CRM Best Practices with Abbie Mirata of ApostleTech

Anya:                Well, hello and welcome everyone. My name is Anya Chrisanthon and this is another episode of the New Construction Marketing Podcast.  This episode is brought to you by my new free Master Class-Effortless Follow Up where I teach you my tips and tricks to get more sales and to be more consistent.  Thanks so much for being here today and I am very excited to introduce our guest, Abbie Mirata.  Abbie is a director of Homebuilding Solutions at ApostleTech, which is an implementation service for Salesforce, which is a very popular CRM. So, I’m very excited to introduce Abbie. Abbie, welcome to the show.

Abbie:              Thank you. Hi, Anya. I appreciate the chance to be on and chat with you about this. I’m really excited.

Anya:                Yes, absolutely!  Well, per usual, we like to start this show off by giving an introduction of your background. So, I know you’ve been in the home building industry for quite a while so, if you don’t mind taking us through your journey, how did you end up in home sales business and what has your progression been through your career path?

Abbie:              Sure, I would love to. So, I’ve actually been in the industry for just over 15 years. Started in sales, have worked for a couple of national builders, as well as some smaller private regional builders as well. Sold homes for quite some time and just fell in love and had a blast and really started getting interested in the business and the operation and, so, started my move into sales management. And my last company was Taylor Morrison and with them for about 11 years, moving through sales management up into a corporate role where I had the privilege of running their training department, sales training department, and then moving into sales operations.

Abbie:              So, I’ve done a good amount of the jobs in the sales and marketing organization for a new home builder over the years. And as a sales manager, I’ve heard a lot from my salespeople, “Do you want me to sell houses or do you want me to work in the system?” And, I’m kind of like, “Well, I need you to do both.” And I think it’s the approach, it’s the technology in housing industry. We do tend to be a little bit behind the eight ball when it comes to the technology and the resources.

Abbie:              It’s ensuring that our sales team members can have what they need as tools and that we’re starting to look at our systems less as a way to just gain data from sales team members and micromanage them and giving them a tool that’s actually going to make them sell more houses, be happier, do their job better. And, so we had at Taylor Morrison partnered with ApostleTech to implement our salesforce solution and I was so impressed with them and they really became part of our family and, when I saw an opportunity to make a jump and really dive into this and start helping the industry and so I chose to go full time into the world of super fun CRMs, focusing on home building to see if we could shift some perspective on what it really means to work with CRM in our industry.

Anya:                You hit on a lot of very valid points. Definitely it seems that home building industry is behind when it comes to, not only CRM, but also a lot of the technology in general. When you think of marketing and what other industries are doing, it does feel like we’re a step behind. Why do you think that is?

Abbie:              You know, I think that it’s still such a high touch industry where while we’re moving a lot to online, unlike Amazon and Cars and some others, this is your home and people still need to feel that physical connection and talk to someone and it’s a big decision. And so I think it’s been so focused on location and the product itself and bringing people in and what it takes to have that human to human connection that technology in this piece has kind of fallen behind, including on the digital side with digital marketing and we’re definitely making strides there, but kind of in the traditional sense of advertising and getting people who want to live in a community out there.

Abbie:              The investment that needs to be made in land and products and sustainability, the money just doesn’t seem to be left over for the investment in the technology and on the people side of the technology.

Anya:                So do you think technology really makes a difference when it comes to sales? Sales is an art, right? So, do you really need technology? I’m gonna play a little bit of a devil’s advocate here.  It’s not one size fits all, especially when it comes to home buying process, right? Isn’t it all about the feeling?

Abbie:              You know what? I’m going to agree with you and say yes and yes. So there is an art and I believe in that and I think that there’s so much that we invest in the training of our sales team and connecting with our customers and customer experience, but I feel like the right technology enhances that for our sales team members.

Abbie:              And so it’s being able to have a system and choose a system that’s flexible and that works for the team so that, as a sales person, the real estate market in particular really ebbs and flows and has ups and downs and so you need to be able to keep yourself at a consistent performance level through all of that. And that’s where, if you have the information, if you have the data, and you have the technology, you can really keep yourself at a high level as a sales person and protect yourself.

Abbie:              And I also feel like when you use it and you use it right, you create a better experience for yourself and I’m a big believer that the better experience our employees and our team members have, the better customer experience that we have, and technology will play a huge part in our customer experience. So, when you think about a resource tool for a sales person, it they can have that full 360 and that full journey for the customer all the way through at their fingertips, then I do believe it’s going to get them more sales and they’re going to have a lot more fun. Whether it’s an iPad as they’re walking around in the sales office, quick ability to access information on a current customer, maybe one that’s been visiting for over a year and you’ve just taken over, or helping them all the way through the process through close. Technology is a huge part of making us better in that.

Anya:                I agree with you on the point of consistency. I think consistency is what separates good from great.  I think we love consistency in most parts of our lives.  When you think about sales and performance, sales world is very up and down as is. But I think if there’s a way to minimize the ups and downs and provide that consistency, it not only makes an impact on how people perceive you, how your sales manager is going to perceive you as a sales person, if this person is delivering four sales every single month and they’re targeting four sales every single month.  Versus someone who is targeting four and then they’re delivering one this month and then six next month and then one month after that, and so and so.

Anya:                Consistency also it helps with your income.   If you can have a more consistent and predictable income, there’s nothing better than that.  Especially in the sales industry, we all know income is very much an up and down and up and down thing. So, if you can use the CRM to help you get consistent results, it’s a win-win for everyone.

Anya:                So, again, I’m going to play a little bit of a devil’s advocate and say, “Well, consistency is great, but I don’t want to be micromanaged, you know? The reason why I got into sales, especially home building, is because I like to come into the model home, be my own boss. I don’t need to see my sales manager every single day, once a week is more than enough for me. I like the freedom and I don’t need to have somebody sitting over there and checking what I’m doing. You know, as long as I’m selling homes why do you care, if I’m using this or not?”

Abbie:              And that’s what I hear from salespeople and I have for years and years and years and I think that, honestly, it’s just a point of view shift because I felt like the less I utilized my system correctly or the less my team utilized the system correctly, the more I was on them. The more I was out there, the more I was saying, “I need an Excel spreadsheet and what’s going on with this? And where’s this customer and how many sales are you going to get next week?” Where I could see that information holistically on my team and I’m seeing that you’re doing the right things and I understand that.  You’re giving me the data to look at and make better decisions to drive you more traffic, but also know that you’re out there doing the things you need to do, then I’m going to tend to leave you a little bit alone and trust you a little bit more.

Abbie:              So, I actually think when you utilize your CRM properly as a sales person, you have less of micromanagement and it really is and I think that’s messaging from management and we, as sales managers, have to do a better job not to say: “Are you neglecting your activities or, you know, are you not moving people through a pipeline?” And use that information properly to say, “It looks like you’ve got, you know, a couple of people sitting here in this stage and I want to help you meet your numbers next month, so how can I help you get them over the fence?”

Abbie:              And the time with your manager is going to be more productive when they can really take that information and be ready to sit down with you and get things done, rather than spending a whole bunch of time asking you, “Tell me about your traffic,” or “What’s going on with your backlog,” or “Let’s walk your models,”.  They can be better prepared to help you and gain consistency.

Abbie:              To do your job as a sales person, you need to be talking to people and you need to be working with people but when you have those downtimes, if you’ve put the data in correctly and you’re using the system, then when you know you’ve got a goal to hit next month and you don’t think you’ve seen the traffic, that’s when you as a sales person can mine that data and go, “Well, who came in two or three months ago that I thought was going to take three or four months to buy?” And so, to be able to have that right there, make those phone calls and follow up, it’s really about micromanaging yourself and less about how the business needs to micromanage you.

Abbie:              The business, though, still needs that data as a marketer to ensure that they’re still understanding who’s walking through your door and they’re spending the money in the right places to get you the right type of people so that you’re not wasting your time.

Anya:                I agree with you that sales managers definitely need to do a better job with this because they leave you alone for the most part until you’re not selling and then suddenly that CRM comes in and it’s like, “Whoa, we can see how many phone calls, how many of this and that,” and it’s like, “Okay. Well, do you want me to actually make the phone calls or do you want me to just log, log, log, and log?”

Anya:                So, how do we overcome that objection of-It takes me twice as much time to log a phone call than to actually make that phone call?  And it takes me, five minutes to get all the information from that CPS card into my CRM system.” It’s just, you know, a lot of manual labor and it seems like a waste of time.

Abbie:              I think part of that is time management and knowing your week and when’s the right time to do things and part of that is the technology, so there does have to come a point where, as an industry, we have to understand what we need and we have to invest in the technology that’s going to be flexible and easy for our sales team to do. For example, going mobile.

Abbie:              Sales teams now should be able to do 80% of what they need to do on their mobile phone, so if they’re sitting, looking at their customer on their phone in their CRM and they make the phone call, it logs the call for them. They send the email, it logs the email for them. And so creating the workflows and the tasks behind it, as well, that makes sense so you’re not just inundating them with useless tasks. “We think at 24 hours, you need to do this, and at five days, we need to do that, and at seven days, we need to do that.” And it adds up and it becomes overwhelming for a salesperson to manage.

Abbie:              So I think part of it is, as a salesperson, accepting and realizing the benefit and figuring out your time management and how to get the most out of your existing CRM. And part of it is the technology itself and ensuring that we are creating and implementing tools that, again, are, about the salesperson and about our people and those processes and them first, and about the data and the management of it second, because then it will all come together with the right technology.

Anya:                All right. So I’m bought in!  But what if my company doesn’t have the tools that I need? I work for a big national builder and they don’t have the best CRM system, to be quite frank. The system that they’re using is a proprietary system that they created 20 years ago and that, you know, some of the changes have been made to it and they spin it as the greatest thing ever, but, it takes too long, it’s slow.  What should I do as a salesperson if my company’s not on board with it? What would you recommend?

Abbie:              So I would make a lot of noise. If you can. No, I’m kidding. You know, that’s a really hard question to answer and it’s tough and so that’s where … I think we were talking earlier, you know, about point of view. That’s where it’s your mindset and it’s looking at your system and being willing to embrace the technology that you have. It is talking to your peers and asking for help. Typically, on a team, there’s at least one person who gets it or is using the system better and it’s sharing those best practices or asking the questions. The more that you show them you’re willing to embrace and use the technology  the more apt your organization is going to be to make an investment in future enhancements to the technology.

Abbie:              Because I do hear that a lot when we go into client meetings, looking at a better platform, possibly a more expensive platform to move their business to. “Well, why am I going to spend all this money when they’re not using what they have today?”  I would encourage a sales team that it’s give and take. And so, as a sales team, how can I best use what I have today? How can I change my own point of view and get some help and make the most of it? And then how can I use it so that when I go to my management and say, “I need,” or “I want something,” there’s the data there to back it up and the proof that I’m willing to invest in that myself, and now I need something back from you.

Anya:                Agreed.  If you understand the importance of a right type of follow-up and you want to be consistent, but your company is not on board, there’s still some things that we could do as sales reps, to make our lives easier.  For example, one of the things you can do is take the time and write out all of your follow-up emails. Even if your current CRM system is not capable of sending them automatically, a lot of the CRMs – even the prehistoric ones – will have capability of setting some type of a reminder and if it doesn’t, then you can always use a Google Calendar to schedule it out for each individual person. It’s obviously a little bit more of a mundane process, but at least if you do take the time to set the reminders for yourself and you already have written out all of the emails that you need to send out, at that point, it comes down to copy-paste, copy-paste, copy-paste.

Anya:                As backwards as it may be, it still is better than spending all the time to write out individual emails and I’m sure all of us find ourselves writing the same email over and over and over again. We’re including the same exact link over and over again. So, at least if you can make your life easier, even if your management is not on board with this, those are some of the shortcuts that you can potentially take.

Abbie:              I absolutely agree and I think all CRMs, at the very minimum, have some sort of task follow-up and they also typically will have ranking for prospects.  ABC, 123, or something like that. I would encourage a sales team, to utilize that rather than keeping those notes on the back of your reg card or creating a tickler file or a spreadsheet. You know, use the rating system and if you can at least keep that updated, then you can constantly go in and pull  by that rating, “Let me look at who I thought was an A”,  Typically, every CRM, you’re going to have two or three kind of basic pieces that if you use those pieces right, you’re going to get a little bit more efficient yourself.

Abbie:              And then definitely utilize your calendar, to make those phone calls, and when are you doing the follow up? When are you at your highest? Is it first thing in the morning? Is it later in the day?  Managing when you’re going to do what you need to do to follow up with your backlog and when you’re going to prospect and send those emails out, that you’re going to have the most oil in your engine to get it done.

Anya:                Absolutely, and so since you are the CRM guru, I’m sure you’re probably seeing some patterns. So, is there a timeframe that you’re seeing that it typically takes from the point of somebody entering a person into the CRM to when they’re able to close it, specifically for new construction? And I know it can vary wildly right? Sometimes you have a prospect coming in and you’re able close them on a first day, and sometimes you have people in your CRM that seems like they’ve been out there for years. So, are you seeing an average timeframe that it takes to convert a prospect in new construction?

Abbie:              Actually, we are. Someone who is a really ready, willing, and able, active buyer is going to be able to make a decision within about two to three weeks. And so that’s how you can look at your traffic flow too, is if it’s early October and I’m focused, in that first week, if I haven’t seen the people I need to see by the end of the month, anyone after that first or second week of the month, I’m going to get into the next month.

Anya:                Okay, and then are you seeing data that says, “Okay, if it’s past the two to three week point and we’re still keeping in touch with these buyers”, is there a certain timing that these buyers are then reengaging? So, for example, I know I’ve had success reengaging with buyers who have been in six months plus, so it’s six to nine month bucket. Are you seeing anything like that, there’s a specific timeframe that is typically good time to reengage those prospects?

Abbie:              I actually would put it kind of closer to the three month mark.

Anya:                Okay.

Abbie:              So, you know, that typically will give you time to take care of business, depending on what is going on in their work life. It’s a good 60 to 90 days from the stand point of do they have a house to sell or was there something that had to happen for them to get back into the market, or a life-changing event.

Abbie:              So, a three month mark to really push that follow-up or to say, “We could get this person back in and there could be some interest,” would be good. And like you said, you’re going to have both ends of the spectrum of people who are looking, a year ahead of time and people who come through the door because they just had a job relocation and their house is sold and they need to buy something in the next three days.

Anya:                Right.

Abbie:              So, kind of have your mix there and then you have people who are forever lookers.

Anya:                Yes, got to love them!

Abbie:              You do, and I think that, there are people who are looking for decorating ideas and all of that. But I will say that I have found a lot of sales following up with those people and keeping them engaged because they’re referrals because you’re top of their mind because they’re talking to people. So, you want to definitely be aware of that bucket of people and where they’re at and continuing to follow up and, if you’re working in kind of in a smaller environment and that’s your sole responsibility, then just making sure that you’re able to do that on a regular basis.

Anya:                So it sounds like homework for everyone is to look at your 90 day list first and see if you can go back to some of those people. Sounds like there could be some hot prospects waiting to buy, so hopefully it’ll get you some month-end sales and so once you reach the six month mark in the process, make sure to pass it on to your online marketing team. Now, what if I don’t have an online marketing team? I’m working for a smaller builder and it’s on me, so once I identified this prospect as a looker and non-buyer, like you said, I think it is still important to keep in touch with them because there may be a referral opportunity, et cetera.

Anya:                So what type of a content, what are some of the types of emails that I could send them to keep them engaged and keep them in the loop for future referrals?

Abbie:              So there’s a couple things, I think, that can help with that. One of the easiest ways to get your email deleted or pushed to the bottom of the inbox is still continuing to focus on “I just want to sell you something.” You’re going to get people to open and re-engage if you let them know what’s going on in the neighborhood. Did a new dog park open? Is there a farmer’s market down the street? You know, did you redo and have a brand new model opening or is there an event? So really focusing, even out in the field as a new home salesperson, less on, you know, “This inventory or this particular product I’m trying to sell you,” and more on continuing to sell people on the lifestyle of the area and the community.

Abbie:              And then getting more creative with utilizing photography or video in those emails if you can, so that you’re going to get people to click on them and open them. But definitely, the type of content that is going to engage people and want them to read about it, tell them something new happening in the area. You know, something that just opened. That’s just going to keep them clicking and on your website and engaged and wanting to open the next email that you send.

Anya:                A picture is worth a thousand words.  I recently did a guest vlog post for New Homes Solutions specifically talking about pictures and using Pinterest to drive traffic to your website if you want to check it out for some ideas.

Anya:                I think you bring up an excellent point here, that you want to think about the emails that you get yourself and sometimes, you see this email and it’s just like, “Oh, delete,” before I even open it, right? Because, you know, it’s whoever is trying to sell you something.

Anya:                So, when you’re doing your follow-up, it’s very important to remember that your follow-up has to be valuable. It has to bring value to the prospect and that’s a key here. So if they know that when they’re opening email from Abbie that her email is going to contain some kind of information that’s going to be valuable to them, their chances of opening go way up versus just deleting that email.

Anya:                And I love what you said about video and photos because that’s one area where most people are such visual creatures, especially in homebuilding. You can entice them, a picture is worth a thousand words, right?

Abbie:              Absolutely.

Anya:                That’s where you can really go to town and think of very creative ways to incorporate photography into your email campaigns to engage the customers and to keep them thinking about your homes and, I who doesn’t like to look at beautiful interiors, right?

Abbie:              Absolutely, and I’ve noticed whether it’s social media or email, the engagement always goes up when, they post different styles. “What do you like better?” “What should we put in our next model?” People love to engage in those things and give their opinion and get ideas and so they look at you as a resource for all pieces of what they’re going through, even if it’s their current home. Then, when the time is right, you’re going to be top of mind for them to go back to when they’re ready to buy their next home.

Anya:                Yes, absolutely. I love that. You want to nurture the relationship, build the relationship so then, when they’re ready, you are the person that they’re thinking about.

Anya:                So what I love about CRM is that it can also not only help you convert the prospect into a buyer, which is obviously the key, but, as salespeople, we get bogged down by our backlog. You know, it’s like, “Oh, my gosh. The change orders, the selections…. It can get overwhelming, especially the bigger your backlog gets, it seems the less and less time we have to prospect for new customers, and you can really get buried deep and have your whole day be filled up by just maintaining customer relationships, which is very important, obviously, because you want to have happy customers. But, Abbie, is there a way that we could utilize CRM to help us manage our backlog?

Abbie:              Absolutely, and I think that it is such an underused portion of a CRM. Too often, we look and think about our CRM simply as a prospecting tool.  Really, if you think about what the CRM acronym stands for, it’s Customer Relationship Management. So managing that backlog and creating tools, whether it’s the same concept as those emails, so you can work with your marketing department to create templates that are more like progress postcards and super easy for you to send out to keep your customer updated or you’re sending those emails out and scheduling that in your CRM. So when someone goes to contract and buys a home, do you want to call them once a week? Do you want to send them pictures?

Abbie:              So kind of put those reminders in and I think, time management-wise too, there is a lot that goes on and your customers are in and out your door. Keeping them off the site is nearly impossible and so setting those expectations right up front that “I’m going to call you at this time every week, so Thursday morning, because I have my sales construction meeting on Wednesday and I’m going to get an update on your home. So, you know, send me your questions or, let me know if you have any issues and I will get that and then I will call you on Thursday morning.” And then set that on your customer’s profile to remind you to make those phone calls every Thursday or have those kind of email templates ready to go and insert just a few things and add a picture.

Abbie:              And it’s also a great tool from a customer service standpoint to keep all of that in your CRM because things happen. This process is hard. People are emotional and there’s a lot of ups and downs in it and so being able to easily and quickly go back to those notes and those emails in your CRM for anyone to review when you need to is really important. But you can definitely use your CRM and all the same tools you use to engage prospects to buy. Use those same drip campaigns and tools and photography and reminders to keep up with your backlog because even if there’s not a lot to say, them knowing that they’re getting their regular communication from you is going to put a lot more trust and faith in the customer to kind of sit back and let us do what we do best as a homebuilder.

Anya:                Definitely, and you bring up such great points about the trail.  Because, we know that buying a home is one of the most emotional times in our lives. It’s having a baby, getting married, and buying a home, and oftentimes, all three go together.

Abbie:              At the same time, yeah!

Anya:                Right at the same time, so it’s … People are just charged up emotionally and sometimes, I think, when emotions are on high, you almost forget certain things. So it’s definitely important to go through your CRM when you’re sending out emails, especially important conversations so that you do have a record of it because, unfortunately, sometimes, you will need to provide that proof.  It will help you in the end when it comes to customer expectations and saying, “Listen, we did have this conversation and I can prove it to you, so you’re just making it up now.”

Abbie:              Absolutely, and you hit the nail on the head and, really, kind of not even having anything to do with CRM. The best thing we can do is have that empathy because we do set expectations and we do tell them, “We told you, you couldn’t make any changes,” then … It’s not that they forget. I think what we have to keep in mind is it’s a business to us and we do it all day, everyday with lots of customers, but not only is it their home and it’s a huge investment but, typically, when someone’s buying a home, it’s not just because they woke up on a whim and they’re like, “Hey, let’s go buy a new house.”

Abbie:              There is a life-changing thing going on. There are parents moving in. They’re having another baby. They had a job relocation. So they have all of these other highly emotional things, plus their day job, that’s happening while they’re making this decision and so kind of being able to document as you go, but keep that real form of empathy and realizing what your customer is going through, and that’s where I think just, like, consistency on the other side, consistency in that interaction, and using your CRM to help you provide that to your customer is going to really help.

Anya:                And I think another great way you can use it with your backlog beyond the phone call reminder is, you could have automated milestone emails. For example, “Congratulations on a purchase of your home!” You don’t want to be rewriting that email over and over again and you don’t necessarily want to send it as a PDF attachment because there’s nothing more impersonal than receiving something that’s clearly, you use for every single customer.

Anya:                So, again, if you use it as a copy-paste directly into an email saying, “Congratulations, so excited for you. That’s what you can expect over the next few months as we go through the  construction process.” Then, another email that you can have them go out is mortgage email. If they’re getting financing. Maybe reminding them, “Hey, it’s been ten days. During this timeframe, we ask that you applied for a financing. This is the information that you’ll need to provide to your lender in order to, get everything approved,” and providing, support and a reminder so that they’re thinking like, “Oh, you know what? The week got away from me and I didn’t have a chance to do this. I really should go ahead and do that now.”

Abbie:              Absolutely. Next steps for your design center appointment, what to expect. You know, putting all of that together and then have it sitting there and ready to go, is just going to improve that communication and that engagement.

Anya:                Yes, that’s huge and if you think about it as a sales rep, it makes you look like you’re on top of it. “My God, she’s so good!” And meanwhile, it’s automated or copy and paste.  I love that the right CRM can really help you, not only with prospecting and converting customers, but also with managing the backlog and then, again, once they become your customer and they settle on the home and they get the key, once again, you can also use the CRM if you don’t have an online consultant to continue that relationship and stay in touch because, in the future, they can be an excellent source of referrals or, depending on how long they’re going to stay in that home. If it’s a town home, they may be moving on to a single family home just in a short few years, so it’s definitely important to keep on staying in touch with them.

Anya:                So, Abbie, you’ve been in sales, you did the training, you’ve done it all. You’ve been a sales manager. So what were some of the books that you either read during your time in the business, or that you recently read that you think would be a great fit for a salesperson?

Abbie:              One of my all-time favorite books that I think applies to sales in particular is The Seven Habits. And I know that that is old school, but I would recommend The Seven Habits to everybody and then the one that follows which is The Eighth Habit, which is all about how you take all of that energy and everything you’ve learned and you project it on to others so that they can be better and do more.

Abbie:              Another one of my favorite books is called You Are A Badass.

Anya:                You’re A Badass?

Abbie:              Have you ever heard of it?

Anya:                I think I have. Do you remember who the author is?

Abbie:              It’s Jen … Sicerio? Jen Sincero. Sorry. I actually keep a little tiny … I have a mini-book version that I keep on my desk that reminds me and looks at me everyday and says, “You are a badass.”

Abbie:              So that’s a great book that is all about self-motivation. I think that the more I read books on … You know, you’re out there on an island when you’re in a model home and, sometimes, you need a lot of that “I can do this” self-motivation and thinking outside of the box and outside of the industry kind of really helped me bring it back into the industry, more so than really focusing on sales books and sales tactics.

Anya:                Definitely. And speaking of being on an island, you guys, I just wanted to remind you that we now have a Facebook group. So you don’t have to feel like you’re on an island. The idea is that it’s like a sales meeting every single day. You can ask questions. If you’re dealing with a difficult prospect, go in, type in your question, and see if we can, as a combined mind, come up with a genius plan for you and also help you celebrate the wins. It definitely is true. You feel like that you’re on an island and sometimes nothing worse like it, right? So if this could provide a little bit of a support for everyone.

Anya:                And, Abbie, I know you’re going to be biased, but besides excellent CRM, what are some of your favorite tools that you’ve used, either as a sales rep or you’re using now, that really help you be your best?

Abbie:              I embrace technology, so the iPad. I saw you’ve definitely brought that up before in some of your prior posts and podcasts, but I think the iPad’s a phenomenal tool to keep your organized, to engage a customer, to keep those notes, to mark up a floor plan right there as you’re talking about it, and then save it as a PDF and be able to email it to them. So I think that’s a great tool.

Anya:               I did an entire episode on how to use iPad to help you sell more homes with Alex Ercole, if you want to check it out.

Abbie:              Otherwise, I think, honestly, knowledge. Knowledge of the business, knowledge of building a home and the relationships you build with your construction and purchasing team. I used to walk around with a huge binder that had everything that I needed in it and, you know, being able to put that into something like an iPad is obviously a great tool. But, otherwise, it was just being able to engage with people and know my product and answer questions quickly and think on my feet because, obviously, I think a CRM is super important and I’m a big believer in all the tools but, at the end of the day, I am still the believer in the human connection in what we do.

Abbie:              And you have to be able to connect with these people and show them how you are going to make their lives better and help their families and the more that you can get yourself in a place to do that, then the tools are secondary.

Anya:                Absolutely. I’m 100% with you on that. It’s all about relationships and if the tools can help us build those relationships, more power to us. And you know what? If you’re listening to this and you’re thinking, “Well, I work for a company that has a prehistoric CRM and they’re not willing to spend the money on an iPad for my model, so what am I supposed to do?  It’s up to you to make those changes.

Anya:                So if you think about iPad, you can get a refurbished iPad on Amazon. Yeah, maybe it’s going to cost you a few hundred bucks, but think about it as an investment in yourself. Same thing with the CRM.  There’s a bunch of CRMs out there that you could use as an individual contributor and, yeah, maybe it’ll double up some of your work but, again, you can use that CRM that provides everything you need and then you can simply input all of that into your company’s CRM if they’re not willing to make your life easier because, remember, if you can use those tools, invest it in yourself and if you’re not willing to invest in yourself, how can you expect other people to invest in you?

Anya:                Sometimes, you’ve got to be a badass and take the steps that you need to make to make it happen. If you don’t, then who will? So, just something to think about, that you can always take those steps even if your company is not willing to do that for you because if you can be consistent, you can be better and get better income. It’s a win-win, so that iPad will probably pay for itself in half a sale. Not even half a sale.

Abbie:              Right? Not even.

Anya:                Yes. You know, you’re rich, so … You can afford a little iPad!  And, Abbie, lastly, where can people connect with you if we want to learn more about what you do and the services that your company provides and, maybe, I’m a sales manager who’s all ears now and I want to see if I can implement this for my team. Where can we connect with you? Where do you hang out online or what’s the best place?

Abbie:              I would say LinkedIn is probably the best place to find me. I love to write and share all about CRMs and time management and new home sales. You can also head to our website, which is We have an entire section for homebuilders specifically within our website and you can connect with me there. And I also hang out on Facebook and Twitter. I love being involved in those conversations and helping salespeople in all aspects of their jobs and roles, so definitely, whatever it is, reach out.

Abbie:              And one of the things we love to do is just talk, talk to team members and talk to companies and look at what they have. We’re a consulting firm, so it’s not just about, “Hey, we want to sell you a software or get the softwares set up,” but we can come in and look at what you’re currently doing and how you can get more out of it and kind of help engage with you on your entire journey for your sales systems, so I would love the opportunity to connect.

Anya:                Speaking of the articles, you guys will love the articles that Abbie has written. I mean, I was reading them and I was literally  laughing to myself because I thought, “Oh, my gosh. Abbie, you’re in my head.” The way you talk is the way you write and I love that, so it’s very easy to read and also funny!

Anya:                Well, Abbie, I thank you so much for being on the show today. I appreciate your time and knowledge that you shared with the listeners and I’m sure I will talk to you soon.

Abbie:              Awesome. Thank you so much. I appreciate being on. It was great talking to you.

Anya:                Thanks. Bye.

Want to learn more?  Check out my free Master Class-Effortless Follow Up where I’ll teach you my tips and tricks to get more sales while being more consistent.

Attend Homebuilders Leadership Summit on August 16 2018 in Scottsdale, AZ.  Collaborate with industry experts and peers on best practices and unique challenges including:

–  Optimizing your CRM
–  CRM as a foundation – building up
–  Sales “process” and Sales Management – 2018
–  Training and Adoption

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