content on YouTube, which is the #2 search engine on the planet, and is owned by the #1 online search engine on the planet, Google. You should be creating and posting market update videos, informational videos about your area/community, top real estate tips, etc. The importance of creating content will only grow.

#5: Social Media. Social Media is essentially another free database which allows you to build relationships with potential clients, current clients, and past clients. More on Facebook Lead Generation here.

#6: Email, Cell Phone, Scanner… OK, I know these are all things we know, but I wanted to throw them in here, as they are essential.

#7: A System for Everything Done More than Once. You should have system in place for anything and everything you do regularly, from ordering business cards, to your lead gen, lead follow up, appointment preparation, appointment conduction, client/contract to close process, past client follow up process, etc. Just as a rule of thumb, anything you do more than once, needs a system in place to ensure it happens over and over, in the same way, is not missed, can be duplicated, and eventually delegated.

#8: Online Email Signature System like DocuSign, ESign, etc…

BONUS/Additional Luxury Systems/Technologies: power dialer, expired/FSBO list provider, neighborhood homeowner contact information provider, CMA report tools, seller net sheet/buyer cost sheet apps, contract to close/contract management systems and many more, as there are thousands of systems which exist.

Again, technology and systems will allow you to provide better service to your clients, stay on top of your tasks, and ensure things are not missed. As soon as you are able add these systems to your business as they will have a large impact if used properly.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Any technology/system you implement into your business will only be as good as you use it. For example, you can have an amazing CRM/database and get poor results if you use it poorly. There is no “Magic Pill” that exists. Like with anything else in life, you get out of it what you put into it!

Of course, always “Lead with Revenue”. Add what you can as you can, but make sure you have the revenue coming in to afford it. Then, add it into your business, use it, and take your business to the next level!

Also, don’t try to implement everything overnight. Implement one system, get it dialed in, learn how to use it effectively, and once you have it down add the second system, and so on.

Thanks for reading!

  Joshua Smith, Realtor/Mentor/Entrepreneur

-Voted 30th Top Realtor in America by The Wall Street Journal

-Over 5,000 Homes Sold & Currently Selling More Than 1 Home Daily

Joshua Smith Aug 28th, 2020
3 minutes
Real estate agent speaking on the phone while on her laptop. On the table with her, an iced coffee slowly sweats. She loves talking to her clients. But she came to this coffee shop on this day for an iced coffee and some laptop time. As each droplet darkens the wooden table, she considers claiming another call is coming in. But she doesn't do it. She powers through as she glances confidently at the camera. She can always order another iced coffee.

The Path Toward Real Estate Success: Speed To Lead

Joshua Smith

We live in an instant gratification world. Press one button, rent a movie. Purchase anything you want in minutes and receive it at your doorstep in less than two days. Pop a K-Cup in your Keurig, and within seconds your coffee is ready to go. Everything is fast, so people have been conditioned to expect speed!

So people are not going to wait, and why should they? There's no shortage of realtors, just a shortage of realtors who do not respond promptly.

IMPORTANT SIDE NOTE: From a TON of personal experience, I can assure you that every lead in your CRM is in the CRM of six other realtors. Start calling everyone in your CRM, and you will get a ton of leads who inform you they just bought or sold their home with someone else.

Per’s research, if you respond to a lead within five minutes, you are 100x more likely to get a response than if you waited only thirty minutes, and if contacted within five minutes, you are 30x more likely to set an appointment. And that’s just the difference from 5 minutes to 30 minutes. Can you imagine if you waited 3 hours? Any time I can increase my likelihood of success by 100x and 30x, I am going to do everything in my power to make that happen!

I know what you might be thinking, “I can’t always respond that quickly, as I am on appointments, in meetings, etc.”. I 100% get it, and understand. Here is the AWESOME part about it, with all the amazing technology which exists today, you can automate so much.

But, as much as I love technology and systems, I have yet to find anything which can beat just picking up the phone, which is not always an option. Today, any good CRM will have auto responders, and the really good ones will have text video auto responders, in addition to email. 

Let’s say you are on a listing appointment. You set your auto responders on. A new lead comes in while you are gone, and within seconds gets a video text which is a video of you saying, “Hi, this is (your name), with (your company). Thank you so much for your inquiry. I wanted to send you this quick video text message to let you know I received your inquiry. I am with a client at the moment but will get back to you the second I am done meeting with my client, which will be in less than two hours. Thanks again, and have a great day!”. Then, at the same time, the lead receives an email with the same message.

People don’t always need an answer to their specific question right that second, but they do want a response when to expect an answer. You can’t keep everyone from hopping on another realtor’s website, but and auto response will greatly lower the chances.

Moral of the story: When you can, pick up your phone and respond in under five minutes.  When you can’t, get effective auto responders in place!

Thanks for reading!

  Joshua Smith, Realtor/Mentor/Entrepreneur

-Voted 30th Top Realtor in America by The Wall Street Journal

-Over 5,000 Homes Sold & Currently Selling More Than 1 Home Daily

Joshua Smith Nov 6th, 2020
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