A couple of months ago Joeann Fossland asked me some questions about what part technology plays in my business. The answer is…Huge!
One of the advantages of working solo is that I only have to plan for my own needs. This way I can react to not only what's happening in my market but also in the very important rest of my life with family and friends. I'm a believer in living in the moment – this doesn't mean I don't plan, but it's not the top of the list. When it comes to technology I react to what I need, not what new technogadget is coming out next.
With this approach, of course, I don't budget for technology. "Budget" indicates a plan for spending – I don't do that. I have a good idea of my regular expenses so I'm comfortable that I can decide if a new technology tool is a good choice financially. It really is driven by what I need to give my clients better service.
The question to ask yourself is not, "What can this technology tool do for me?" You should be asking, "What do I need help with? What's slowing me down or making it hard for me to accomplish? What’s wasting my time?" Once you know where the bottleneck in your day is, then you can look for a tool that will help you around it. It's very easy to be seduced by the "gee whiz" features of computers and cameras and phone/PDA's. But if you have to wrestle with the tool to get what you need, it's not helping.
We are realtors – we list and sell houses. That's what we do best, and I believe in delegating tasks that slow that down; I delegate a lot to technology. The "must-haves" for me are my tablet PC, my Treo phone/PDA, and a compact digital camera. One other tool I have carried for years is a laser measuring tape for quick and easy room measurement.
I think every agent needs a professional and informative web site that is easy to understand and navigate. It's important to give clients what they're looking for without being intrusive and demanding that the visitor give up personal information to get help. And like most tech-savvy Realtors, I've recently added a blog that I update frequently so there's always something new and interesting to keep people coming back.
There's one bit of technology that maybe others wouldn't need but I absolutely have to have – the GPS in my car. With everything else I'm keeping track of, I don't have to be concerned about maps or getting directions – I punch in the address and go.
All of these tools suit my style. I work solo – no assistants and no associates – because I believe it's important to give that level of personal service to my clients. This means I have to work smarter, and the technology tools help me do that.