Using technology effectively is a low cost, high impact way to control and increase your business. This past summer I had a unique opportunity to review my business and in particular my use of technology. I left the company I had been with since 1997 and dissolved a 7+ year business partnership. In making these two major changes, I took a couple of months off from real estate sales. Taking this time off was a unique opportunity for me to review my business. In my evaluation, I discovered that most of the technology products and services I bought or signed up for were great but I was not fully utilizing most of them. This was a waste of time and money, in this market none of us can afford to waste either.
There are many technology products available, the amount and type of technology you decide to use will vary depending on your comfort level, your experience and your target marker or client base. In my case, a significant amount of business comes to me from repeat and referred clients, so I choose technology tools that help me to stay in touch with past clients. For your business, you must choose the most appropriate methods to contact your desired market.
Almost everyone I meet with to discuss buying or selling will have done some online research before we get together, even my past clients. According to NAR’s 2007 Realtor Technology Survey, 84% of homebuyers use the internet before they contact a real estate agent. This is up from 80% in 2006 and it is expected to continue to increase. This means you need an online presence not only for new potential clients but also for your current clients. A well done website is great resource for both new and existing clients.
Today’s consumer is also looking for information fast so I recommend using tools to reach your clients quickly, such as accessing your email via your cell phone or texting/instant messaging. In addition, it is in your benefit to be aware of all the real estate information available online. In the past clients came to us for information, today they already have it, or think they do. A great deal of what consumers see online may or may not be relevant to their specific needs so another part of our job is to translate the vast quantities of information that is out there.
Today we need more knowledge and more tools to be successful in this business. Do you even know any business professional not using a computer or cell phone today? Consider the power of your mobile phone. As agents, this is the single most powerful technology tool we have. Cell phones are not just for making phone calls. For example, if you use a smart phone it’s so much more…it’s a camera, you can access your email, it keeps your client database, your calendar and in many areas, your phone can even be used as your electronic lockbox key.
The amount of knowledge we need to be successful is no longer limited to which are has the best schools and the best priced homes. Today we need to be experts in technology and we need to maintain that knowledge as it changes quickly if we want to provide the best service to our clients.
Courtney is a full-time real estate Broker with Call Realty in Palos Verdes, CA. She lives in the South Bay of Los Angeles with her husband, 2 sons and numerous pets. The bulk of Courtney’s real estate sales business includes helping her clients buy and sell homes and investment property in the South Bay and Long Beach.
Courtney started her real estate career in 1986. In addition to selling real estate Courtney is a real estate investor and author. She enjoys writing and speaking to consumers as well as the real estate community. She is the author of numerous articles and 3 real estate books: “7 Strategies for Real Estate Success”, “7 Weeks to Real Estate Success” & “Zero to 6 Million in 60 Months, a guide to real estate investing”
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