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Starter Kit for tech savvy agents: 2014 edition

(Business News) Tech savvy agents aren’t born, they’re made through endless fine tuning. Are you up to date on how to use technology in your own practice?

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2014 Tech-Savvy Agent Starter Kit

In an ever changing real estate market, where realtors have to constantly be on their game, it seems like answering the “what is new- now- next” is a question that savvy agents and brokers constantly have hanging in the balance.

Going into the new year, take look back at some of the amazing things that the AG staff have brought to the table as insight to keep you on the top of your tech-savvy game, and seek to discover new things whenever you can.

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Prepare for the boom of the beta-broker

You’re here now, so it looks as if you might be looking for some information on what beta-brokerages are doing to stay on the up and up in the 2014 Market. Good for you, that is already a good sign, because there are still agents out there who are sticking to the old school methodology of waiting for things to change and come to them, and well, you know the saying… if ya snooze… ya lose.

If you follow me online, you probably already know that I’m up here in the DC Metro area, Northern Virginia to be exact, and I happen to be a part of a boutique brokerage that I like to say, we may be small, our combined knowledge and savvy is quite powerful.

Having been a part of the Better Homes and Gardens Beta-Brokerages to watch, at Arbour Realty, we’re always seeking out what we can do to stay on the forefront of technology. Our firm is interesting because we’re not a team, we are actually a small firm that just so happens to be competing as the top in the Virginia market in terms of volume and transactions, which is pretty darn nifty considering that we are in the running with firms that can boast having over one hundred members to their firms.

How do we do this? Well, the individual knowledge-base is solid, but we also like to mix it up with our software and hardware, such as making sure we have some of the most useful apps that will keep us and our clients in the know, as well as constantly linked.

For instance, I take my iPad (you can get a tablet of your choice) with me on all of my appointments now, I email the client their listings before we go out, so they know what we’ll be touring, but then we utilize the iPad to stay as paperless as possible. I’d love to get to the place where I can give my clients their own iPad for tours – maybe 2014 is the year for that? We shall see.

For those of us who are design-impaired

The iPad (or a tablet in general) also allows the free-flow of ideas and creating projects on the fly… It is also great tinkering with some of the lovely marketing tools out there that designers create and put out there for those of us who might not be the most design-centric. The fellow amazing staffers here at AG clued me in to the Canva site a few weeks back, which allows for awesome presentation design and and even more wonderful… simple social media background design.

Since you’re already reading AG, you probably have an inkling of this, so, not to beat a dead horse, but having a supremely strong social media presence in 2014 is going to be something that tech-savvy agents really need to be on top of their game with; my broker can attest to this. He has utilized some of the wonderful tools such as Canva to produce the sleek header and background designs.

Recently, I also found the app for making my presentations stand out (simplified, yet beautiful) Haiku Deck. Consumers want the details, but they want them broken down and easily accessible.

Make yourself available

We have found that accessibility on our sites through tools such as home evaluations direct from our website has been a hugely powerful tool this year, and we will continue to hone in on that this year. As a savvy agent, you can expect to spend six to twelve thousand dollars on an a totally brand new site and between two to three thousand dollars on an updated website with the home evaluation (smart)tools.

Speaking to accessibility, having a website, but not having a mobile enabled website is a huge misstep. Get your website up to speed with your developer and even if it is a wordpress based site, get it looking sharp on mobile.

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Any way you cut it, the latest stats show that home buyers and sellers are starting their search for real estate professionals online these days. Not in the “majority” percentile… but in the full scale, nearing 100 percent. Interesting. In the past, the stat had been in the high nineties, but now, consumers are starting their search completely online. If that is truly the case, we best all be on our game.

Quick tip for some of our “old” favorites for apps:

Since you’re in the mood to be tech savvy, be sure to check out Takes (short videos put to music for listings), Capture (your videos straight to your youtube channel), Glympse, Magic Plan, HomeSnap… The list goes on.

We look forward to seeing you up your game while we up ours – tell us in the comments what tech tools have been added to your toolbox to improve your practice.

Genevieve Concannon is one of those multifaceted individuals who brings business savvy, creativity and conscientiousness to the table in real estate and social media.  Genevieve takes marketing and sustainability in a fresh direction- cultivating some fun and funky grass roots branding and marketing strategies that set her and Arbour Realtyapart from the masses. Always herself and ready to help others understand sustainability in building a home or a business, Genevieve brings a new way to look at marketing yourself in the world of real estate and green building- because she's lived it and breathed it and played in the sand piles with the big-boys.  If you weren't aware, Genevieve is a sustainability nerd, a ghost writer and the event hostess with the mostess in NoVa. 

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5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. sedonakathy

    December 15, 2013 at 12:47 pm

    Thanks Lani and Genevieve! Great article! I’ll post it and teach it…. we were just talking about how many of the RE agents still need help finding the right tools.

    • Lani Rosales

      December 15, 2013 at 2:50 pm

      Kathy, thank YOU!

      • sedonakathy

        December 15, 2013 at 3:05 pm

        🙂

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Business News

This web platform for cannabis is blowing up online distribution

(BUSINESS NEWS) Dutchie, a website platform for cannabis companies, just octupled in value. Here’s what that means for the online growth of cannabis distribution.

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A small jar of cannabis on a desk with notebooks, sold online in a nicely made jar.

The cannabis industry has, for the most part, blossomed in the past few years, managing to hit only a few major snags along the way. One of those snags is the issue of payment processing, an issue compounded by predominantly cash-only transactions. Dutchie, a Bend, Oregon company, has helped mitigate that issue—and it just raised a ton of money.

Technically, Dutchie is a jack-of-all-trades service that creates and hosts websites for dispensaries, tracks product, processes orders, keeps stock of revenue, and so much more. While it was valued at around $200 million as recently as summer of 2020, a round of series C funding currently puts the company at around $1.7 billion—approximately 8 times its worth a mere 8 months ago.

There are a few reasons behind Dutchie’s newfound momentum. For starters, the pandemic made cannabis products a lot more accessible—and desirable—in states in which the sale of cannabis is legal. The ensuing surge of customers and demand certainly didn’t hurt the platform, especially given that Dutchie is largely responsible for keeping things on track during some of the more chaotic months for dispensaries.

Several states in which the sale of cannabis was illegal also voted to legalize recreational use, giving Dutchie even more stomping ground than they had prior to the lockdown.

Dutchie also recently took on 2 separate companies and their associated employees, effectively doubling their current staff. The companies are Greenbits—a resource planning group—and Leaflogix, which is a point-of-sale platform. With these two additions to their compendium, Dutchie can operate as even more of an all-in-one suite, which absolutely contributes to its value as a company.

Ross Lipson, who is Dutchie’s co-founder and current CEO, is fairly dismissive of investment opportunities for the public at the moment, saying he instead prefers to stay “focused with what’s on our plate” for the time being. However, he also appears open to the possibility of going public via an acquisition company.

“We look at how this decision brings value to the dispensary and the customer,” says Lipson. “If it brings value, we’d embark on that decision.”

For now, Dutchie remains the ipso facto king of cannabis distribution and sales—and they don’t show any plans to slow down any time soon.

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Business News

Ford adopts flexible working from home schedule for over 30k employees

(BUSINESS NEWS) Ford Motor Co. is allowing employees to continue working from home even after the pandemic winds down. Is this the beginning of a trend for auto companies?

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Woman in car working on engineering now allowed a flexible schedule for working from home.

The pandemic has greatly transformed our lives. For the most part, learning is being conducted online. At one point, interacting with others was pretty much non-existent. Working in the office shifted significantly to working remotely, and it seems like working from home might not go away anytime soon.

As things slowly get back to a new “normal”, will things change again? Well, one thing is sure. Working from home will be a permanent thing for some people as more companies opt to continue letting people work remotely.

And, the most recent company on the list to do this is Ford Motor Co. Even after the pandemic winds down, Ford will allow more than 30,000 employees already working from home to continue doing so.

Last week, the automaker giant announced its “flexible hybrid model” schedule to its staff. The new schedule is set to start in the summer, and employees can choose to work remotely and come into the office for tasks that require face-to-face collaborations, such as meetings and group projects.

How much time an employee spends in the office will depend on their responsibilities, and flexible remote hours will need to be approved by an employee’s manager.

“The nature of work drives whether or not you can adopt this model. There are certain jobs that are place-dependent — you need to be in the physical space to do the job,” David Dubensky, chairman and chief executive of Ford Land, told the Washington Post. “Having the flexibility to choose how you work is pretty powerful. … It’s up to the employee to have dialogue and discussion with their people leader to determine what works best.”

Ford’s decision to implement a remote-office work model has to do in part with an employee survey conducted in June 2020. Results from the survey showed that 95% of employees wanted a hybrid schedule. Some employees even reported feeling more productive when working from home.

Ford is the first auto company to allow employees to work from home indefinitely, but it might not be the only one. According to the Post, Toyota and General Motors are looking at flexible options of their own.

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Business News

Unify your remote team with these important conversations

(BUSINESS NEWS) More than a happy hour, consider having these poignant conversations to bring your remote team together like never before.

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Woman working in office with remote team

Cultivating a team dynamic is difficult enough without everyone’s Zoom feed freezing halfway through “happy” hour. You may not be able to bond over margaritas these days, but there are a few conversations you can have to make your team feel more supported—and more comfortable with communicating.

According to Forbes, the first conversation to have pertains to individual productivity. Ask your employees, quite simply, what their productivity indicators are. Since you can’t rely on popping into the office to see who is working on a project and who is beating their Snake score, knowing how your employees quantify productivity is the next-best thing. This may lead to a conversation about what you want to see in return, which is always helpful for your employees to know.

Another thing to discuss with your employees regards communication. Determining which avenues of communication are appropriate, which ones should be reserved for emergencies, and which ones are completely off the table is key. For example, you might find that most employees are comfortable texting each other while you prefer Slack or email updates. Setting that boundary ahead of time and making it “office” policy will help prevent strain down the road.

Finally, checking in with your employees about their expectations is also important. If you can discuss the sticky issue of who deals with what, whose job responsibilities overlap, and what each person is predominantly responsible for, you’ll negate a lot of stress later. Knowing exactly which of your employees specialize in specific areas is good for you, and it’s good for the team as a whole.

With these 3 discussions out of the way, you can turn your focus to more nebulous concepts, the first of which pertains to hiring. Loop your employees in and ask them how they would hire new talent during this time; what aspects would they look for, and how would they discern between candidates without being able to meet in-person? It may seem like a trivial conversation, but having it will serve to unify further your team—so it’s worth your time.

The last crucial conversation, per Forbes, is simple: Ask your employees what they would prioritize if they became CEOs tomorrow. There’s a lot of latitude for goofy responses here, but you’ll hear some really valuable—and potentially gut-wrenching—feedback you wouldn’t usually receive. It never hurts to know what your staff prioritize as idealists.

Unifying your staff can be difficult, but if you start with these conversations, you’ll be well on your way to a strong team during these trying times.

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