Can technology replace a team?

Tech tools that organize your appointments and engage your clients

Each year we look at ways to leverage our time and ability to market and sell more properties. A popular way to do this is by building a team. There’s certainly nothing wrong with the team approach, and many are finding success using it. But when you create a team with multiple agents and assistants, what’s the end result? Are you also increasing your need to market and sell more properties so that you can pay your team members?

Technology is my team. It costs far less than hiring an assistant, and I don’t need to worry about delegating tasks and the ensuing confusion that can occur when nobody is sure who has responsibility over what task in a transaction. Technology answers to me!

Here are two vital technology tools that will leverage your ability to do more with less time — without hiring a team to support you.

1. ShowingTime Appointment Center

How many times have you gotten a call to schedule a showing while in church, on vacation, reading a book to your child or on a date with your spouse? I haven’t found a better resource for managing tasks like scheduling showings, collecting feedback and keeping the listing at the top of an agent’s mind than ShowingTime. Within minutes after a listing request comes in, the ShowingTime Appointment Center schedules an appointment — even if I’m not immediately available to respond. The showing agent gets an email with a photo of the house as a reminder of what property he of she is scheduled to show. A corresponding text to the agent’s cellphone provides a couple of bullet points to highlight anything you want to make sure they don’t miss. All your listing data can be pulled up right from the app!

The other thing I like about ShowingTime is that when I make a price change on a listing, every agent who showed that particular home gets an automatic email from me with a photo of the house in an email discussing the change.

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I bet you can’t count the number of times you have seen the phrase, “Call agent assistant between the hours of 10-3 to schedule showing.” ShowingTime acts as an extension of the agent by being there to schedule showings 24/7 and 360-plus days a year. It schedules directly with my seller via phone, text or email, and I haven’t found one client yet who could not manage this system.

Finally, listing reports are detailed and show a wealth of information about showings and feedback, and they create a picture for your seller about what the market is saying about their property. Feedback forms emailed to showing agents after the showing are detailed, filled with questions that you can create plus several default feedback questions.

2. ReadyChat

Chat boxes have not been my favorite technological advance. If no one is “home” to chat, you feel cheated. I found ReadyChat months ago and fell in love with it! For 17 hours a day, the chat box is visible on my website and waiting to chat with users on my site. When ReadyChat is unavailable, the box disappears. When it’s available, it’s priceless.

Yesterday, for example, I received an email from ReadyChat showing me the transcript of a chat session with someone who was looking at information on my site. ReadyChat provides live chat support and appears to the website visitor to be an employee working out of my office (although not in Canada, where the company is located). It provides the name and photo of the chat-support technician in the chat box when it pops open.

Recently, a user on my website was visiting to learn about selling a home. The ReadyChat professional “opened the door” as fluidly as any marketing and salesperson I have ever seen to get the seller to agree to receive a call from me. I called within minutes of the chat conversation, and I had a listing appointment set up that I might not have gotten otherwise.

The cost for this confirmed lead, a real name, phone number, email address and details was $8. The benefit is that it generates more interaction and engagement with my website. And the company doesn’t get paid if the chat doesn’t produce the key information to qualify as a real lead. That’s team motivation!

The beauty of both these systems is that last month they cost me less than $100 combined. Even during a busy spring market, I paid less than $150 monthly for these programs. They are my team, and they help me handle more listings effectively and spend more quality time with my family.

The team approach might be great for you. For me, I like having technology tools that make me more productive and allow me to keep my hands on what’s really important!

Hank Bailey is an associate broker with Re/Max Legends, and a Realtor for over a decade providing buyer’s agent representation and seller listing services related to residential real estate.