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Chime CRM gets overhauled, offers tons of new features without upping prices

(MARKETING) Chime CRM is the new kid on the block – what have they done to deserve enthusiasm? Turns out, it’s quite a lot.

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chime crm

Chime is seriously beefy

Chime CRM’s tagline, “ring in the sales” couldn’t be more fitting as they roll out an array of new features that enrich their offering. The best part? They didn’t roll out a new “pro” version, but they could have with the massive suite of options and redesign they’ve crafted for all users. Nice.

In case you’re not familiar, Chime is like a CRM that swallowed a giant bottle of steroid pills – not too much to die from, but enough to be ridiculously beefy. They’re a CRM, IDX website provider, lead generation management suite, and a team management tool, all designed to make an agent or broker’s professional life infinitely more streamlined.

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Still under a year old, the company has already undergone a major overhaul. What all has changed? We got an exclusive look under the hood:

1. A major aesthetic change

The first, and most obvious change to Chime is the user interface (UI) updates – it’s much cleaner, and better organized so your eye lands in the most relevant spots more quickly.

The dashboard puts your leads front and center, even offering a visual alert for how many new leads have accumulated since your last login. It has a separate breakout for your follow ups, which even pulls in consumers’ browsing behaviors which Chime’s Matt Murphy calls a “rich lead record.”

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At a glance, users can now see the state of their business leads coming in, down to the individual team member. You can see appointments, tasks, and your automated action plan easily.

Murphy says the reporting interface upgrades were inspired by a napkin drawing that Kenny Truong, Fast Agent scribbled as he asked to be able to see the “health” of his business at a glance.

The new interface helps brokers and team leaders to better coach their agents – you can see that Agent A made seven calls last week which have yielded two leads, while Agent B made zero calls. Why? Instant coaching opportunity.

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Murphy also let us peek at some of the new IDX website templates (like this one), and they’re actually pretty good.

2. Complete overhaul of settings

One of the newest functions is lead routing, wherein you can now “round robin” your leads so no opportunity is lost.

One of the most innovative functions is easily their drip campaigns which can be automated down to the referral source.

For example, you could set Chime up to email a welcome note specifically to any lead from Zillow, and send them weekly updates that feature your top picks from Zillow since they obviously prefer that source.

Real estate practitioners often say “hi, welcome from Zillow, now please go to my website and my website only, forever and ever, amen.” No more going against the grain and hindering your chances of speaking a lead’s language.

3. That new Open House app, though

There are already third party Open House apps that are amazing, but if you use Chime, it’s worth checking out their built-in Open House app.

Pop open an iPad, Open House visitors will sign in and be asked five questions (and they can see their progress at the bottom so they know you’re not bugging them for their blood type, mother’s maiden name, or infinite questions).

That data is then sent to your Chime dashboard and all grouped together so you can batch follow up notes effortlessly.

4. Integrations out the ying yang

We got a chance to peek into the backend, and we noticed a lot of new logos. Murphy confirmed that Chime integrations now include Zapier and MailChimp so they can all talk to each other to improve the real estate workflow.

We also got the scoop that later this year, they’ll be integrating services that send out handwritten thank you notes to clients, direct mail integrations, and even send out personalized videos in emails.

5. SMS campaigns sent from your dashboard

New to Chime is virtual numbers that allow users to drip market via text messages. Of course you don’t gain the same sort of click data that you would through an email campaign, but it is yet another way to speak a consumer’s language and meet them where they are.

Giving agents the steering wheel

By the end of the year, they’ll add a broker suite that will give multiple permission levels offer subdomains, users will soon be able to track the ROI of their ad spends, and reporting will get even more bells and whistles to give more insight into any pipeline.

Murphy summarizes the updates as improving your workflow management, which almost all other industries do flawlessly. “So why not real estate? They deserve amazing technologies,” the tech industry veteran asserts.

“We help to automate everything but give agents the steering wheel, allowing them to stay in control,” Murphy concludes.

#ChimeCRM

Lani is the Chief Operating Officer at The Real Daily and sister news outlet, The American Genius, and has been named in the Inman 100 Most Influential Real Estate Leaders several times, co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH and Austin Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.

Real Estate Marketing

Income verification startup makes common ground for property managers and tenants

(REAL ESTATE MARKETING) Income verification startup, The Closing Docs, gives property managers and tenants objective communication tools during economic crisis.

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Calculator sitting on top of 20 US dollars ready for income verification.

For property management companies who want to better understand the capacity of their tenants to pay rent during the pandemic, The Closing Docs is a startup hoping to help.

The Closing Docs is an income verification company using automated income verification with three simple steps: Collect, Confirm, and Share. Currently 3 years in, the company supports income verification to lender offering vehicle loans and more than 700,000 landlord-managed units. This system is intended to significantly compress vacancy periods and underwriting cycles, resulting in applicants being approved in minutes rather than days or weeks.

The Closing Docs was co-founded by Mark Fiebig, a serial entrepreneur and investment property manager, and Stephen Arifin, a former engineer at Microsoft. They say that what sets them apart is that they have remained laser focused on one very specific, difficult problem in a giant market. The co-founders described when inspiration hit, “The ah-ha moment came when realizing potential customers kept telling us the same thing: They were waiting days for applicants to submit required information. A good market is more important than a good product. When you have both, you’ve struck gold.”

Fiebig said, “Because we offer instant access to up-to-the-minute income history, we are not only supporting applicant approval decisions and existing tenant renewal considerations, we are also giving property managers and tenants a tool to objectively communicate about current income status. Our data provided to both parties supports these negotiations in constructive ways.” The company claims that in some cases, using The Closing Docs decreases processing time (~30%) for rental applications and increases funding rates (~15%) for loans.

This works by the software connecting to the bank accounts of the applicants and analyzing their deposit history. It then organizes that data into an income report. Income screenings can be a standalone service or be integrated into an online rental application. Income reports provide a net income summary of an applicant, summarizing key metrics such as Annual Net Income and Monthly Net Income.

The Closing Docs pricing starts at $10.00 as a one-time payment, per user. There is a free version trial and they support workflows where either the applicant or the decision maker can pay the $10 report fee.

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Real Estate Marketing

Right to be forgotten: should our internet past be erasable?

(REAL ESTATE MARKETING) With the infinite memory of the internet ever present, can or should your right to be forgotten exist or is memory the key?

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right to be forgotten

They say that everyone deserves a second chance – but with the Internet creating a permanent record of so many of our actions, it’s quite possible that mistakes from the past could come back to haunt us for years to come. Recent high-profile examples have included Kevin Hart stepping down from hosting the Oscars over homophobic tweets from years gone by, or Representative Katie Hill being forced to resign after her ex-husband leaked compromising revenge porn photos to conservative news sites.

Several countries around the world have varying degrees of success or failure implementing the “right to be forgotten” – that is, the legal right for people to ask for information about themselves to be removed from search engines.

The right to be forgotten is controversial. On one hand, victims of revenge porn and other slanders, like Katie Hill, have very little recourse to repair the ongoing damage to their careers and reputations. Others feel that people with a criminal record, especially for nonviolent and petty crimes, shouldn’t have to answer for their past mistakes forevermore.

Others argue that allowing people to remove information about their past infringes upon freedom of expression and could lead to censorship and the ability for history to be inaccurately rewritten.
In the United States, we lean towards the right of the public to access information. However, in countries around the world, the right be forgotten is gaining a foothold. For example, the European Data Protection Directive protects the right to be forgotten by requiring search engines to provide a process whereby a person can ask for links about them to be removed.

In fact, Google has entire Advisory Council dedicated to making such decisions by weighing the harm done to the individual against the rights of the public to know. As of 2014, Google has removed over a million URLs from its search results (webpages aren’t expunged from the internet – just from the search engine listings, making sites difficult, but not impossible to find).

Some of the decisions have been controversial, such as a case where a doctor had removed links to articles about malpractice in his past. Nonetheless, many countries feel that the right to be forgotten should be protected, and in recent years France has put pressure on Google to remove contentious links not only from Google Europe, but from all of its search engines internationally.

In the United States, there’s not much legal precedent for the “right to be forgotten.” So what should you do if you really want to erase incriminating links about yourself?

First of all, if you are a victim of revenge porn – don’t worry you’re not alone. Organizations like Cyber Civil Rights, Without My Consent, and BADASS Army can help guide you through the steps to get the content removed, deal with the emotional damage, and potentially take legal action, as posting revenge porn is against the law in many states.

And what if you want to vanish from the web just because? Lifehacker has a pretty comprehensive guide on how to “wipe your existence from the Internet.” This includes making private or completely deleting your social media accounts, emailing websites and asking them to take your name down, and opting out of people search sites. They even recommend a paid service called Delete Me who will, for a price, troll the Internet on an ongoing basis for content about you.

For now, there’s not much legal protection in the U.S. for the right to be forgotten and erasing something once it’s been posted may or may not work. We can’t necessarily control what reporters, public records, and exes say about us online – but we at least start by being careful with our own content and thinking twice before posting.

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Real Estate Marketing

Non-profit employs at-risk-youth and veterans to transform prisons into sustainable farms

(REAL ESTATE MARKETING) Restorative justice can be a hard concept to understand. To see it working in real life, look no further than Growing Change in Scotland County, NC.

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Throughout the summer, we’ve been having honest and urgent discussions about systemic disenfranchisement, policing, and punishment in our society. These issues affect nearly everybody and everything, even down to what we eat. Grocery stores, for example, are a rarity in lots of impoverished or densely urban areas. Places like this, without accessible sources of affordable and nutritious food, are called “food deserts”.

Multiple studies have indicated that without proper nutrition, children have more difficulty in school. Poor performance in school, in turn, is widely considered by juvenile courts to be a predictor of future criminal behavior, which influences the severity of the punishments that are handed down to young offenders. In other words, statistically speaking, growing up in a food desert may have a negative impact on the rest of a child’s life.

Since these problems are fundamentally related, the solutions could be tied together, too. That’s one of the ideas behind Growing Change, a non-profit farm and educational center located in Scotland County, North Carolina. Scotland is one of North Carolina’s poorest counties, with the highest rates of unemployment and food insecurity in the state.

Growing Change simultaneously addresses these problems and more, targeting food injustice in the Scotland County area while educating at-risk youth about sustainable farming practices, and connecting them with mentorship from wounded veterans returning from deployment. Their goal is to “flip” abandoned prisons across the state, turning Brownfield sites into clean, green farms while providing entrepreneurial opportunities for youth and vets.

In a statement from 2015, they explain that “North Carolina is one of the last two states in which youth are adjudicated as adults for all charges at age 16. By the time some 16 year-olds arrive in the courts they are permanently limited in their employment due to their ‘adult’ criminal record. We will help break this cycle by offering the courts, schools and communities ways of diverting youth from the criminal justice system.”

And they get results, too: Their unique Clinical Pilot Program in 2011 showed 92% efficacy in preventing recidivism among participants.

Skill building and personal development is instrumental, not just for teens and young adults, but for anyone to avoid or remove themselves from the dire life circumstances that drive crime rates. I have personally witnessed the power of this model – my former employer, YR Media, teaches classes in multimedia literacy and production skills to achieve the same ends in Oakland, California. When we help people to grow outside of negative roles and situations, more often than not, they happily do.

Growing Change began just under ten years ago, yet their mission is especially relevant now. The pandemic has only amplified the systemic injustices our country has been facing, long before George Floyd’s death transformed the world.

Effective solutions become almost an afterthought in debates about over imprisonment in the US, even though global statistics speak for themselves: The United States accounts for only 4% of the global population, yet is responsible for roughly 20% of the world’s prisoners.

Restorative justice can be a hard concept to understand due to our cultural notions about crime, and it’s impossible to have a full understanding without concrete examples of how these concepts work in real life. This non-profit is demonstrating a clear, creative vision for how we might build connections that nourish us all, from the ground up.

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