Max Black is the Co-founder of Max Black Real Estate, one of Orange County’s most successful real estate partnerships. With Adam Alcaraz, they have over 30 years experience and over a quarter billion in closed transactions.
OCcollective has built their business by focusing on professional and quality client services. Recently partnered with Coldwell Banker, OCcollective is now focusing on accelerating their growth and providing even more opportunities for their clientele.
Max has been using Daylite since 2012 to track leads, close transactions and as a CRM. We interviewed him to find out how he is using Daylite to help win more business and keep his business growing.
What sets your real estate firm apart from the rest?
Max: Honestly, Daylite. When trying to sell a property there is so much information and daily tasks it can be overwhelming. Daylite gives us the ability to store everything in one place so as a team we work more effectively. We don’t have to worry about giving the customer a bad experience because of things falling through the cracks.
If a property isn’t selling you and the client can discuss what the problem is. Instead of guessing the reasons, we can go back to the client with all the steps taken and all the feedback to isolate the reason why. This can be really helpful when discussing lowering a price with a client because we can go step by step and show how hard we have been working for them.
Before using Daylite what problems did you have?
Max: The biggest problem was losing out on opportunities down the road. Being in real estate, we are constantly trying to build our contact list but rarely is someone ready to sell or buy a home when you first meet. Since we never had a good way to follow up and we’d end up working them to death the right away, If they weren’t ready they’d fall off the map.
When did you realize that you needed a better solution?
Max: When I switched over to Mac. There were a lot of CRM apps for the Mac, but whenever I found one it didn’t have all the features the Windows version had. Daylite, being designed for and so deeply integrated into the Mac eco system, made me super happy.
What first impressed you about Daylite?
Max: Realizing that Daylite is a lot more than just a contact and calendar management app. Daylite gave me the ability to connect the dots between everything and see how one thing leads to another.
I continue to see wow moments as we use Daylite. Me and my team improve and streamline our processes making us more effective and efficient.
Do you find that you are able to improve your processes with Daylite?
Max: Constantly. In real estate, most of the time processes are just in your head. You get a new listing you need to get a for sale sign, a photographer and a million other things I want to do but I am not sure when I am going to do them. With Daylite I can see everything, it’s tangible. We can see which tasks go in what order, like things you need to do for an open house. We can see some tasks aren’t really needed to be done before the open house and change it in Daylite. Now we can be that much more effective on the very next open.
What are some specific workflows you’ve created in Daylite?
Max: The one that I really like and so easy to do is using Activity Sets to manage how I follow up with someone. I can literally meet someone, get their name and information about them add it to Daylite, slap an Activity Set on them and I don’t have to think about them or worry about them falling through the cracks. I don’t have to worry “was I supposed to follow up with John today or was that next week?” Instead, Daylite will send me a reminder automatically when I need to reach out and it will tell me how. I can then send them a message from one of my letter templates and it’s all taken care of. I am covered 3 months, 6 months, a year. I have one that goes as far back as 10 years.
How does this workflow help you?
Max: I can always be focused on what is in front of me and I don’t have to worry about the things I need to do later on down the road. I can work effectively and have the confidence that our processes will be followed through. I can spend more time on something else or work on something more creative. I love that.
What does your tracking process look like in Daylite?
Max: Once we have a buyer who is shopping for a house, I create an opportunity. We do the same for someone looking to sell and we are marketing their property. Once either goes into escrow, we turn them into projects. Throughout this whole processes, we use pipelines extensively for each circumstance.
There is just so much that we do to market and sell a home. We have each stage as a week, and we advance the pipeline every week which spits out like, 15 more tasks that we need to do to market the home.
Once they are in escrow, there is a lot that needs to be done and followed up with on time. Inspections, appraisals, doing repairs– Daylite helps us manage all that. Missing a deadline can have a serious impact on our clients up to a sale being walked out on because we failed to do everything we needed. So these things are really important. Using Pipelines as a checklist for each stage gives us the motivation to move to the next stage. As we grow we can simply hand all our processes to new staff and tell them this is what they need to do. Their ability to become a better agent is dramatically ramped up.
How do you use Daylite to segment your leads?
Max: We use filters and Smart Lists a lot. Using forms we can gather a lot more information about our clients. I have a form that captures what they are looking for in specs for their house. Things like how many bedrooms, in what cities, at certain price ranges. Even stuff like, “It has to have a great view”. When I am out looking at properties from my sellers or just looking online, I can create a filter matching the qualities of these properties. I can see if any of my buyers are interesting in buying.
I’ve used this workflow to sell a property that was listed for over a million dollars with a single email. I came across a great deal and I created a filter with the specs. Five people matched so I emailed them all with details on the property. I got an email immediately with a buyer. This wasn’t even someone in contact with that frequently. It was the right timing and right house.
Do you find that this ability to target specific people is helpful to complete a transaction?
Max: Absolutely. Having relevant conversations with my clients is really helpful in building trust with my clients and also selling more. If I blast everyone with a $500,000 condo and it goes to someone who is only looking for a luxury home, they not going to be interested in that and wonder “why are you sending this to me?” But if I am more specific, I can contact people who are more apt to look at it and be interested, they will click on the email and hopefully, I’ve found a good match.
When reaching out with these leads, what workflow are you using? Is this by hand?
Max: I don’t write them by hand. I have many Letter Templates in Daylite, hundreds really and use them to email from Daylite right into Apple Mail. I also send mass emails with the Direct Mail plugin for things like my E-letter groups or charity and social groups. This way I can always be on message and send exactly the right thing to the right people.
Your database was migrated from Self-Serve to Cloud. How has this changed your Daylite experience?
Max: Daylite Cloud has been a game changer. Since we have multiple team members, being able to sync consistently is really important. If an inspector calls to change the date of an inspection, I need to know that when my assistant updates the calendar, me or my partner can see the change. With Daylite Self-Serve I had a Mac Mini which was ok, but it needed a lot of maintenance and troubleshooting, particularly for remote syncing. With Daylite Cloud my data is always synchronizing no matter where I go.
Has Daylite helped your team be more productive?
Max: Yes. We have somewhere around 10,000 contacts in our database and there is no way we could manage all them on our own. With Daylite, in particular, with the help of Activity Sets and Pipelines, we can spend less time thinking about clients and what we should do, and spend more time executing. Daylite helps us be better real estate agents. It helps us sell homes and find homes for our buyers better.
How much time does Daylite save you in a week?
Max: We are a team of 3 but for just me personally, Daylite helps me save about 8-10 hours a week.
How much has Daylite helped you increase sales?
Max: Probably around 30-40% but that number keeps growing. As our database grows and our processes improve, we just keep getting better.
Has Daylite helped your team collaborate better?
Max: Everyday. For example, we just added an assistant and when we get a new listing we start with the pre-listing work which is creating an opportunity and adding a Pipeline. A Pipeline can mean 30-40 different things that need to be done and my assistant can go through and start working right away on the things she needs to do. She also knows what me and my partner need to do and she can delegate those tasks right in Daylite.
One great thing we have found is that when she has a question about a task, she can write what the question is in the details section of a task and then delegate it to us. We can see it show up in Daylite and answer her question in the same task, and delegate it back. We don’t need to send things by text, we get so many emails already. Even when we are sitting right next to each other, I want it all in Daylite.
You mention Emails, how many do you get?
Max: I get around 100-200 per day.
Wow, do you find that you are overwhelmed with emails?
Max: No, not really. While I get a lot of emails I am able to handle these and usually only have 3-30 unread emails at a given time.
How do you manage that?
Max: I really focus on achieving Inbox Zero. With Daylite Mail Assistant, email management is a total game changer. If there is an email I get that I can do right away, sure I’ll do that. But if not, I add it to Daylite and create a task for it so when I am ready to go through my Task list it is right there. This helps me clear out my Inbox.
Would you recommend Daylite to others in real estate?
Max: Yes, I do all the time. A lot of CRMs are built specifically for real estate and they are working well for people but for me, Daylite just aesthetically looks better and has more sophistication than the competition.