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There are tons of apps for notes and checklists and to-dos. You could download a new one every day for a year and still be unorganized.
Most everything we need to remember falls under a larger category, and this is where most general note-taking tools go awry. They make it too easy for us to mismanage the method by which we try to manage ourselves.
Then there’s Evernote. I’m not pulling the curtain on anything here; I’m sure you’ve heard of it. But do you use it? Here’s why I think you should.
Real estate agents meet a lot of people, handle a lot of documents, and are always operating under the influence of concurrent burdens for multiple clients. This is why we use CRMs (customer relationship managers), right? And this is why I write about software that can help automate your marketing, right?
Here’s what’s cool about Evernote: It doesn’t promise to automate anything or make you better at sales. In essence, it takes your proverbial kitchen junk drawer of important tasks, notes, documents, people and pictures, and it quickly categorizes them for you into a single interface.
It then provides you access to that drawer from any device you’re using. Plus, every time you open it, everything is right in front of you. Or at least very easy to find.
But there’s so much more. Evernote’s folder categorization is a great way to build listing files. Everything pertaining to that home, from the client contacts to pictures of the sunroom, can be done directly from the Evernote app as you go. It’ll be there when you open your laptop or tap your tablet. Share each folder with team members or provide full access to your clients so they can engage with every step of your marketing process.
That’s a nice touch of transparency that more complex solutions (read: most CRMs) don’t make as simple, if it all. Any form of document can be uploaded, and like everything else that gets noted, you can tag it according to a folder’s title.
If you love checklists to run down items before closing, you can create them inside each folder or use subfolders. If you want to produce an activity summary for your client, Evernote lets you quickly assemble an entire notebook of items into a presentation.
This is a great way to demonstrate market activity in case you need to approach the idea of a price reduction. And because pictures are such a valuable asset in any listing process, Evernote makes that simple, too. Either upload photos from other sources, save them from Web pages, or use your device’s camera to save them directly into the appropriate notebook.
Other intrinsic uses for Evernote in real estate include grabbing Web pages and links to valuable industry articles with the Web clipper tool (and making a note about why you saved it); using it to write and categorize transaction-oriented letters; tracking the Web pages and pictures of houses that buyers share; organizing receipts, via picture, for tax time; or searching scanned or uploaded documents using Evernote’s OCR (optical character recognition) functionality.
I recommend watching this brief video case study of a real estate firm in Austin, Texas, using Evernote. Yes, it’s heavy-handed and produced by Evernote, but it nonetheless demonstrates a few ways the software can be leveraged.
If it helps, I’ve used it myself in every capacity noted in the video.
In the interest of full disclosure, I’m a champion of Evernote; I’ve used it for years. It’s very simple and endlessly versatile, but because of that, your junk drawer can become your hoard drawer. Don’t let it drown you.
You can get just about everything in the free version of Evernote. The “business” upgrade is $10 per month per user, which is way cheaper than most CRMs, as well as significantly easier to use. It also connects to Salesforce, in case you’re already entrenched.
Because there’s just so much device-wide integration and ease of organization, I can’t help but think Evernote would benefit just about any real estate business.
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Do you use Evernote? What do you think? Leave a comment and let us know!
Do you have a product for our tech expert to review? Email Craig Rowe.