What’s in your toolbox?

Keeping up with the pace of new technology is almost impossible. The challenge for most real estate salespeople is finding tools and programs that assist with productivity and and servicing their needs and those of their customers better, faster, more efficiently.

Realtors do tend to like the shiny new object, especially when it comes with a guarantee specifically to do with lead generation or conversion, or “no effort or training required.”

So, what should be in our toolbox?  I am going to suggest we separate this into three distinct areas for simplification purposes.

  1. Business development
  2. Operations
  3. Maintenance

All three are active at all times, but for the purposes of looking at the tools and systems, it will help to identify the tools in this way.

The first “box” is all about Lead Generation.  While this is a no-brainer, it is not something that real estate sales people truly focus their efforts on.  For most Realtors today, there is an assumption that friends, family former business associates, will all simply come calling when we hang out a shingle.  Not so much.  Pro-active lead generation is a must starting out.  In the past (for us older folks), prospecting or cold-calling, was required and a key component of any new sales job.  Technology currently provides some great tools to assist in this process such as Kunversion, Commissions Inc (CINC), FaceBook and other lead generation sources. These tools, however, still require an element of personal involvement from the agent.  Follow-up!  Whether you are getting 10 or 50 leads a week or month, you must have a system and process in place to make the most of these leads to ensure a reasonable return on investment (ROI).

The second “box” is probably the biggest as it concerns all the activities and therefore tools required to run the business.  This includes such things as a CRM to manage the leads generated, paperless e-signature platforms, marketing systems, transaction management systems and, of course, accounting programs to track revenue and expenses.  Probably one of the most forgotten tools is the post-transaction contact management system.  While this can and should be tracked using the CRM discussed earlier, there are multiple marketing systems available to assist with this process which can add some real value to the client-agent relationship.

Box number three is the “high-level” component of this tool-kit.  These are the 30K foot overview and monitoring programs that ensure the business plan is on track.  One of the least hi-tech but most useful is the almighty Whiteboard!  If you want a hi-tech version, you could refer to a “dashboard”.  There are companies who have created versions of a real estate business dashboard but I have yet to see one that is simple and real-time.  More to follow on this topic. next week.

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