How a Real Estate Broker Uses Automation to Reduce Follow-Up Time by 90%

Joey Blanco
Joey Blanco / July 10, 2018

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"Zapier, I learned, should've been my first route, because it makes the communication between the two apps work in a cinch."Jonathon Kerester, managing broker, Realty Investment Advisors

In the real estate market, it's not just location, location, location that matters. Good leads and a quick response are just as valuable to a real estate agent as a prime location. A smart response strategy could mean you're the first real estate agent they hear from, even if they shop around.

With app automator Zapier handling initial follow-ups and lead management, Jonathon Kerester, Realty Investment Advisor's managing broker, found a way to reduce cold calling by 75%—and connects with leads 90% faster.

About Realty Investment Advisors

Realty Investment Advisors (RIA) is a group of real estate brokers and agents across northern Virginia, suburban Maryland, and the D.C. metro area. They collaborate with each other, sharing resources and infrastructure. Each agent or broker has their niche, whether in downtown DC for businesses or in suburbs for families.

For the folks behind RIA, making a fast connection with their clients increases the odds of closing a deal. The connections Jonathon created within Zapier fuel their business and keep him and the team free to focus on their clientele.

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Jonathon's journey to Zapier is common to many. He wanted to connect two apps—email marketing tool MailChimp, and customer support tool Zendesk—so that as leads subscribed to specific newsletters or updated their profile with RIA, a new Zendesk ticket was filled out, showing that change.

He dug into MailChimp and Zendesk, and attempted to create a connection with webhooks. His workflow wasn't supported, which sent Jonathon looking for a better way to connect these apps.

"When I couldn't get MailChimp and Zendesk to communicate after days of trying, my last resort was Zapier," said Jonathon. After digging in, Jonathon wished he had started with Zapier.

In Zapier's dashboard, he connected MailChimp and Zendesk to each other with a few clicks, building multiple Zaps—our word for automated workflows—to send lead information and updates to Zendesk.

From there, he explored, adding Zaps to share new campaigns on social media, create tickets from text messages, and manage new leads in project manager, Trello. Before he knew it, Zapier dramatically cut the time it took the RIA team to follow up on leads by 90%.

Realty Investment Advisors' Tools

Icon: App: Used For:
Zendesk Zendesk Customer support
RingCentral RingCentral SMS & phone calls
MailChimp MailChimp Email marketing
Trello Trello Project management
Slack Slack Team chat

The Workflows

Since Jonathon uses Zendesk as a hub for RIA's leads, his most important Zaps send new MailChimp subscriber information to Zendesk. This was the workflow he originally set out to create and now with Zapier, he has a Zap for each of his MailChimp newsletters so they can be properly categorized in Zendesk.

New subscribers and subscription updates trigger these Zaps, which in turn creates tickets in Zendesk. Since the tickets match up with a customer, Jonathon uses Zendesk almost as a customer relationship manager, building a contact history for each client.

Once the Zaps create tickets, a few more workflows trigger. With the ticket's information, Zapier adds a new Trello card to a specific list for new leads. Within that Trello board, the RIA team can move leads to different lists, depending on their current status—Open, Pending, Closed—and they can add comments and details as needed after showing off properties.

Zapier also sends Slack notifications for new Zendesk tickets, which keeps the entire team in-the-know about new leads, clients, and what type of property they're after. A quick glance at Slack and each agent and broker will know whose lead it is, based on location and property type.

And with RingCentral, new text messages become Zendesk tickets, where they can be associated with existing leads. If the text is from a lead-generating service not connected to Zapier, the Zap still creates a new ticket, adding a link back to the lead source.


"Zapier cuts my cold calling time by 75% and cuts my follow-up on old leads by 90%"Jonathon Kerester, managing broker, Realty Investment Advisors

These Zaps, while simple, take the manual work off Jonathon's plate. That opens the floodgates for productivity: He spends more time showing off properties, meeting clients, writing contracts, and closing transactions—all the things he got into the real estate industry to do.

Want to reduce the time it takes to follow-up with leads? Give Zapier a try for free.

All images courtesy of Realty Investment Advisors.

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