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Working with Tina – In Search of a Contact Management Solution

exhausted at computer
I normally don’t do one on one coaching. My technology coaching is done with small groups but it works very well.
I made a special expception when Tina McManus contacted me. After 20 years as a corporate salesperson, Tina McManus started a new career as a real estate agent. An agent since 2002, she finds the responsibility of handling the myriad details, keeping clients informed, answering questions and concerns, and guiding the transaction smoothly to closing overwhelming.

Tina has consistently invested in up-to-date technologies, continuous education, and made a commitment to stay current with best practices.  But a system to simplify “the day is day” still eludes her. She asked me to help her with that and I agreed.

Tina said to me, “On our coaching call, I’d like to discuss Contact Management.  Right now, I use Sharper Agent for both my e-mail marketing and contact manager.  It’s fairly basic, but it does automatically update a contact’s file when I send a marketing piece out.  I also use Outlook 2007 for e-mail.”

“My question is; should I continue to use this or should I migrate to a more complex contact management system like Top Producer? In other words; what is the best way to streamline passing contracts and paperwork back & forth between clients, co-brokes, attorneys, etc.  and what is the best way to file & store them electronically.  I have a tablet PC, but am not really using it.”

So the search begins. What features does she want? Possibly web based, work with her mobile phone. Needs customized check lists and drip marketing with a database with recurring appointments

We narrowed it down to a few to explore:

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  • TopProducer
  • Howard and friends
  • And a brand new one from Redx called  RolEDX Lead Manager

Although Tina preers a web based product she discussed the benefit of having something that works off line and integrates with Outlook.
We found add ons for Outlook and she is looking at

    And last by not least, a transaction management platform that works with Tina’s MLS, which is called
    Next week we will discuss the  two products we decided to investigate further and why. Stay tuned!

    Written By

    Amy is a national technology speaker who can inspire, train and help people implement technology strategies into their business. To find out about her training, coaching or webinars visit her website at



    1. Loren Nason

      June 22, 2009 at 12:08 am

      ooops, somehow hit submit w/o filling this out.

      Now, tie the outlook and eurekaware solution with Hosted Exchange and you have web based, and you have full sync, with Almost ALL phones including Palm, BB, iPhone and windows mobile.

      There is also
      that has a decent outlook extension for real estate

    2. Matt Thomson

      June 22, 2009 at 10:17 am

      I’ll stayed glued to this one, as it’s been a struggle for me. I dropped Top Producer in March, simply due to cost, and switched to WiseAgent. I’m about ready to drop that too, simply because I’m not seeing the value.
      I, too, want web-based.
      I’m very interested in what you come up with.

    3. LesleyLambert

      June 22, 2009 at 11:50 am

      I have point2 for website, but I don’t utilize it well for contacts. I will stay tuned here!

    4. Fred Romano

      June 22, 2009 at 7:04 pm

      I use Gmail for everything, store everything electronically on my pc using primo PDF (free software) to create PDF’s for everything. And anything that needs to be printed, I scan after I’m done and recycle the hard copy. Trying to go green here to save paper and space. It really simplifies life. I don’t use automated drip emails anymore, it just irritates most folks. – Fred

    5. Matthew Hardy

      June 22, 2009 at 7:56 pm

      I am an expert in CRM (Customer Relationship Management) and it’s kid cousin contact management and would be happy to discuss/compare/debate the topic at any level allowed here on AG or offline.

    6. Russell Shaw

      June 23, 2009 at 3:23 am

      Matthew Hardy is truly an expert on this subject. And a very nice and intelligent guy too boot.

    7. Russell Shaw

      June 23, 2009 at 3:24 am

      Should be, “to boot”. 🙂

    8. Matthew Hardy

      June 23, 2009 at 12:23 pm

      I’ll take a “boot” from Russell – the smartest guy in real estate – any day! 😉

    9. BawldGuy

      June 23, 2009 at 1:19 pm

      Speaking from personal experience with both Matthew Hardy and his CRM app REST, I can tell you four things.

      1. We researched both on & offline solutions ’till we almost went blind.

      2. REST, in my opinion is so far superior it’s competition, it’s like comparing Pete Rose to the Lake Elsinore batting champ.

      3. The support is literally setting a new standard. It begins at ‘above and beyond’ and gets better.

      4. WAY affordable.

    10. Missy Caulk

      June 24, 2009 at 8:11 am

      I used Outlook for years, switched to the Mac, tried their version of outlook and hated it so now use Mail. Not as good as outlook but I love my Mac.

      We use WiseAgent for managing all of out teams transactions. Mainly my assistant uses it. The support is great.

      I have yet to sync my BB with the Mac since December, only 2 3rd party softwares to do it and on all the forums some like one, some like the other and some need to use both to get it to work.

      Thinking about just switching Iphone with MobileMe to sync.

    11. BawldGuy

      June 24, 2009 at 12:38 pm

      Hey Missy — I’ve never understood folks preferring Mail over Entourage on Macs. Yet, I seem to be in the distinct minority on this one. IMHO Entourage crushes Mail. Even my son thinks I’m out to lunch on this one. 🙂

      If you use your BB to access your local MLS, find out if iPhone can access it. It’s about 9-1 odds it can’t.

    12. Amy Chorew

      June 27, 2009 at 2:06 pm

      Mr Hardy, why don’t you contact me and set Tina up with a trial account or a demo so we can compare the products to what we are looking for?

    13. Alex Mazzeo

      June 29, 2009 at 2:09 am

      I too am quite interested in this subject of a good CRM. As a sole agent, not working on a team, I need a solution to keep me on task and up to date with all that needs to be done in this business. I’ve used Top Producer and didn’t want to keep paying that much for it. It seemed to OK as a solution but has too many functions I just do use .. at least not at this point or level of business.
      I’m not familiar with REST that was mentiond on this post but will deifintely give it a look as soon as I can find it.

      Is anyone familiar with or had experience with a CRM called LeadCommander? It seems to be quite robust and also seems to have just about everything I’d need. I’d appreciate any response to my inquiry. I too will keep a close eye on this stream to see what comes of it.

    14. Matthew Hardy

      June 29, 2009 at 2:03 pm

      @ Amy

      Will do. I will contact you today and arrange to get demo copies of REST for both of you. We can also do a live, screen-sharing demo to get all your questions answered.

      @ Alex “as soon as I can find it”

      Our primary domain is: where you’ll find our Contact Up page and phone number. Also, feel free to contact me personally. I’m on Twitter: @MatthewHardy

    15. Alex Mazzeo

      June 30, 2009 at 1:01 am

      Thank you .. I actually went to the site and previewed the software … and I think I’m convinced. I appears to be everything I was looking for. It’s a bit more expensive than LeadCommander but I think I like it better.

    16. Matthew Hardy

      June 30, 2009 at 2:07 am


      Thank you Alex; I am truly grateful. Please let me know if there is something you *are* looking for that you haven’t found yet. I’d like to either show you that it already exists, explain why we didn’t do it or consider adding it. Our approach is to take any appropriately good idea and abstract it so that any customer could use it.

      I appreciate your comment about cost. Here’s my approach: I buy the best software for the task regardless of the cost. Some applications cost a great deal of money. But ROI is what I’m really concerned with. The most expensive software? Software that wasted your time in the sense that your business interests weren’t forwarded. Next, software you paid for but don’t use. The value of software *can* be so great that cost becomes negligible. Even when it’s 30, 50, 100k or more.

    17. John C

      July 22, 2009 at 11:41 pm

      @Missy – I just switched to Mac a couple of weeks ago, and just synced my BB today. I downloaded this free software and it worked first time. Like everyone that has commented, I am in search of the best CRM solution (esp for small brokerages). It seems I have my contacts and info spread across my BB, an excel spreadsheet, my MLS system, and constant contact.

      here is the link to the mac / BB sync software:

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