As a real estate professional, there are things you may not be able to control, such as the market, and things you have partial control over, like how many leads you generate. One thing you have full control over? How you streamline your transactions.
Revamping your transaction management process can be key to your success in the industry. Just ask Trent Zimmer – lead agent with The Zimmer Real Estate Group. In 2017, the team had closed just over $5 million in volume. As they began adjusting their transaction process, they reached $14.2 million in 2018. In 2019, when the group exclusively implemented Keller Williams’ end-to-end operational system, Command, they grew to more than $22 million in closed volume. And today, with more than six months to go until the end of the year, the team is just shy of $20 million and on track to double last year’s count.
“What isn’t mentioned in those results is the amount of time I have gotten back to be a husband and father,” shares Trent. Joined by his wife and Zimmer group director of operations, Karissa, the pair shares their strategy for creating a smooth-running transaction pipeline with Command.
Leverage (and encourage) customization among your team:
As a small team, the Zimmer group has clearly defined parameters about their particular involvement within a transaction: Trent handles listings, two additional agents work on the buyer’s side, Karissa handles operations, and one additional staff member serves as both director of client experience plus transaction coordinator.
Within Command’s ‘Opportunities,’ team members are able to gauge the big picture of what everyone is working on while keeping track of deadlines specific to them. “Before, we would have to write in parentheses who is responsible for what,” Karissa shares. “What Command allows us to do is assign a person to a specific task and set a deadline.”
Within Command, the team has customized the buyer’s journey to be as follows:
- Cultivate stage: Three separate sections, broken down by expected length of time for when a lead will be ready to purchase (0-60 days, 60-180 days, 180+ days)
- Appointments stage: Scheduling (anyone who is in the process of scheduling a buyer’s consult), Scheduled (once the consultation is on the calendar), Not Signed (did not sign paperwork that day), and Active (for those who have signed)
- Active stage: Browsing MLS, Showing, Negotiation, Under Contract, and Close
In essence, the agent is only responsible for managing the Cultivate and Appointments stages. Once the transaction moves through the pipeline, the Under Contract and Close stages fall under operational jurisdiction.
“One of the things I really like is the Not Signed section, because it shows us who we really need to be following up with,” Trent says. “These are the people who have gone on appointments, expressed that they are ready to buy, but have not gone under contract yet. They are the ones we need to be focusing on.”
And, to complement the Command pipeline, Karissa builds out basic email templates that allow new agents to focus on transaction instead of tone. “If you went into Command and saw there is a checklist of action items for ‘Under Contract’ transactions, you would be able to leverage email templates I have created as a guide to send to the necessary parties,” she says. “You would just have to change dates, deadlines, and transaction-specific items.”
Organize your pipeline:
While the team does not use tags specifically related to the opportunities themselves, they do use them to quickly gauge database information. Here are the items they keep track of within Command:
- People with children: KIDS tag
- Past clients: PC tag
- Allied resources: AR tag
- Vendors: V tag (they also make sure to tag any unique skill sets, such as PLUMBER or MOLD)
Because the team’s current strategy involves consistent touches, they are also using DTD2 (or do the database two) tags. The ‘do the database two’ system involves calling two letters of the alphabet by last name each week, ensuring that they consistently have one-on-one conversations with everyone in the database.
Keep your focus on tech-enabled, physically enhanced:
During this shift, the team was able to secure 18 closings scheduled for the month of June. “That’s a reflection of all the activities we did,” Karissa says. “The pandemic ensured that we were going through tech first, then being physically enhanced, whatever that meant through the specific time.”
Karissa makes note of tools that, while available to the team, were not ingrained as everyday habits. One such tool is a home facts sheet that the team shares with potential sellers via Google Docs, which asks sellers to fill out a series of questions in order to ensure the home is better represented in marketing materials (example questions include ‘Will you be including the washer and dryer in the sale of your property?’ and ‘What schools are you currently zoned for?’). The team has also created a form which inquires about buyers’ preferences, such as what they cannot live without in their next home and the things they hope to avoid.
“We were so reliant on that human interaction and human contact,” Karissa shares. “Now we have all of these resources we had created before and have made them a part of the process. I’m really proud of how our team has pivoted.”