by Richard Murray.
Whatever it is you do you must be doing it well to survive in perhaps the most competitive property industry in the world.
But while survival is an achievement in itself, it is also just a starting point for the future.
To stand-out from the crowd and make your business prosper you need to take advantage of all the assets at your disposal.
This does not necessarily mean spending on every new bell or whistle – it is often a case of maximising the use of what you have invested in already.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) technology is one key area you can use to your advantage to make the most of business opportunities in a highly competitive environment.
By looking after your existing customers you will be helping your own business to flourish also.
To achieve this you need to maximise the return from your CRM system – and this means maximising your usage of the CRM system itself.
You have already invested in the CRM system so that money is already spent. Now it is time to really make it pay for itself.
Few companies make full use of the potential of their CRM. The majority use less than 50% of its capabilities.
If that sounds like your company, this is when you need to make the other 50% work. After all, you have paid 100% of the price, so get your CRM working 100% for you.
Your CRM database is a ready-made market of selling opportunities – use it.
Don’t ignore the relationship you have already formed with existing clients. Think smart and exploit your database to market to existing customers, new services and products your business might now be offering.
It can cost up to seven times more to find and win new customers than it does to sell to those you have already.
That is money which most companies cannot afford to spend.
So why not try to keep selling to those clients who have bought into your business and already believe in your products and services. It’s much easier and much cheaper!
A versatile and efficient CRM system brings you knowledge – and in business knowledge is power.
An effective CRM will have customisation tools to allow “personal profiling”.
Analyse data carefully. Your CRM will contain a range of detailed information about your existing clients – what they have purchased already and their likes and dislikes.
Cross reference these to see if there are other services/products they may not be aware of which you can sell to them.
Enhance your relationship with existing clients by keeping them updated continuously with any product/service improvements your business might make.
Doing this could give rise to further selling opportunities to those businesses. They may be looking for exactly what you are now selling – but if you don’t tell them about it how will they ever know?
By constantly informing them of what your company is doing you are also enhancing your relationship with them. And the closer you are to your clients the more likely they will remain loyal to you.
Use your CRM to make your clients feel special.
Make sure you keep your database up to date. Always add new clients when you take them on.
But don’t completely remove former clients from your system. Keep their details and use the information to try to win back their business by exposing them to new opportunities and developments which give you an edge over your business rivals.
Or introduce special offers which may entice them back.
Improve your marketing by using your CRM to get existing customers to introduce you to new ones. “Refer a friend and we’ll pay you £50/£500/£5000 etc” – this type of promotion can be highly effective in winning new business.
You will find though that if your clients truly value the products/services you supply they will recommend you without any incentives – but referral rewards are good at prompting a call to action.
To get the most from your CRM you need to ensure all your staff are fully trained to use the system. It is no use relying on your resident “techie” alone if you are to maximise results
After all, what happens if your lone CRM operator is on holiday or on sick leave – or suddenly quits?
It is good practice to get as many staff as possible trained to operate your CRM so that new client information is uploaded, along with details of new leads or changing data on existing clients.
For this purpose it is always helpful if your CRM is simple to operate. The more straightforward the system the better results you will achieve.
A single system is best in that it allows you to manage information from all parts of your business in one place.
Keep on top of your CRM and you will stay ahead of the game.
If you don’t, you can guarantee your rivals will.
Richard Murray is a director of Eurolink, providers of Veco™ software solutions for the property industry.