Adapting To Technology – From One Realtor To Another

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Confessions of an old timer… I didn’t like technology!

I have a confession to make. My career predates technology. No, I did not get to my first job on a horse, but I do remember working in a treaditional office and just marveling at this new facsimile machine that would transmit a position paper to the office out of the state in a matter of minutes instead of days. Of course, minutes were relative. It took about 10 minutes to send each page!

I also remember a typewriter (at least it was electric). With that typewriter, we used sheets of correction tape as well as a product we called “white-out.” There were computers – but they were bulky and slow, and I kept away from them because I really did not understand or like them. They used something called “DOS.” Others were assigned to keep me away because they knew I was subject to trying to put white-out on the screen – LOL.

There has been more technology introduced in the past 15 years than in my first 25 years of life. It permeates into all walks of life. As we are focused upon the business world, we will stay away from medicine and space travel. And here is our message — if you don’t adapt to technology quickly, you will be left behind in business. Guaranteed.

I was able to get away with avoiding computers for five years. Today, if you don’t adapt to technology you will be two technologies behind in just ONE YEAR! Still, the questions really is what technologies are essential for business?

You need to be on-line. Forget having a computer. You need to be on-line constantly. At least seem to be, anyway! The key to great success in any area of business is consistent & instant communication. There are three technologies that will help you stay on-line so you can be in contact with your prospects and customers whenever –

A laptop. Ditch the old plodding desktop computer. Today’s laptops are light and can serve as a powerful desktop. If you would like a light laptop but need a large monitor–you can always use a docking station at the office and/or at home. A docking station hooks your laptop up to an external monitor as well as a keyboard. You should be bringing your computer home with you and when you travel as well.

A wireless card. There is no reason not to be connected to the Internet wherever you are. All the major cell phone providers can sell you a wireless card that plugs into your laptop and will give you broadband-access to the Internet if you are traveling–whether in a restaurant (perhaps you want to give a demonstration of your site to a client) or when traveling. I check emails when my wife drives on long trips!

A Smart Phone. Today’s smart phones can send emails, keep you updated on Social Media, help you manage your finances on the go, and of course where would you be without your calendar? You don’t want to bring a laptop onto a golf course! Nor do you want to stay away from the golf course because you are expecting an important email. Smart Phones can also sync with your computer in order to give you complete access to your database including all phone numbers. No more writing down numbers on a piece of paper or carrying an address book – how convenient!

A CRM. Your Smart Phone should also be synced with your CRM. How is that for techno-talk? A CRM is a “customer relationship management” software program. Otherwise known as database software. There are usually systems customized for particular industries, such as Top Producer for Realtors and MortgageQuest and WorkCenter for loan officers.

These systems will enable you to not only compile, update and organize a large database, they will also help you schedule tasks, post reminders and facilitate communications such as sending emails to groups. You can build templates such as letters for your customers or use templates that are typically built in to customized systems.

Speaking of Smart Phones: Make sure you have BlueTooth and voice recognition. Apparently, Americans do not understand that it is unsafe to talk on the phone and drive. Look around – everyone is on the phone while driving. If you must talk, make sure you are not dialing. Newer cars now come with a standard voice-activated BlueTooth control for your Smart Phone. That means you should be able to speak into the phone and reach someone without ever reaching for your phone.

Also, you should not be holding the phone. That is where “BlueTooth” comes in handy. A wireless headset or your new car keeps your hands on the wheel. We cannot stress the importance of not texting while driving – this means emailing, too! You can use a voice dictate feature to type it out for you!

Forget snail mail. You should have the email addresses of everyone in your database. This includes your entire sphere – prospects, customers, referral sources, relationships and more. With the aforementioned CRM systems, it is easy to blast an email to everyone, and that would include articles and newsletters so that you can portray yourself as the expert without actually using much of your precious time!

Backup systems! Yes, once you get up-and-running tech savvy, you must have an on-line backup system or an external hard-drive you do regular backups to. You can’t afford to lose your computer and rebuild your data. Believe me, I have learned the hard way! Yes, technology is essential and so is the need to protect your technology.

I hope this has been as useful to you as it is to me. I find that running a successful business in today’s world in any industry, means being able to conquer the use of technology and make it work for you!

***Warning*** If you’re missing any of these items, you’d better do your research and start wherever you can to get on the ball. By the time you even find the right hardware or software for you, there’s already something better coming out.

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