How many apps do you have on your mobile devices that you actually use? What are the must-have Web tools that actually work and will simplify your business rather than complicating it? Rather than chasing the latest whiz-bang, mastering a few best-of-class tools is the smart route to success.
What activities consume most of your time on a daily basis? Chances are it’s managing transactions, staying in contact with your clients and sphere of influence, prospecting for new business, and surfing the Web.
The question is whether the tools you’re using are the best tools for the job at hand. I could use a screwdriver to pound in a nail, but it’s not as effective as a hammer. Below you’ll find some of the best “hammers” in the business.
1. Google Drive or online transaction management system?
While there are plenty of digital signature platforms available, an important question you must answer is: How do you want to manage the transaction once you are under contract?
Last month I attended a webinar led by Jack Miller and Michael McClure where they demonstrated how to use Google Drive to manage virtually all aspects of your real estate business. In case you’re wondering how Dropbox and Evernote differ, this is how Miller and McClure describe the differences:
- Dropbox is best for storing and sharing, but lacks the ability to collaborate.
- Evernote is best for organization and individual creativity. Due to the 100-megabyte file limit, it’s not as effective for storing large video and presentation files.
- Google Drive is best for collaborating and group creativity. Collaborators can share files and the system tracks changes in real time. Google Drive has the largest file limit (up to 5 terabytes). Another cool feature about Google Drive is that it allows you to edit using voice commands.
Each of these tools allows you to share offers, disclosures, photos and most types of data. Cloud storage and syncing functions make what you share available across platforms and devices.
So which tool is best for managing your transactions? To use Google Drive to manage your business, you are responsible for setting up the folders for your prospects, buyers, sellers, pending sales and closed sales. You then set up subfolders for each individual with whom you are currently working or have worked with in the past.
In contrast, if you use DocuSign, the transaction “rooms” are already set up for you and it is already integrated with its digital signature platform.
2. Remove those pesky subscriptions
If you are a Gmail or Yahoo mail user, Unroll.me is a tool you will use every day. The concept is simple: Each day you receive subscriptions to which you subscribe and probably quite a few that you never requested. Unroll.me aggregates all of those subscriptions into a single email.
When you click on that Unroll.me email, all the subscriptions appear. You can unsubscribe to the subscriptions you don’t want with a single point and click. By the way, even if you have your own domain-based email address, it’s worth setting up a Gmail account to use Unroll.me to manage your subscriptions.
3. AdBlock — speed up website loading rates
Would you like to make all those slow-loading Internet ads go away and save hours of time every week to boot? If so, AdBlock is the answer to put a stop to all those annoying ads. I love this service, especially when it shows that it just blocked 12 annoying ads on a single Web page. AdBlock is free; however, your donation makes it possible for them to stay in business.
4. Twilio and mVerso: no more QR codes
While there are a number of apps that allow you to convert sign calls and Web inquiries using your mobile device, the one that caught my eye at Start Up Alley was mVerso. The mVerso app utilizes “The Mobile Intelligent Number” that eliminates the need for key words, short codes, QR codes and cumbersome URLs. Instead, all the user has to do is dial a single number to obtain the information they want. The system captures their phone number so that you can follow up quickly as well.
Another new twist comes from Twilio. This app allows you to send messages at a rate of 1,800 per minute. It also allows you to send text messages from your Web app.
5. Video emails and property tours on the run
The current consensus regarding video email seems to be that BombBomb is currently the best platform available for sending video messages. The reason to use video email is simple: Open rates have been reported to be as high as 67 percent.
On a recent webinar Jovan Hackley recommended Animoto and the Tout video app as two of his favorites for creating property tours on the run. Animoto has been around for several years. It allows you to drag and drop your photos into their templates and create a video tour in just three minutes.
Tout also allows you to create both property and neighborhood tours that you can post easily to Facebook and Twitter. Tout has become extremely popular with journalists and reporters as a quick way to capture and “instantaneously publish video news updates from the field.”
Where Animoto and Tout really shine is on listing presentations. Imagine taking photos of the property and uploading them into Animoto as part of your listing presentation. You could then go to your Tout app and make a video and publish that to Facebook and Twitter. What seller wouldn’t want to hire you after seeing you use those two tools?
Hackley also recommended a great solution to an issue agents face almost every day: dead mobile devices. Hackley recommends the portable smartphone battery charger Jackery as his top choice for up to 250 hours of additional charge for only $29.95.
Bernice Ross, CEO of RealEstateCoach.com, is a national speaker, author and trainer with over 1,000 published articles and two best-selling real estate books. Discover why leading Realtor associations and companies have chosen Bernice’s new and experienced real estate sales training for their agents at www.RealEstateCoach.com/AgentTraining and www.RealEstateCoach.com/newagent.