I recently made the executive decision to throw my Palm Pre Smart Phone out the window (okay, not literally, but I was tempted) and go back to having two devices - a simple LG flip phone (that WORKS) and a Blackberry Curve (that WORKS)!
Yes, I will now have two mobile phone bills every month (although it turns out it's only about $10 more) and will have to tote around two different devices everywhere I go, but OMG! I'm seriously deliriously happy now that I have a phone that WORKS (I can actually HEAR people talking and they can hear me - what a concept!) AND a mobile data device that does exactly what I want it to do, perfectly!
The Palm Pre, while a fancy-looking little piece of machinery, did neither. The phone (sorry) sucked and the email/data functions didn't always work right. Not to mention the fact that I was already on my 5th replacement device since March, which has been enormously time-consuming and frustrating. I can't help but wonder what will happen to all these Palm Pre's out there on the market when their one-year warranties run out and their owners are stuck in a two-year contract...
Anyway, the lesson I learned was that sometimes One Size Doesn't Fit All. That it might be much more efficient to simply find the BEST tool or system or program for the job, that does the job excellently instead of trying to find one tool or system or program that does it all, but does it all mediocre-ly.
For example - Contact Management. Most contact management systems claim to do everything a busy real estate agent could possibly need them to do. Manage contacts, monitor dates & deadlines, send out cards and letters, send out email and eNewsletters, create drip campaigns, provide a website, set showings, request feedback, do the dishes...
But I'm guessing that many of these additional features (beyond simple contact management) function marginally well at best. Or not even. Which is going to create enormous frustration for the agent who just wants to get the jobs done... and done well.
Not to mention the frustration the poor agent has just trying to figure out which system: 1) fits into his budget; 2) syncs with his particular smart phone, email program and/or operating system; 3) is relatively easy to learn; 4) allows hassle-free import or export of data; 5) offers good customer service; 6) is robust enough to grow with his busness, while 6) being relatively easy to learn (yep, that's an intentional repeat) and 7) fits into his budget (ditto).
I wish I could close out this blog with firm recommendations on the Best Product for Each of Your Needs, but I'm still on the hunt myself. Personally, I use Outlook Express (now Windows Live Mail) for my personal email, Constant Contact for my mass emails and Aweber for my registration and assignment-based products. If I were selling real estate full-time I'd probably use Top Producer for contact and contract management.
Anyone else have some function-specific tools they'd like to recommend over the All-In-One's?