Automation: a lovely industry buzzword, but one that is honestly helpful. I use software that automates invoicing and calculating taxes. Another program schedules and curates social media posts. Automation saves serious time, but it does have limitations. Let’s look at how automation can help real estate professionals and where automation doesn’t hack it.
The Benefits of Automating Real Estate Tasks
1) Improve sales
The automation software available to real estate professionals increases closed sales. The programs do this in multiple ways. A drip email marketing program synced with a CRM targets the right people at the right time. Lead generation is more accurate. Chatbots separate real queries from the general. Social advertising uses data to pinpoint prospects. Other data sources figure out the best potential prospects for buying, selling, or leasing. Other tools simply speed up boring tasks to free more time for outstanding customer service.
2) Reduce workflows
Most clients never see or think about the back-end work real estate agents conduct. Data entry sucks time into a black hole. With real estate, data comes in from all corners: new contacts, new potential queries, new market data, tracking contacts, and much more. Add that to financial accounting work: marketing expenses, business expenses, calculating cuts and commissions. Plus the busy real estate professional must stay organized with their daily schedule.
Automated tools handle data entry and make other back-end processes. There are SaaS tools that handle practically everything back-end for real estate agents. As far as your calendar and database management, lots of CRMs tackle this problem. They’ll sync into your calendar and update your contact actions in the CRM. Other tools will automatically update your calendar. I also think Amy and Andrew Ingram is one of the coolest tools–it’s an artificial intelligence that helps set and change your appointments.
The bottom line: less time on busy work means more time for clients. Hooray!
3) Better decision-making
The latest data analytics tools for real estate professionals source data from multiple sources and put into one place or document. Many will format it into easy-to-read charts and graphs. Now it’s easier to transmit these reports with clients. That helps with your decision-making and your clients’. McKinsey talks about how combining traditional and nontraditional data accurately forecast three-year rent per square foot in Seattle multifamily building with 90 percent accuracy. Crazy!
4) More leads
Lead generation software is increasingly sophisticated and smart. Some automated tools will “score” leads, identifying the best possible prospects. Why waste your time chasing nobody and that’s not interested in your work? Automation helps with social advertising. It keeps your networks active and you top-of-mind with prospective customers. On a network like Facebook, you can specifically create posts optimally designed to attract leads.
What Automation Won’t Do
1. Can’t completely personalize
This lack of true personalization is one drawback. As GANS prove with crafting realistic images of human faces, you can get close, but never all the way. Take blogging: what computer software can capture the issues your clients face and potential solutions in a conversational 300-500 word spread? Does automation know about the conversation you had with a real estate investor looking for a partner? Does it know about the pocket listing perfect for a potential buyer? No.
2. Can’t totally handle customer service
An automated program isn’t going to handle the transaction from point A to Z. Maybe A to M. It can speed along the process with e-signatures, secure document sharing, sourcing loan quotes, and other mundane tasks, but the software doesn’t understand the personal challenges clients may face. It can tell you a residential home has 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, and a pool but it’s not going to say the nearest grocery store is ten minutes away. Some small details only a breathing person would think to mention.
3. Can’t automate experience
Virtual reality is a real game-changer for marketing and viewing properties. But no matter how sophisticated VR tech for real estate becomes, you can’t completely capture what it’s like to stand in a space.
Nor can you capture the journey to get there. In some cases, the surroundings are just as important as the actual space. Residential homes are about amenities, safety, and great schools. Commercial spaces need transportation corridors, or complementary businesses, or a residential center. Sure, you can look these up on a map, but a map doesn’t say when there’s an east wind you’ll smell the landfill two miles away.
Bottom Line on Automation for Real Estate
When assessing a program touting its automation as a money and time saver, ask yourself what it can’t do as much as what it can do. Make sure the benefits are clear. How much money will you save on average? How much time will you gain, on average? And, what to do you plan to do with those cost and time savings?