The other day, a client of mine asked this in an email: “Quick question: Which real-estate specific contact management software do you believe is best if the agent wants the “cadillac” of online marketing resource options?—or perhaps the top two programs?”
Instead of just answering my thoughts I posted this as a discussion on the National Association of REALTORS Group on Linkedin. What Ireceived was over 25 thoughtful answers which I have condensed and want to share here. Then I will give my two cents.
One of my most popular classes this past year was “Seven Tip to Maximize Microsoft Outlook.” I was really amazed that showing how to use Outlook as a contact manager would have so much appeal. I am an active user of Outlook, but also a certified Top Producer trainer, ACT trainer and test many contact management programs. (right now working with FavoriteAgent, Brokershelper and RealfutureCRM).
I am asked by many people during and after class – what contact management software do you recommend? Tom Lowy on Linkedin answered that question this way: “Experience has taught me the best contact manager is one you will use and use consistently. Use of the database is the key and filling it with pertinent information most important.”
Rick Schwartz added this: You refer to the “Cadillac” of systems. I think back to my days selling automobiles (a thousand years ago). Many folks shop for cars by looking for the most features, or the coolest new look and design. Fact is a lot of people buy cars that have features that they don’t need. So, perhaps, the same rule applies here – the Cadillac may not be necessary for everyone’s needs. First figure out what your needs are then look for a system that meets those needs.
Out of 26 comments, 7 are Top Producer fans, another 4 have fallen off the Top Producer wagon and gone to Outlook with addons. A total of 11 are using Outlook in some form or another. Some are using ACT with Outlook, a few are using Sonoma Enterprises add-on for Outlook. More agents are using Outlook and another program for their drip marketing campaigns. A couple of products mentioned wiere Sharper Agent, RealPro Systems, LeadCommander.
And last but not least we had an enthusiastic Agent Office user.
Quite a few are using Outlook with a exchange server. This means you synch wirelessly with your laptop and your handheld and a server on the internet. Every change you make ends up on all the devices synched with you computer. You also have access to your data on the internet on the server. The great news is that there no more synching with a cord. We rent space with www.123together.com for $10 a month per person and allows us to share calendars and other data as well.
A couple pf other products to check out that were mentioned:
Please share any other programs that are working for you. With all of us doing business planning, now is the time to make the change.
Avoid Blah-Blah Conversation With This Voicemail Cloaking Device
Please Dear Lord, Don’t Let Them Pick Up, So I Can Leave A Voice Mail and Make A Quick Get Away.
You know those times when you have to return a phone call, share an update, remind someone about something? And those times where there’s no getting around it, you have to make the call and deliver your message, but you’re short on time, patience, courage, or ___________?
Guess What? I Have Good News For You.
SlyDial allows you to make a call from your cell phone to their cell phone, but their cell phone won’t ring. Instead of their phone ringing, SlyDial lets you dial directly into their voice mail, and leave a message. Yeah, that’s right, call directly into their voice mail, and their phone doesn’t ring. Check it out, it probably works on your smart phone.
You can get more details and info here. The App. is free and straight forward. It looks like the picture below when it’s launched on the iPhone4.
Thanks for reading. Cheers.
PS. fyi, I don’t work for, nor am I in any way associated with, employed by, or even know anyone at SlyDial. In other words, there’s nothing in for me by saying nice things about SlyDial, except the pleasure of telling you about a tool you might find handy.
New Realtor.com iPhone App
Realtor.com launched their new iPhone application and gave a few of us the chance to play with it and tear it to pieces before the launch (maybe they didn’t quite put it that way, but it’s the way I’m approaching it).
When I first open these new apps, I always think of the intent and this one is pretty obvious. The Realtor.com iphone app iss totally and completely designed with the end consumer in mind (sorry Realtors if you thought it could be about you). It’s about providing the latest property information in the quickest, easiest and most user friendly fashion possible.
When you open the app, a home screen gives you several options, including searching for nearby homes for sale, nearby open houses or perform a new search by location or MLS ID. You can allow for the app to use your current location and it actually gives you nearby listings currently for sale (also giving you the option to narrow down your criteria). This can be really cool if you are driving in a neighborhood and just want to get property information without having to even get out of the car or make a phone call. (Bad for agents that rely on the client to actually make that call to capture their business).
You can view a map option or a list option of properties and are able to actually click on any given one and get detailed information, not only on the property, but also the listing agent and the brokerage (very similar to what you see on Realtor.com). You can scroll through photos of the listing and turn the phone to get bigger photos and you can save the property and include notes to go with it.
What’s even more fascinating is the option to contact the listing agent on the spot. You can call them by clicking on their telephone number, you can email them, visit their site and add them to your contacts. (I know I’m an over achiever, but wouldn’t it be cool if you could tweet or facebook them as well?).
My favorite feature is the “drive around and use your location” to find listings – but you can also enter an address for a particular listing and/or its surrounding competitors and even enter the MLS number.
Great move on Realtor.com to empower the consumer. Personally, an educated consumer is the best one in my book, but here’s the beef many will have…You can now say “Buh Bye” to Buyers’ Agents, with this app, listing agents will have the upper hand – this will give quick and easy information to the local consumer (not the end for those buyers agents that work with absentee and relocating clients).
I can now see me getting bombarded by calls from people who “forget” to tell me they are working with another agent and just wanted quick info. I can also see my clients calling other agents just because their information was handy. We’ll just have to see how this extra communication tool will evolve….it could be detrimental for many.
The question of who does Realtor.com work for will inevitably come up. Many will criticize this as a tool of disintermediation, but if we are smart, we will not only know how to use this information in our favor, but we will welcome it with open arms. I do wonder if it could be possible to personalize this particular iphone app for a fee so that Realtors can offer it to their clients (of course I would try to come up with a win-win for everyone).
For now it’s time for everyone to make sure their contact information is correct on their listings, and especially Realtor.com. Listing agents will have the ability to answer inquiries on the spot, staying above the competition with customer service always at the top of the priority list.
And for the record, I’m not associated with Realtor.com, so feel free to kill it if you have the itch.
Desktop Analytics – Polaris
I’m a big fan of keeping a pulse on the health of my blogs and sites. Polaris has released a desktop application that allows you to keep track of your Google Analytics, on your desktop.
The free version only allows monitoring from one account, while the $15/year version will allow multiple accounts.
The system features are very easy to setup and it works on the AIR installation system, which most of us already have with the Twitter apps. It was quick to download and install.
Polaris shows total visits, pageviews, activities by date, visits statistics and tons more. Essentially anything that you would benefit from in Google Analytics, but on the desktop.
The current product is cool, but the company is also advertising some interesting upcoming products.
Dopac is our flagship web analytics solution that brings Google Analytics to your desktop with a host of new features and possibilities. Based on the success and experience of our previously released beta product, the “Google Analytics Reporting Suite”, Dopac takes the original experience to the next level and brings a lot of new concepts to the table.
Rayet is our strange kid on the block. It’s experimental, funky and fun!
With Rayet we are aiming to make web analytics reporting smarter. Instead of generating a lot of good looking graphs and charts Rayet will cut to the chase and analyze your data for you. Rayet will give you suggestions on how to improve your website experience based on the analytical data available. By comparing different time samples it will tell what works and what doesn’t. Being in very early development there’s currently no release date planned yet.
- Phobia is made for one single purpose; impress your boss, client or anyone else you need to suck up to. It gives you data ownership by allowing you to export or synchronize your data in any given format. Anything from smart looking spreadsheets, pretty PDF’s or entertaining presentations is entirely possible! More info on features and release will be up here soon.
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