01 Feb / Real Estate Technology: In 8 Easy, FREE Steps
Have you always wanted to be one of those techno-savvy real estate agents that truly leverages real estate technology but don’t know how? Well, we’ve put together a guide to the basics. And it will cost you zero money—and just a couple of hours to setup!
So, let’s get started…
Your Guide to Real Estate Technology—In 8 Easy, FREE Steps
Your first step to real estate technology is to implement a number of strategies that will set you up for success. Setting them up, initially, will take a couple of hours—but once they are in place all you do is monitor the new activity (which you can do from your smartphone):
You likely already have a smartphone and a data plan, but if you don’t—that’s your first and biggest step. All the technologies below will integrate into your smartphone, and will help turn your cellphone into an even greater business centre than it already is now!
Every busy agent (if you’re not busy, you will be!) needs a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool to keep track of all their leads. A CRM will help you manage the lifecycle of your leads better, from initial contact all that way through to an active client.If you already use Top Producer or another expensive CRM great, you’re already used to the process. In case you don’t have one—or you’re sick of paying hundreds of dollars a year for it—then we have a great suggestion…Zoho CRM. The Zoho CRM is free for up to 3 users and allows up to 5,000 records/contacts. If you go above this, or want some of their advanced features then you can upgrade to their $12/month plan.
Zoho will allow you to manage your leads, will integrate into your website contact forms and will funnel your leads directly into its system and it will integrate with your email to keep track of conversations. Zoho CRM is a phenomenal free real estate technology, but note that it doesn’t have a place in the CRM for property management. This of course is fine if you’re not on an extremely high-producing team that can’t remember the hundreds and hundreds of homes you sell each year.
Like everything else on this list you can add the app to your smartphone for total integration.
Zopim Live Chat
Zopim is a free live chat tool (they have a paid version too—if you want more features) that empowers you to interact with your website visitors. They can use the chat window to ask you a question—or you can pre-emptively start a conversation. Setting up a free account takes less than 5 minutes, then you need to insert one line of code into your website to get it up and running. You then install the app on your smartphone and you will get your chat requests similar to the way you receive a text message.Using the app is quite easy, although learning how to actually engage with people may take some time. For example, saying “hi how can I help you?” is ineffective. It’s about as effective as a salesperson in a retail store saying it. But, looking at the page or listing they’re looking at and forming a custom message is good, like “I see you’re looking at 123 Deer Street—just so you know they are making upgrades to the kitchen!”.
Here at Real Estate Websites Canada we absolutely love our live chat. Not only as a way to meet new customers and offer existing ones support, but also as a great analytics tool. Zopim allows you to monitor which pages your customers are going to the most often, which ones cause them to leave (you’ll obviously want to fix that page!), how long they spend on your site and much more! So you get a live chat AND a free analytics tool. Although the free Google Analytics offers you richer information.
Mail Chimp is a free email marketing tool that allows you to point-and-click to design a beautiful email newsletter and send it to the clients in your email and/or CRM. It is free and extremely easy.
Zapier is a sensational piece of technology that unites all your other real estate technology. This free tool automates all your services. So, for example, if you update your Zoho CRM it will automatically update your MailChimp. It works with over 250 web apps, and they are adding more every day. Unfortunately, so far it doesn’t integrate with Zopim live chat, but it does integrate with Olark—a paid live chat software. For a full list of apps, click here:
This tool can save you hours upon hours of updating your various real estate technology.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NMW6RMABgdE
Online Appointment Tool
As a Realtor you’re undoubtedly sick of the constant going back and forth trying to schedule time with clients and other agents. Well—there’s a real estate technology for that now! By using an online appointment tool, like Simply Book Me. An online appointment tool will allow your clients, other agents—and even your kids—to book time with you by simply going on your website and reserving a time. So, no more “how about tuesday at 4?….no, wednesday at 1?…OK how about thursday at 8?.
A YouTube account is a great way to promote both yourself and your listings. Since your fancy smartphone has videos in it, you might as well use it! Take video tours of your listings and do a promotion of yourself at the same time (if you can get your client to hold the camera).By installing the YouTube app on your smartphone you can upload these videos at the click of a button! But a word to the wise…if you don’t have an unlimited data plan then try to upload them while you’re on a wifi connection..otherwise you’ll burn through your data plan real fast—and it will take longer to upload.
But seriously—if you could better promote both yourself AND your listings in less than 5 minutes time, why wouldn’t you?
There are a number of apps that, in our opinion, every Realtor should use to save time. Our favs include a scanning app that turns a smartphone photo into a document and DropBox—which allows you to save and share documents on the go.
If you can take a couple of hours out of your day to implement all the real estate technology listed above you’ll be well on your way to becoming the tech-savvy agent you’ve always wanted to be. The only thing left will be to get a flexible, technology-friendly, mobile-ready website. Hop on over to our other pages to learn about how you can get one for a one-time payment of….Ask us for a quote 😉