Tiffany Bowtell: Is your CRM a problem?

A good CRM that makes your job easier is the lifeblood of any real estate agency, but how do you know if you're using the best one? This is a question Tiffany Bowtell is asked multiple times a day. Here, she explains why your CRM is important but not necessarily the most critical piece of the puzzle.

As the saying goes, if I were paid a dollar for every time someone asked me which CRM is the best, I’d be a very wealthy woman.

After working 25 years in the real estate industry, I’ve held a very unique position in having the privilege of working with almost every software out there.

As a premium outsourcing provider specialising in real estate administration, my company Property Management Virtual Assistant (PMVA), creates bespoke solutions through integrating systems and software with human intelligence to help real estate business owners succeed.

We process 20,000 invoices, 30,000 rent receipts, schedule 3000 routine inspections, and follow-up hundreds of maintenance quotes and outstanding work orders across more than 60 software programs in any given week.

So now I have your attention, let me be frank and tell you why this is the wrong question to ask.

A few select times a week, I make it a priority to meet with real estate business owners to discuss their issues, roadblocks, problems, technology, staff concerns, profitability and provide custom solutions to help them achieve their success. I call it a strategy session.

It’s a confidential coffee meeting via Zoom where we sit down to discuss the challenges they face and how they can overcome their current problems and move forward.

Almost everyone starts the conversation with the question about their CRM and which is the best one.

It’s as if having the answer would make their problems magically disappear!

But only a few minutes into the session, they quickly realise finding the perfect CRM has nothing to do with them becoming wildly successful, and their CRM selection is only one aspect of the overall strategy. 

Why it’s not your CRM that’s the problem

After conducting thousands of strategy sessions I’ve discovered that it’s not the CRM causing the majority of the problems; it’s the mindset and plan of the business owner that needs review and adjustment.

In my strategy sessions, we run through the following major questions. 

  1. Where am I now? 
    We explore the things that have gotten you to where you are right now and consider the main problems hindering your success. 
  2. Where do I want to be? 
    Last year was not all doom and gloom. For many agency owners, it’s in fact been the opposite. There is so much opportunity out there, and spending time dreaming up your vision or reconnecting back to your big ‘why’ is supremely important.
  3. What’s the gap? 
    We review your systems, technology and manpower, and look at what obvious next steps need to be taken to create momentum and propel you towards your goals. 

    Funnily enough, by the end of the session, most agency owners realise that changing their CRM would actually be a disadvantage. (Unless, of course, you’re using a dinosaur program stuck on a server in the Harry Potter room collecting dust under the stairs.) 

    What they really needed was someone to remind them what’s important, to remember why they chose to get into business and that technology is just a part of the overall strategy to their success.

    Sometimes fresh but experienced eyes can make all the difference. 

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Tiffany Bowtell

Tiffany Bowtell is the Founder and CEO of Property Management Virtual Assistant.