Allen Hainge is a great technology instructor and connector of tech divas and wizards!
Here is one of his articles with some great resources!
Fact: agents who use today's technology to meet the needs of today's consumer make a better living and live better than agents who do not.
Fact: most agents do not use today's technology to meet the needs of today's consumer!
One reason why most agents do not use today's technology effectively is, I believe, that there is so much out there to choose from, too much. Agents are not sure what really works...and what does not. As an effort to help, here are the Top 10 tools used by my CyberStars®, 200+ top agents from the US, Canada, the Bahamas and Australia who use technology extensively in their businesses.
A personal Web site. Not a "real estate organization site" such as a franchise site or Realtor.com (you should have a presence on such sites, but you won't make money from them), but a template site you have extensively revised so that it is "yours" or a site done exclusively for you by an individual site designer. Your individual Web site is your extensive information repository for the consumer looking to buy or sell a home in your area. Hint: the last thing the consumer wants to find out about is you, so focus on the consumer's needs, not yourself.
A real estate specific database. Still running your business using Outlook? You can, but you are working too hard and making too little money by doing so. Outlook simply cannot do what Top Producer or Respond can do for your business. Their action plans tied to your calendar, complete (searchable) information on your listings or on what specific buyers are looking for, target marketing through searchable contact types and more, more, more mean that every agent serious about his or her business should be using one of these databases if they want to make more money, save more money and save more time.
A blog. Your Web site is your storehouse of information; your blog is the way you stay in touch with your Sphere of Influence on a regular basis, providing them with relevant information....and getting them to your Web site. See CyberStar(r) Brad Korn's blog here.
Fujitsu ScanSnap. So many uses, so much time saved...you gotta get one! See my recent blog post with comments by two CyberStars(r) on how they use this valuable tool here.
SnagIt. Inexpensive ($49) and so many ways to "snag" information from your computer screen that can make you money! See a listing in MLS that's perfect for an out-of-town buyer? Snag it, mark it up, send it as part of an email, not an attachment....simple!
Flip Digital Video Camera. Listing tours, area tours, relationship videos, networking videos, easily your videos to YouTube using Flip's built-in software...the uses are endless; the money-making possibilities are huge. An article I wrote on the Flip is here
Tablet PC. Thinking of getting a notebook? Get a tablet pc instead! Why? You can write on the screen (fill out contracts, draw floor plans, make notes, etc.) and with an "air card" you have complete mobility. It does everything a desktop or notebook can do...and more. An added benefit? The "Wow" factor that helps form a relationship with buyers or sellers.
Issuu. Do your flyer, listing presentation or any presentation in Word, Publisher, Excel or another program, save it as a pdf file and upload it to Issuu for free. The result is a great looking "eBook" that you can send prospects, buyers and sellers to.
Single Property Sites. Face it: too much listing information on the Web is plumb pitiful and weak! We are seeing more than one photo of a home more often these days, thankfully, but most agents have little else. Single property sites such as my favorite, Agency Logic Power Sites, show your listings to their best advantage. They are templates: you simply fill in the blanks, upload photos, virtual tours and documents and you have an impressive listing display. You will get more listings and sell more listings by using Agency Logic...guaranteed! See one of CyberStar(r) Leslie McDonnell's Agency Logic listings here.
Texting. I was at dinner with some agents in St. Croix after a day of teaching a CRS 206 last week. The talk got around to texting, and only two out of the six agents at the table could text. I turned to a nearby table of "thirty somethings" and asked them whether they preferred to be contacted by phone, email or text message. All four replied, "text," yet a majority of agents in my classes cannot text. Enough said?
I hope this list will help you decide on what technology you should be using in your business.
It's a great day here on the lake in Reston...hope it's a great day wherever you are, too!