TECHNOLOGY—FRIEND OR FOE?

By
Education & Training with The Lones Group, Inc.
The Lones Group, Inc.

TECHNOLOGY—FRIEND OR FOE?

Have you ever wondered why some real estate agents who have never embraced technology are out there dominating their marketplaces?  Meanwhile, you have every “gidget and gadget” out there, but you’re still not selling as much as they are. 

Have all these gadgets really helped you to make more money?  The answer depends on how you use them.  For example, do you really think your client cares if you have a Palm Pilot?  Or a fancy laptop?  Actually, most sellers will tell you that they don’t prefer a listing presentation done on a laptop.

Are your gadgets directly benefiting you or your client?  Potential sellers aren’t going to race to sign the listing agreement just because you tell them you have an All-in-One device with MLS listing accessibility.  On the other hand, your private “Client Only” viewing area on your website directly benefits them, helping you make more sales. 

There are two extreme types of technology people: Those who love it and those who hate it.  You’ve got to get somewhere in the middle.  If you spend too much time on the computer with your “gidgets and gadgets,” then you’re having a love affair with technology and not with your client base.

Today’s client—now more than ever—wants your personal attention.  They are sick of bad service and want more from you than e-mails.  The personal call, the package in the mail, and the occasional “live” visit is what they crave.

Get off the computer and start building real life relationships!  Techno-phobic real estate agents dominate their marketplaces with their personalities.  They don’t embrace technology—they embrace their clients! 

But in our techno-obsessed world, you can’t survive without knowing what you do need.   If you don’t use technology to your benefit, the marketplace will leave you far behind.  The solution is to take it one small step at a time.  Do not go out and buy every latest and greatest invention.  Think about what you really need rather than something that’s just a techno toy. 

For example, I am a technology instructor for the Washington Association of Realtors.  I am well versed in the latest applications of technology for realtors, but I still use a good ol’ paper notepad instead of a Palm Pilot.  Why?  Because I just love writing on paper and frankly, that annoying screen tap dancing drove me nuts.  Some people are shocked to find out that I am not completely “wired” with gadgets.  I get by just fine, thank you very much. 

However, the tools I wouldn’t be without are my e-stationery, e-postcards, and my “Client Only” viewing area.   My clients love to view things I send them by going directly to a private viewing area rather than having me clog up their e-mail with large files.  This is an example of a tool that genuinely helps clients.

The key to creating your technology plan is to think about what tools will help you and what will directly benefit and help your clients.  Discard the rest.

Examples of technology tools that help you are:

  • Palm Pilots
  • Laptop computers
  • Desktop computers
  • Contact management programs (such as ACT! or Microsoft Outlook)
  • Microsoft Publisher!  (for your flyers)
  • All-in-One devices with MLS listing accessibility.

Examples of technology tools that help your clients are:

  • Your website
  • Your “Client-Only” section on your website
  • Graphic design software that makes their house look good
  • E-stationery and E-postcards that feature their home
  • Regular real estate-related mailings sent on a consistent basis.  (Yes, I consider this technology because of the resources you need to successfully execute a regular mail campaign.)

The one technology item that people either love or hate is the All-In-One device that combines your cell phone, Palm Pilot, and connects to the MLS.  Many agents are not big fans of it because it’s clunky, complicated, and if you lose it—you lose everything all at once.

I would also avoid too much e-mail.  People don’t love e-mail, especially photographs of houses that take up a lot of space in their e-mail system.  Instead, why not consider a link in your e-mail  that directs them to a web page where you have the pictures of the houses for sale? 

Whatever you do…consider your own personality.  You know if you’re a techno-geek or a techno-phobe.  If you’re a techno-geek, get off the computer and connect with people.  If you’re a techno-phobe, take your time to master one gadget or program before moving on to the next one. 

As you adapt to technology, it is also important to have fun!  Don’t try to master tools in a rush or when you need it most.  Take it one small step at a time and never forget why you are doing this—to increase your business and to improve your client care.

Denise Lones

Denise Lones CSP, MIRM The founding partner of The Lones Group, Denise Lones, brings over two decades of experience in the real estate industry. With expertise in strategic marketing, business analysis, branding, new home project planning, product development, and agent/broker training, Denise is nationally recognized as the source for all things “real estate”.

Denise’s background in residential real estate sales and management includes an impressive list of awards. Using custom marketing campaigns and business development systems she personally created, she was consistently among the highest producing Realtors® in a marketplace of 3,000+ agents. Denise was the only agent in the State of Washington to be awarded the esteemed MIRM designation – the top national achievement for new home marketing. In 2004, Denise was awarded the prestigious Hugh Hawkins Instructor of the Year Award by the Washington Association of Realtors.

As a columnist for isucceed.com, Realty Times, the National Association of Home Builders, and the Washington Association of Realtors, Denise has a strong “voice” in the real estate community.

Denise is a certified instructor for many prominent trade groups and educational institutions, including the Washington Association of Realtors, Master Builders Association, iSucceed.com, Washington State Department of Licensing, Windermere Real Estate, and the Washington State Housing and Finance Committee

With a passion for improvement, Denise has helped thousands of real estate agents, brokers, and managers build their business to unprecedented levels of success, while helping them maintain balance and quality of life.

 


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