As a technophile and hardware enthusiast I am often consulted by people about what “technology” they should buy or what’s better than the other or in many cases, “which one is best for real estate?” Today I would like to specifically deal with why as a Realtor, you really shouldn’t care especially when it comes to real estate technology in your office.
Now before all the angry comments start coming in, allow me to clarify. Technology is wonderful. I love it! I have a triple monitor Eyefinity setup at my house, the latest iPhone, a Logitech Harmony touch screen remote and could point out a flaw in every high end TV on the market. So as you read on, please consider that this is coming from someone who lives out on the bleeding edge of technology.
When it comes to real estate technology, I often see agents confused by all the latest terms which lead them to make decisions that range from buying a new phone to changing brokerages and frankly, who can blame them? Remember when we figured out what apps were and why we needed them? Now suddenly we’re talking about social media and the cloud. There is a lot of confusion surrounding the constant change as it seems people are more interested in renaming technology as oppose to explaining any of it.
Many brokerages take advantage of this confusion by putting together a list of features that their website has and then change the names of each feature to reflect some new buzz words they heard.
Now, getting to the part where you shouldn’t care about the technology being advertised… The reason why you shouldn’t care is because in most cases you already have it! Yes, that’s right, you, right now, reading this article have most of the “advanced” real estate technology being offered to you by other brokers. You just don’t know it because it was explained to you using completely different terms that may as well be a completely different language.
“The reason why you shouldn’t care is because in most cases you already have it!”
I recently saw an email from a brokerage offering superior technology with the following features listed (in brackets is the English translation/way you can do the same task):
– Transaction Manager – (could be done in a spreadsheet)
– Contact Manager – (Outlook or any other database program, ie. Top Producer)
– Online Document Storage – (Dropbox, Gmail, Hotmail, me.com, etc. all have this feature)
– Social Network auto-poster – (auto posting is one of the worst things you can do for social media)
– Task Reminder System – (Outlook, Gmail, Top Producer, any smartphone, etc.)
– Integrated eFax – (this is an eFax with the word “integrated” added to the front)
– Integrated webmail – (“webmail” means email and again “integrated” was added to the front)
– Contact and Calendar Sync with Smartphone – (every smart phone does this)
As you can see, when the new terms are translated into plain English, there isn’t much to what is being offered. Furthermore, companies who have “custom contact managers” created concern me for three reasons. Number one, why would I want to give my contact list to the broker? Secondly, what makes them think that they can design a better contact management system than Microsoft or Google? And finally, how much hidden cost is there to me for the “privilege” to use this inferior software?
What’s more important than a list of website features is a company willing to educate you on how to leverage social media for your business or what “the cloud” is and how and why you would want to take advantage of it or better yet a company who understands technology themselves so that they may provide systems or hardware that will legitimately increase your production. It’s easy for people to throw fancy names on basic features. It takes a lot more to sit down and explain it to people and to show them how to benefit.
“What’s more important than a list of website features is a company willing to educate you on how to leverage social media for your business…
Technology is great and I am personally a really big fan. Where technology becomes frustrating is when we don’t understand it. In closing I would like to offer the following advice when it comes to trying to decide if a real estate technology is worth the change:
Technology is supposed to do one of two things. It either makes our life easier and or it allows us to do something quicker. If you are being presented with a technology or term that you are unfamiliar with go back to those two points and see how or if it will fit your business.
In the coming days I will be adding articles to help make decisions as far as which particular piece of equipment I would recommend but before I got into that I wanted to make sure that you realized that you probably don’t “need” any of it. What you need is someone to show you how to take advantage of what you have.
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