CRM – Customer Removal Management

Thought I’d throw this out there: Agents do you use any CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tools besides a rolodex or Outlook Contacts? Do you know anyone who does? There are a lot out there, but I’ve really only heard of and only in the context of other industries.

Also, a question for the home buyers and sellers: have you felt the sting of bad CRM? I’d say that you can identify bad CRM when you get generic emails periodically from an agent to whom you once gave your email address.

60 thoughts on “CRM – Customer Removal Management

  1. Dustin,

    I still miss the DOS version of Top Producer 🙂 I swore by it for many years. It held not only my client info, past, present and future, but my “farm” info as well. It was clearly an invaluable tool. Gave me my up to the minute financial data at the touch of a button as well.

    For some reason I can’t get the online version to measure up to the original software, though I’ve tried it at least three times since it converted to a Windows based program.

    Maybe I need the “Top Producer” class, or at the least, a Top Producer support group.

    That being said, it is clearly the finest tool out there for agents that can grasp its totality.

  2. A robust and well cultivated CRM is a goldmine of information and business!!

    Personally, I use a customized template of ACT!….Simple to build and easy to navigate…

  3. I’ve definitely felt the sting of Poison CRM from a brokerage out of Bellevue – Asset Realty Group – they’re “Marketing” is exclusively on Craigslist (FREE being the key word) and when I inquired on a property – simply asked ONE question on a home they had posted they bombarded me with email templates and I wasn’t contacted by just one agent I was contacted by 6 including the Broker – their system is THE WORST – they chronically Spam anyone who asks a question on any of the properties they have posted which aren’t even their own listings for the most part.

    Housevalues has a CRM called Market Leader, this seemed to be a decent system in that it didn’t “bombard” clients unnecessarily.

  4. Did I mention that once Asset Realty Group had my email address I was contacted by agents that weren’t even licensed with Asset Realty because apparently this Group handed my email over to various other brokerages?

    Their system is so tacky that the various agents were actually using the same email templates over and over again, it was unbelievable.

  5. Miranda, awesome story on the CRM burn! I actually have an experience similar to yours, but with HomeValues as both an “agent” (I contacted them once) and a consumer (I typed in my email address once). They love sending me emails and calling me, although the volume has dropped off recently.

  6. is open source and it has all the functionality of We use it for the backend of our blog system and Realtors seem to love it. VtigI’ve used it for years and find it extremely useful and scalable.

  7. Stay away from Agent Office from FNIS. It is database application built on a FoxPro platform. Gag. Nobody uses FoxPro anymore. The UI resembles Windows 3.11. Fields that contain drop down boxes allow free form typing. In a group setting that poses lots of problems from misspelling and non standard values. Searching becomes impossible. Importing/Exporting data is not easy. Tech support isn’t knowledgeable.

    Act recently came out with a real estate specific version. Third party vendors have developed RE add-ons for years. Symplifi from TopazSoftware has CRM product that reports a lot of metrics found in higher end CRM applications. Also, Microsoft released a CRM product that I like, but you have to be running Small Business Server OS.

  8. All the agents I work with just need a simple CRM and I recommend outlook. Why? because Outlook is on EVERY computer or if you buy office it comes with outlook. Why else? because almost everything out there is too powerful and they will never use all the features and it will be a waste of their money.

    Now when they are ready to step up I recommend Usually ACT! for realestate or this plugin for outlook.

    But that is such a rarity that I say that probably happened about 10 times this year and I have visited over 400 agents this year.

    I looked at and that IS nice.

    Late last year I was asked to install it for some agents at the request of an unamed title company and I said sure until i saw the program and then I said no because I didn’t want my name known for installing that CRAP.

  9. Miranda,

    After several years of work on our CRM backend, it’s time to set the record clear based on your negitive spin…

    Our technology is all based on predictive patterns associated with our webtraffic. Custom linux/mysql cluster to do real-time analysis with our traffic.

    What is all that mumbo-jumbo? We have built new-breed type of CRM system that auto-tracks what the users are interested in based on cookies, autosets the saved searches using some fancy logic that predicts what you’re looking at based and patterns of history and most importantly, alerts you and the agent assigned via email on those patterns for new properties coming onto various MLS’s. When users click on emails that have those properties, our software tightens the habits and learns more about what people are most interested in…giving users…exactly what they want.

    Internet marketing meets the Real Estate world.

    I’ll keep most of our secret sauce out of this thread, however, i will give people interested in doing some forcasting, this type of technology will be required in the future for brokerages to stay alive. Some brokerages that found us, intantly licensed this technology in Washington, California and Texas.

  10. Chad,

    I think Miranda’s comments are correct, as are yours. Just different perspectives.

    She feels “duped” by the system. As your roster grows, perhaps you will, and maybe already do, sell of less of the leads. But she is correct that when she answers the “ad”, she is sometimes not talking with the “listing company”. She feels a little duped by that. She is not incorrect in her observations, from what I know about Asset Realty Group. Nor are you the only company who advertises the listings of other companies, with their written permission to do so.

    She’s answering from the consumer perspective, as Galen asked her to do. You are responding that the system works for you. And that’s OK. But you don’t have to make her out to be “wrong” for you to be right. Her comments were her personal experience from a consumer vantagepoint, and not a “negative SPIN”, as I see it.

  11. Ahhhh…the good ol’ watercooler talk…

    The Real Estate industry isn’t tech. Agents aren’t tech, and most don’t want to be tech, i’ve seen it with recruiting. There in lies on incredible opporuntiy to the wonderful timing in this market >75% of agents don’t understand Internet Marketing, and probably never will. That’s not their background…it is ours who are reading this.

    It’s not about being “right” or “wrong” Ardell, it’s about giving the consumers what they are looking for – there are hundreds of ways to do this, some will see this as disruption – some will slam on it – some won’t understand it – some will embrace it – most don’t care. Again – it’s all about giving the consumer what they want, when they want it.

    Interesting thought related to “duped”, Buyers Agents have been using Listing Agents Listings’ for 30+ years. This isn’t new territory. In fact, my Windermere buddy does very well doing this…look at seattletimes, harbor homes, realestatebook – 50% of those listings aren’t the listing agents’. Good tech times…good tech times for the real estate industry…

  12. Chad,

    I totally agree that using someone else’s listing is not anything new. Though I don’t think there were “buyer’s agents” “for 30+ years” 🙂 In fact I’m absolutely sure there were not.

    Point is that Miranda was a consumer with a “sad story”. You could at least have said “sorry” to her, for her inconvenience. Unless you think she is an agent in consumer’s clothing, you could have acknowledged her pain.

    I guess you don’t have to be more than a tech machine, never responding to people directly, playing “the numbers game. I emailed you once in response to “your” email to me, trying to get a “live person”, and you never responded. Maybe you can introduce some people skills into that machine…or not. Just my thoughts…at the water cooler…for today.

  13. Chad, I think Ardell is right. Spam is spam, dude! It’s cool that you can intuit what people want via their time browsing your site, but if you’re incessantly emailing them and they don’t like it, it doesn’t matter how high tech your marketing is.

    It’s not about being “right

  14. Ardell, as you well know, this is a people business. However, it’s also a numbers busines. A bit of a strange cross with sales and automation with the internet and dealing with numbers.

    >> I guess you don’t have to be more than a tech machine, never responding to people directly, playing “the numbers game. I emailed you once in response to “your

  15. Chad, don’t get me wrong, your system sounds very cool and I agree with you that the real estate world is not especially tech savvy.

    That said, your site is only technically opt in, in that someone types in their email address to ask a question, but that’s not an honest opt in. An honest opt in would be a box underneath the sign in that says “please notify me of houses and offers I might be interested in.” Putting anything pertinent in your privacy policy is sort of bs – if you aren’t putting it clearly on the page where people submit their email address, you’re admitting that you’re sending people things they don’t want.

    I can tell you’re not a “real” spammer and that you mean well. The “get me off this list” button is a great start.

  16. Galen,

    I didn’t submit my email address, and I get emails from Chad. Is that spam? In fact any agent whoever lists a house gets an auto generated email from Chad, each and every time they list a house. Is that spam? Can we “opt out” of automatic emails from Asset Realty Group every time we list a property?

    The first time it happened I was going to say, sure, go ahead and advertise my listing. But I couldn’t find the agent in the mls roster and so I went to Asset Realty Group, and he wasn’t showing as one of their agents.

    I emailed Chad to alert him that someone was emailing me using their company name, and asked if he worked there. Chad couldn’t be bothered to answer my email…though he sends thousands to agents and consumers. I thought it was a legitimate concern that someone was saying they were an agent of his firm and emailing me, when he wasn’t on the office roster.

    I checked today. That guy does work there at this time. So it wasn’t a mistake.

  17. Ardell, it clearly says in their privacy policy that by having an email address that they know about, you have opted in. (ha!)

    Chad, I take that back what I said earlier. Sounds like Asset Realty is a spam-friendly organization.

  18. Oh! I agree with Miranda! Asset Realty Group company spams. Don’t email their Craigslist adds. They will add your email to their automatted property emails eventhough you didn’t ask. Did it occur to them that I have an Agent!

  19. Dear “Buyer Agent”… Just because someone is looking on Craigslist doesn’t mean their agent is doing a bad job. Seattle’s Craigslist “real estate for sale” section used to be a cool place to look for deals. For Fixer Uppers, Instant Equity, or FSBOs. But now, no matter what I search for, I always find MANY Asset Realty Group listings in my results (none of which are their own listings). And at any given time, it seems like Asset has over 400 listings on Craigslist. That, to me, is ridiculous. My browsing activity on Craigslist has dropped significantly.

  20. Kevin,

    I’m glad you comment as there have been days I have felt “lax” for not putting my listings on Craig’s List. But my gut says that people go there to find property that is NOT listed elsewhere. They don’t want to go to Craig’s List only to find those properties that they already viewed on a real estate website.

    If I do use Craig’s List as an advertising vehicle, it will be because I can do things there that I can’t do in the mls…like put people in the photos 🙂 But not just to put the same thing that already exists in the mls version. I did try it once, but immediately realized that it wasn’t being “innovative” just to be there. If I’m going to be there, it has to have a benefit to both my seller client and those viewing there, it has to be something the mls will not allow.

    Thanks for your consumer view of “agents on Craig’s List”. I truly appreciate it.

  21. Hi Ardell!

    I certainly don’t mind agents advertising on Craigslist. Sometimes, I find listings I’ve missed on other real estate websites. I feel like everyone, even Asset Realty, has a right to seeing how it’s free. But it does bother me that they’re abusing that right. I wish Craigslist had a radio button to separate “listed by owner” from “listed by agent”, kind of like the Cars / Trucks section has.

    But anyway, I happened to find this ‘older’ post by searching for Asset Realty Group on Google. I’m a frequent reader. Keep up the great work!

  22. Thanks Kevin,

    Agent’s are required by law to identify that they are an agent in all advertising and also to note the name of their broker as licensed.

    Are you saying agents are advertising on Craig’s list “blindly” as if they are owners?

  23. Oh no, I’m just commenting that, for example, if I search for the term “Renton” today on Craigslist, there are 104 listings.

    7 of the first 10 results are listed “by agents”. Only 3 “for sale by owner” or “not on the MLS”.

    I wish there was an option when searching to search “all results”, “those listed by agents” or “those listed by owner.” Like how in the Cars / Trucks For Sale section, you can choose to see results “from All”, “from dealers” or “from owners only”.

    Because ideally (if the math holds up), I would only have to sort through 30 or so listings, instead of 104.

  24. Well Craig reads RCG, so maybe he’ll see your “request” and respond accordingly some day. Zillow has the different flag colors, but I don’t think they make a distinction in flag color for MLS vs FSBO, same concept. Do you really think that is important to know? If you are going to skip by all the listed property…why? If it is because you assume you already saw all that elsewhere…hmmmm, but if I use Craig’s list to show something differently than the MLS allows, why would I want you to skip over it easily…hmmm

    Just thinking out loud there. Wouldn’t it be a disadvantage to the seller consumer to provide a means to “skip over” his ad just because he has an agent in the picture?

    Can you think about that from the other side of the coin, Kevin? Pretend you are a seller with your house on Craig’s list vs. a buyer look at property. All real estate is a two way street. Would it be fair to you as a seller if you put a fancy ad on Craig’s list and they separated you out and penalized you because you had an agent?

    The info is not necessarily the same, as MLS has it’s feed restrictions. Wouldn’t you want an open plyaing field as a seller of a house?

  25. To me, it’s not really an issue of a “level / open playing field”… the issue is TIME.

    I’m thinking about it this way,

    I go onto Craigslist. I’m looking for a house and working with a real estate agent. He’s shown me everything there is in Kirkland already. But I want to do my own research to find a bargain. I type in “Kirkland”, and get 100+ results (127 today). I close my browser because there’s no way I’m looking through that many listings.

    Here’s what I would like to have happen… I type in “Kirkland”, get 127 results, but then select “Homes not listed on the MLS.” I sort through those results in about 10 minutes, find one that’s interesting and forward it to my agent. He schedules an appointment and we go check it out along with the other homes on the MLS that I ALREADY wanted to check out.

    I’m not thinking from a seller’s perspective, I’m thinking from a buyer’s perspective.

    I can see where you’re coming from, that “MLS listed homes” would be put at a disadvantage… but the way it’s structured now, FSBO homes are at a HUGE disadvantage. MLS listed homes are already listed on the MLS, but FSBO have no where else to go, and they’re getting drowned out by all these redundant ads you can find on and I would like a level / open playing field, but feel like it’s not setup that way anyway, might as well change it.

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