What are the latest new technologies that can help you make your life and your business easier? Mark Flavin, the director of information technology for the Bay East Association of Realtors, shared some great new tools that fill the bill perfectly.
Do you have trouble tracking your appointments? Do you need reminders to keep you on course? Would you like to convert PDF files into a Word document with a single click? If you’re ready to reduce your stress and to make your business flow more easily, the following tech tools that Flavin recommends provide easy, inexpensive ways to do it.
1. Open Home Pro
Open Home Pro is an iPad app that helps you convert open-house visitors into clients. The application allows you to create online open-house fliers that you can post on your Facebook business page or on Facebook Marketplace. You can also use it at your open houses to gather contact information.
Agents using the application report that open-house visitors are much more likely to give you their correct contact information when you hand them your iPad to sign in as opposed to using a sign-in sheet. The system also allows you to track how many bedrooms and baths they want, take detailed notes on other items, and notify them automatically by email when there is a price reduction on the property.
One of the best features of Open Home Pro is that it automatically emails your open-house visitor a thank-you note for stopping by. It also includes a direct link to your online listing brochure. If he or she replies, the response goes directly to you. The system automatically stores all contact information and makes it easy to store in the CRM (customer relationship management) system of your choice.
This is a great app that is available for Android, Blackberry, iPhone and iPad. You can use AroundMe when you need to find a gas station or a nearby restaurant. It’s also a powerful open-house tool that allows you to share what’s nearby in the neighborhood with your open-house visitors.
"Chopping down trees so you can distribute your business cards is so 2007. People lose business cards, but they don’t lose text messages." This is the message from Contxts.com, a new service that is currently in beta that allows you to send your contact message via SMS (text) messaging.
Another similar service to Contxts.com that is available for the iPhone and the Android platform is Bump. Rather than having to send a text message, you simply bump your phone with another user who also has the Bump app and your phones automatically exchange your contact information.
5. Cloudflare: increased security and faster
The one thing we know about today’s Web visitors, especially those using a handheld device, is that slow load times are the kiss of death. Users simply won’t wait long periods of time for your site to load. Cloudflare.com not only improves your load time, it also provides greater security, and it doesn’t cost a dime.
To install Cloudflare, you have to make only a slight change in your DNS (Domain Name System) settings, or have whoever handles your website do this for you. It requires no changes in your HTML. Furthermore, Cloudflare servers recognize spam, online attacks and other nasty Web critters, and block most of them. If you want better results from your website or blog, Cloudflare is a great place to begin.
6. Nudgemail and Wakerupper
As the names suggest, both of these tools provide email and other types of alarms to make sure that you stay on track with your activities and that you never miss an appointment.
7. Word Lens
This is a great little iPhone app that doesn’t need an Internet connection to work. Word Lens is a Spanish-to-English (and English-to-Spanish) dictionary that lets you point your iPhone at a sign or phrase, and it translates it automatically. If you’re working with Spanish-speaking clients and you’re not fluent in Spanish, Word Lens is a simple tool that can greatly improve your communication.
This is a great app that lets you convert your files from one format to another. For example, say that you shoot a video using your iPhone. If you’re using Apple software, it normally saves the file using Apple extensions through iMovie and iTunes. In many cases, however, you may need to change it to a PC format to make it play on Microsoft platforms.
Zamzar lets you do the conversion with a single click. You can also convert PDF files into Word files and much more. Zamzar can handle up to 1 gigabyte of data before you incur any charges for using this software.
As with any new technology, remember that it’s important to implement changes one step at a time. Trying to do too much can overwhelm you. So choose a new application, play with it, and when it’s fully integrated into your business, move on to experiment with something else.