Tools, tools everywhere.
It seems everyday, there is a new tool presented to me by agents, brokers, vendors, friends, or through my daily reading and research. We have so many different tools to use everyday to make our jobs easier, better, faster, more cost efficient, or cooler. I love to play with them and after awhile, I decide what’s good for me and what’s a waste of my time. You all know many of the tools – ActiveRain, Twitter, blogging, Flickr, BudURL, RealEstateShows, reading blogs…you get the picture (I could make a list longer than anything I’ve ever written if I really had the time). We’re inundated with them and we adopt and discard as we see fit. Its a great world of neat stuff out there, but I’ve learned there is a secret to maximizing the benefit of all of them.
You don’t hammer without a nail.
The hammer is great all by itself – you can use it smash things, open up walnuts, and break your thumb. Combine it with the nail and you suddenly have a genius device capable of fueling our very own industry. Without the concept, there might not be houses and we would all be selling lean-tos. By combining different tools, we create new possibilities.
Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about the combination of the tools that I use. By thinking about it, I have learned that I am doing it and doing it more often. I recently spoke to a local follower on Twitter and asked him for some thoughts about the consumer applications of Dwellicious and used it as a jumping board for a project that will allow me to utilize the Dwellicious agent side and see what I think about it before actually jumping on board fully. It also doesn’t hurt that he is thinking of me more of an agent than ever before. Perhaps some business will come of it someday. By not keeping my Twitter life and my Dwellicious life separated, I am creating new opportunities (and paths to learning). A local follower posted a great article on San Antonio’s new “Mission Verde” and I enjoyed the article. I blogged about it, told Greg Harman (the writer) about it and now we’re talking about a meeting with some of San Antonio’s more green minding builders. By using several tools in concert, I may open a door for myself.
I am currently involved in a blog post that has required several different tools. It started off with a tweet. I read the tweet followed the link to a blog, googled the origin of the blog, found out it was written locally (Austin) by a writer for the Statesman, tweeted them and got contact info for the author, emailed the author back and forth, got contact info for one of the people involved in the article and now will blog about it after speaking to them on the phone, (hopefully) getting some photos, and creating an amazing RealEstateShows visual tour to compliment it all. That may all seem very obvious to you, but if you don’t open yourself up to the connections (between the tools – we all know the value of connecting to the people) then you might just limit yourself to tweeting about what you ate for dinner, and that’s not going to bring you business.
We all do it everyday, but by thinking about how we do it, we’re able to come up with new uses for the tools. Case in point? BudURL. I liked the idea of it, but didn’t know how to use it. I’ve been tracking a particular couple and working on turning them from an acquaintance to a client. I email them, call them, send them notes, etc., but for the longest time, I had no response from them. We had spoken in person and hit it off well I thought, but there was no connection afterward. I wanted to email them again, but was trying to come up with a way to see if they were reading my mail and truly looking at the content I was providing them. In stepped BudURL. By creating a custom BudURL for them and them only, I knew that if the clicks on that BudURL ever went from 0 to 1, they had read my email and looked at what I sent them. It worked. Interestingly enough, I’ve spoken to them several times since then.
Driving the nail home (with the hammer of course).
Like I said, I know some of this is obvious, but the point was to make you think of new ways you could combine your tools. How do you bring Twitter into your phone call to your favorite client? How do you connect your favorite bloggers to someone else and get both of them thinking of you as an agent and not just someone who reads their blog? How do you utilize the local news media to connect with your blog audience? How do you do all of this without being “pushy Realtor guy/gal?” I am just now discovering the art of connecting, something Lani taught me about early on, but was lost on a guy with a limited sphere of influence. Once you begin to build that art (which we all know Lani does so well), you begin to become the center of the circle. And you can do it all by combining the tools you use and the people you know.