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Do What Works

New and old Methods


  • I write a To Do list – on paper – everyday.
  • I still have a Rolodex on my desk.
  • I track listings, escrows, and prospects on a massive white board in my office.

Why?  For Me, It Works

For me, the act of running through my days activities to create a To Do list with the use of pen and paper gives me a sense of clarity and peace.  I feel satisfaction crossing those things off.  I’ve tried an endless number of tools online including Top Producer, Remember the Milk and the latest Gmail application but I always come back to my pen and paper – because for me, it works.

I come back from events or meetings with my purse and pockets stuffed with business cards.  I have a card scanner somewhere collecting dust.  I have piles I intend to plug into my online address book.  But for most of these, I don’t need to work with the information electronically and you guessed it, Rolodex.  No more piles.  For me, it works.

When it comes to my personal real estate business, I’ve tried more contact management systems than I care to admit.  I’ve tried the most complicated and the simplest and yet, I have found that there is nothing more effective for me than having the names of those I’m working with in front of me.  No one ever gets forgotten and it satisfies the necessary Top of Mind Awareness I want to have with those clients, everyday.  For me, after years of fighting this and feeling guilt that I couldn’t make an online system work for me, I gave in.  Because, for me, this works.

I do a lot with technology everyday.  And yet, I know that some things I prefer the old fashioned, even archaic way.

More Than Technology – It’s About Your Systems Too

Think of this with regard to the systems you are working – beyond just technology.  When coaching and training, I’ve watched agents try to implement systems intended to generate business or manage back office systems.  They see other agents having massive success with a system and think, “I will do that too.”

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And yet, they fight to maintain consistency, commitment to implementation daily.  Why?

I had a friend that was determined to take her business to the next level and she launched two new excellent systems to generate business and while she had some early success with it, it was not sustainable for her.  Why?  She hated what she was doing.

The solution – she quit those systems and went back to what had worked.  She learned how to build off that success, improve the other systems that she enjoyed, and the ones that worked for her life and her personality.

The systems and tasks you enjoy doing will find success because those activities are sustainable for you.  A great system isn’t great if you aren’t willing to execute it and love it.

Be Open

Be open to the possibilities.  Be open to new tools.  Be open to new systems.  Try them with real effort and commitment.  But also, don’t be afraid to do what works.

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Hey, I realize some of what I’m doing isn’t scalable.  I realize some of it leaves some of you shaking your head.  I am open.  But, I am slow to abandon what I know works.  No system, no tool, no technology is better if it doesn’t work with my life, my personality.

Written By

Linsey Planeta is the Broker Owner of Belterra Fine Homes in Orange County, California. Linsey rants regularly on her blog, OC Real Estate Voice. She also provides sellers with tips on how to get their home sold on Why Didn't My Home Sell? She has been an active Real Estate Coach and Instructor and loves working with agents so that they may look at their business with fresh eyes, renewed purpose, and defined systems. Linsey can be found in her office or you can also find her on Twitter@Linsey.



  1. Eric Hempler

    September 15, 2009 at 5:13 am

    I would have to agree. When I entered the job market I used excel like crazy to create my own checklists so I could make sure evey step was completed and have always used excel as my database of names. I also use Outlook as a tool for reminders of when I need to complete the next task. I too use a sheet of paper and pen as a to do list, it’s easier to write down what I need to do next and like you said, cross it off when I’m done. I don’t know if I’ll ever get busy enough to use something like Top Producer, but Excel has always gotten the job done for me.

  2. Jim Gatos

    September 15, 2009 at 6:16 am

    Totally agree..

    I for one, can’t stand Top Producer.. Bad enough tries to bully it’s realtor base with their pricing and monopolistic schemes; through Top Producer they”re now trying to control our agent database and our own access to it? I don’t think so…. I tried it and it’s easier for me with Mozilla Thunderbird. Why no one has created real estate agent extensions for Thunderbird yet I’m STILL wondering.. All we really need is an activity plan extension and a listings – buyer manager..

    I use what I can use, and for me, less is better. I hardly have any software at all and the I use Openoffice, Thunderbird, and Firefox. I’m seriously thinking of changing to Macinitosh soon but the point is, I’m NOT dependent on any one vendor.. I have a Blackberry Curve 8330 and it syncs fine with Funambol, another free app..

    The only service I do pay for yearly if I continue blogging is Typepad. I tried WordPress and Blogger and Typepad, in my honest opinion, is worth paying for.

  3. Ken Brand

    September 15, 2009 at 7:04 am

    Wise words. Bottom line. Do what works. Do what you’ll do. The VERY best system is the one you’ll use. Crush it LP. Cheers.

  4. Atlanta Real Estate

    September 15, 2009 at 10:39 am


    Great post, I completely agree. People are always trying to convince folks that they need to be doing this that or the other.

    We all know what works for us. If we don’t have anything that works, then maybe we should be listening to these folks …and looking for even more.

    Personally, I’m looking to get better at the ones I do, and maybe learn some new ones.

    But there’s no sense trying to talk someone into being a Tweeter, for example, when his/her gig might be neighborhood farming, or whatever floats em.

    Right on!


  5. Atlanta Real Estate

    September 16, 2009 at 8:44 pm

    Ever write a response, hit post and then nothing happens? Just happened to me so this is try #2. Maybe this one will be better than the original. Doubtful.

    Anyway – great post and I agree completely. I like to listen to (entertain) all sorts of ideas, always looking for one more twist that might work for me. But in the end, you have to do things you like, are comfy with and are good at.

    I remember when I first got my license and had my first few meetings with my very old school broker/owner. He sat me down and piled about 2 feet high of gimmicks in front of me to get my sales going. Stuff like:

    Neighborhood Farming via postcar
    Sign riders with 800 numbers
    FSBO conversion schemes
    Expired Listing schemes
    Series of tapes to listen to while in the car about all sorts of exciting “methods.”
    Ways to network with everyone you know and try to get business.

    Hey, he was trying and this was all he knew, so, I’ll give him that much credit. But in a couple of weeks, after reviewing all this info I informed him, “if I have to do ANY of that to be successful, I’m not going to stay in RE.”

    I chose to go entirely different routes, and they work and it’s fun to do: for me!


  6. Linsey Planeta

    September 16, 2009 at 11:34 pm

    Rob – Looks like your comment made it but I’ve been there before and big thx to you for taking the time to try again. Sometimes I admit I don’t – so I REALLY appreciate that.

    To everyone – I’ll admit – after I hit publish on this and went to bed, I woke up thinking, ‘Did I just confess I have a Rolodex on my desk? What have I done!” But it’s nice to hear your responses.

    I guess I’ve learned that the comfort level varies person to person for every type of system and you can’t fight what works for you. Thanks guys!

  7. Partition Recovery

    May 17, 2010 at 6:16 am

    I don’t know if I’ll ever get busy enough to use something like Top Producer, but Excel has always gotten the job done for me.

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