If you want to see the marketing department at Lowe’s or Home Depot salivate – tell them you have a data source that will notify them of the Name, phone number, address, and information about the property they just purchased. In fact, you will even be able to tell them the closing data and the move in date.
That is the kind of information that is in CRM solutions and until now, that data has not been mined for advertising. Nobody understands this better than Trulia, the company that may have the most highly adopted CRM solution in America. In this assumption, I am excluding MLS systems. MLS systems have a lot of the same data in their client servicing solutions.
The NAR has significant relationships with many companies who are attacking business opportunities in the moving space. A home purchase triggers a massive spending event. I have always been curious about why NAR does not offer a free CRM solution to all REALTORS. It would fit in nicely to Realtor’s Property Resource. The positioning of RPR has been to allow REALTORS to communicate more effectively to consumers – which requires a consumer record – or customer relationship management system. Maybe that is in the product roadmap already – I do not know.
The Real Estate Standards Organization, RESO, is creating a structure for transporting the customer record across applications. In the years to come, RESO certified solutions will be able to leverage bi-directional RETS or RESTful APIs to make the customer record (contact information and activities) transportable. This will allow an agent to manage the customer and related activities in any number of applications like the MLS, like broker or agent websites, like direct marketing solutions, like transaction management solutions – on mobile or desktop – anytime any where. No more duplicate customer record. But there is more. Someone will contemplate monetizing the customer record.
Salesforce.com is the most popular CRM solution on the planet. At the high watermark of pricing, it costs $65 per user per month. What is the value of a lead? How much do you think you could sell the customer record for if you sell it to Lowes, Chase Bank, Fidelity Title, etc. Looking at the price mortgage is paying for leads today, having just a mortgage company and Lowes would cover the cost of the CRM. I often wonder if companies managing buyer leads don’t already sell leads. It is such a lucrative opportunity; I cannot imagine that someone is not already doing this.
There is something in my DNA that acknowledges the broker’s legal responsibility to oversee every activity of the agent and their communications with buyers and sellers. Because of that custodial relationship, I cannot help but to believe that the broker should be the provider of CRM. Unfortunately, like so many other things – brokers have largely ignored this opportunity and left the door open for so many others to step in the kitchen and help themselves. If brokers don’t say no, then yes is the answer. Give credit where credit is due. If brokers want to be incompetent in maximizing opportunity in their business, and someone else does – good for the company that does. After all, many of the wealthiest families in America and around the world are in the scrap and garbage business – making billions on what others throw away.