This question is slanted to us in the know...considering if you're reading this you are probably on the "good" side of technology. However, Robbie at Seattle's Rain City Guide points out that:
Many Realtors discuss the need for technology, but invest little in it. I suspect, from my experience, many agents don't understand business investment in general and if they do pick up some "toy", they have little drive to learn how to use if efficiently.
This is a HUGE topic and concern at Rubloff. We go nuts over agents lack of understanding and commitment to becoming today's Realtor. Their lack of investment in their business is astounding.
Interesting, this is connected to the low barrier to become a real estate agent. We believe you can learn how to be a killer Realtor if you want it, but we can't teach that "want!" I think the low barrier allows those types that are destined to fail to get in in the first place.
But I digress;
Robbie's post linked above above (and my initial rant in the comments to it) is a reminder that NOW is the time to business plan for 2007... and part of that is figuring out how much to invest in technology; and how will we use that technology to increase leads, conversions and closings.
As an agent with less than two years experience and totally green to sales, I had to be calculating in my investments. Even with no money coming in... I knew I had to spend money on a few certain necesities as encouraged by my broker. My initial investments were:
-Upgraded cell phone
-Smart Phone w/ email (now a Blackberry used as my phone and PDA combo... leads come straight to me and I respond within minutes to a registrant on our site)
-Developing a blog and learing SEO strategy (the blog helps me convert consumers I meet into clients and captures leads on it's own... plus it's free and fun!)
-Working Internet leads like they are gold (they are gold... I include using your company's web site and lead generation in commiting to technology as a whole)
-Posting on free sites like craigslist and commenting on blogs/web sites
*This "blind faith" commitment employing technology to a regimented system over the past year has resulted in clients just appearing out of the thin air... I'm walking along and poof! Someone contacts me on my smart phone from one of these Internet outlets and needs a Realtor. I just stole one from the big dogs with all their costly print ads!
2007 will include:
-Purchasing a lap top (I've identified a lot of time that this would have been useful)
-Pay-per-click campaign (There are entry level plans...easy to track and see if I get conversions from clicks to my site)
-Better database management on my ConnectMLS web based system and reminders sent through my Outlook email for follow ups
Of course, it's the open house skill that gets many of the leads that triggers the effectiveness of the above tools... and the cow jumped over the moon! It's the sales training I get from my mentors that close the conversions. I mean, the time put into each personal email sent to a lead... none of the technology would matter if I sent a form email out!
What's your plan? What do you use now and what do you want to use next year? Do you have a system and what are the main tools in the system? Do you see others rejecting this trend and still do not utilize the Internet on both the buy side and selling side? Do you see the blank stares from agents that just don't get it? Are you an experienced agent that has incorporated and benefitted from technology and now teach the newbies?
Wouldn't it be nice to get leads from open houses, your web site referrals, craigslist, Zillow.com, your blog, Realtor.com, Tribune.com, your virtual tour web site... and have the ability to respond to them? I've done this with very little monetary investment relative to the return... I'm only in my second year people, came out of nowhere.