Which comes first, Contact Manager Book or Comparison Matrix?

By
Education & Training with RE-ACT, LLC

It has come to my attention that people are looking to my new book to help them pick which contact manager to use. The book does not help you pick one specific CRM by itself, for two reasons.

1) Real Estate Contact Managers/CRMs are constantly changing

2) The Comparison Matrix is regularly updated by the vendors

So why read the book?

All you have to do to get a sense of how little you know about what is involved in purchasing a CRM, is to think about how much bad information is out there about Real Estate agents and the industry in general. In all likelihood, you are as under informed and misinformed about CRMs, as the public is about Real Estate.

So although the Matrix compares all the CRMs, the book explains what features are available, how to use the features, what realistic expectations are, how to understand the comparisons between the products, and much much more.

I have spoken with at least several agents each day for the last couple years about CRM. They tell me what they have used, what they want and why they want it. When I ask them to explain their needs and preferences, virtually without exception they are making those decisions without understanding the facts and concepts behind them.

In my experience, most agents put more time into researching a cell phone purchase than they do in selecting their Contact Manager/CRM. This is one of the causes for people spending a great deal of time and money unneccesarily because every year or three, they switch to another CRM.

If you do your research  about CRMs on the Internet or by talking to other people, you are gathering a great deal of biased opinion, but very little well rounded and comprehensive fact. Some examples:

  • People are almost always mistaken about the upsides and downsides to having your data online in a Web based CRM, versus offline on a desktop solution. The whole concept of Web based solutions "holding your data hostage" is almost completely misunderstood, as very few people know to consider that regardless of what data is exported from one CRM, at least as important is the issue of what data can be imported into the next. So don't you want to know exactly what data you can export, and then import?
  • The concept of your data being always readily available and not having to be backed up on a Web based product is only a partial picture when you take into account that if you accidentally delete 500 contacts from your database, that you can easily recover from that mistake with a Web based CRM. This is simply not true in many cases. So how do you compensate for that potential issue?
  • Additionally, there is a great deal of outright disinformation about products that is stated by disgruntled users who are angry with a provider, whose sole purpose in posting is to simply cost them business. An examination of why they are upset often reveals the fact that the user is simply ignorant, had unrealistic expectations about the product, or that they decided midway through a contract that they wanted out, and the vendor would not let them. These issues are not the vendors fault, yet the disinformation gets posted in the guise of valid criticism. So how do you sift through it all?
  • Another false assumption by many is that e-mail and contact management have to be accomplished on two different programs. That is probably the single biggest inefficiency in which agents regularly engage. So what should be done instead?

These are only four examples of many about which people make decisions based on incomplete, biased, or false information.

How can you know what features you want in your CRM, when you don't know what it is that is available, or even have a correct understanding of what the features truly mean to you? You can't.

So before you decide against buying the book because it does not help you choose between specific contact managers, consider that it is virtually impossible to make a well informed, wise choice without reading it first. That is, after all, why I wrote it!

http://ContactManagerBook.GaryDavidHall.com

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  1. Lynn B. Friedman 03/06/2012 09:05 PM
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Top Producer 7i & 8i Users
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Rainmaker
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John Woodward
Broker - Sarasota Real Estate
Sarasota Real Estate Group

Hi!

I can appreciate the work you put into the comparison.  I read your posts on another blog in ActiveRain.  I have to say, I am user number 80 something for Agent office.  I bought version 1 back in the mid 90's when I bought my RE/MAX franchise.  I had been using Howard and Friends at the time.  I have never really been crazy about A2k...it's cumbersome and takes a lot of time to get some one "in".  Howard, was not as robust but it kept track of people and when I had to do things.  Neither has had much support of recent.  I bought the A2k piece to import/expert to outlook because with the Driod, I had to buy the piece so outlook could talk to the droid.  Long story short, it stinks that the a2k calendar shows "call" on the droid with no "who" and no "what is the number"...kind of useless and no one from support calls back.

So I run into your stuff and it looks like a vendor has done a compare of the ones I know and some I don't.  Way cool...my only issue is, I cannot come to grips to pay for an evaluation.  To me, it's like charging $19.95 for a CMA.  I would much rather see the evaluation to draw a conclusion that I am selecting a product based on what I need and that your analysis makes sense.  Heck, I'd even be willing to pay an extra few bux for the product.  I am the only comment on this blog for six months so, maybe going out on the edge a bit, I may speak for some others.  I just am having a problem paying for the sales brochure....sorry.

May 31, 2011 10:43 PM
Rainmaker
65,382
Gary David Hall
Real Estate CRM Sales, Realtor,GRI, e-PRO,RECS
RE-ACT, LLC

Sorry - just saw this comment. Replies must have been turned off for some reason. I'm going to get defensive about this comment which I should not allow myself to do, but heck I'm getting older and I am tending to speak my mind more often than I used to.

With regards to no one having commented on this post, it's not really the kind of post one would expect people to comment on. It has had over 2,300 views and over 2,000 "likes", and no one agreeing with you since May, so you might be in the minority on your opinion. That is not to say I haven't heard it once or twice before. You and they are certainly welcome to your opinions.

I think there is a point that needs to be made about providers of Real Estate specific products in general that most do not understand.  I am not a major company with a staff, and many companies providing these products to agents are not either. Real Estate agents who spend money on products number only in the lower hundreds of thousands. It is a very small market when you compare it to generic products that are bought by millions. Our expectations in this realm of products are often too high if you understand that.

I interviewed over 30 CEO's and developers for a minimum of 5 hours each, and spent a couple hundred hours developing the data, and paid a developer to create the Matrix. To compare it to doing a CMA for free is ludicrous for that reason alone, not to mention that you stand to gain thousands of dollars by getting the listing. My compensation is a small fraction of that. The Matrix takes time to keep up and there is nothing like it on the internet. It's not $19.95 by the way, it is $9.95, and if you would be willing to pay an extra couple bucks for a CRM product once you decided which one you wanted after using the Matrix, you would be in an extremely small to non-existent minority. 

I originally created it for my own use, but as I mentioned it in conversations, many people said they would be more than happy to pay to see that kind of extensively detailed unbiased comparsion, so I went forward with it, and it turned out that hundreds have been happy to pay ten bucks for something that has no equal on the internet. I am comfortable charging for it, and apparently a great many agents do see the value in it. I'm sorry you do not.

October 05, 2011 01:20 PM
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Rainmaker
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Gary David Hall

Real Estate CRM Sales, Realtor,GRI, e-PRO,RECS
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