Okay, picking up from yesterday's blog about using contact management to Sell with Soul, let's talk today about creating reasonable expectations for your contract management system (aka CMS).
There's a natural desire among us human being types (‘specially us self-employed creatures) to be as efficient as we can with our money and our time, and, apparently, the space in our purses or pockets. Thus, the evolution of the All-in-One printer/scanner/fax/copier/sandwich-maker, the smart phone data device and yes, the contact management system.
I wrote a blog last month about how I tossed my Palm Pre smart phone out the window and went back to having two devices - one to make phone calls and one to handle emails when I'm on the road. After trying out several all-in-one devices that promised the world, I found that, fancy as they were, none of them did much of anything to my satisfaction. Once I fired back up my old LG flip phone and my vintage Blackberry Curve, my life improved exponentially. I've never looked back!
Well, I think it's the same with Contact Management. Most claim to provide a kitchen-sink level of features and services; from email management to newsletter creation to market snapshots to CMA's to contract preparation.
But I'm not impressed. All these extraneous features, in my experience, are clunky and imperfect. Yes, they will do newsletters, but, oh wait, the ability to track opens or include your fancy signature isn't available yet, but will be in the next upgrade "sometime next year!" Yes, it will create a CMA for you, but not in all markets and, no, that particular report isn't available, but will be in the next upgrade! Yada yada yada.
Here's the thing. We claim to be professionals; therefore, it only makes sense that we choose to use the BEST systems, tools and programs to run our businesses. And it's highly unlikely that one system, tool or program can possibly be the BEST at everything you need a system, tool or program to do for you.
A CMS is simply one tool to help you run your business, and, as described in yesterday's blog, it needs to do contact (and conTRACT) management Very Well. If you can find a CMS that you are happy with in those two areas, you're golden.
Don't expect it to do everything else for you - does a surgeon have only one-size scalpel? Does your family doctor only prescribe one drug? Does your hairstylist only have one pair of scissors?
No, and as professional real estate agents we should search out and commit to having the best tools and systems, both to build our businesses with and to serve the clients we're honored to be hired by.
If I were selling real estate today, here are the various tools/systems/programs I would have, all (or most) provided by different companies:
- Contract preparation software
- Remote document-signing software
- Off-line MLS software
- A contact manager to keep track of my SOI and manage my transactions
- A mass-email/newsletter program
- A CMA program
- A listing presentation "program" (this would just be Microsoft Word and Publisher)
- A Blackberry or other mobile data device
- A good cell phone, separate from the Blackberry
- An internet aircard, in addition to my cable internet at home
- A good printer
- A scanner (hopefully I could use the one at my office when I need high-level scanning capabilities)
- A GPS
- A website with IDX and lead capture
- A blog (or two or three or twelve)
Do all these systems/tools/programs cost money? Yep. Most anyway. Am I made of money? Nope. Not these days. But they are the tools of my trade, so it's my duty to have them.
And that's the subject of an upcoming blog - "But what if I can't afford...?!"
Until next time...!
THE CONTACT MANAGEMENT WITH SOUL SERIES
Part I - The Unanswered Questions
Part II - The Two Things a Contact Manager Should Do Very Well
Part III - Creating Reasonable Expectations for Your Contact Manager
Part IV - "But I Can't Afford a Contact Management System!"
Part V - Contact Management Pays for Itself - if you use it!
Part VI - Which System do I Recommend?