Technology

Charlie is an inventive assistance tool that feeds client profiles to busy agents

Get the skinny on your daily meetings before you head out the door

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The pitch

Everyone Googles themselves occasionally.

No? You might want to. Saturday night was only a couple of days ago.

We also search the Web and social media for beta about listing or buyer prospects. It’s only natural, plus business-smart, to want to know a few things about potential business partners, or an agent to whom you’ll send a referral.

Perhaps you have an old employer in common, or your kids go to the same school. Or you both enjoy mountain biking.

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Everyone wants an edge before going into a meeting, so why risk being unprepared?

Anyway, speaking of getting to know people, I recently met a guy named Charlie.

The sale

Charlie is a browser-based app (iOS version to launch soon) that combs your Google or Outlook calendar for meetings. When it finds one, it scans the Interwebs for information about the person you’ll be seeing.

An hour or so before your meeting, it sends you a clean, one-page summary of everything it found out about the person whose lunch you’re about to buy. For example, you might find out they’re a gluten-free vegan, and maybe you know a place they might like.

The profile page, which also looks very nice on a mobile browser, starts with some pretty basic stuff, like a headshot with current title and place of employment, social media buttons and an array of connected information.

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You may know the basics already, but maybe it’s been two weeks since you scheduled the meeting. Plus, we’re often thrown into meetings at the last minute, so even the basics can be valuable. However, Charlie’s value is going way beyond the basics.

My Charlie profile opened up with my entire LinkedIn bio. I have no shame in admitting that if someone could find a way to connect with what I list in it, rock on, let’s do business.

The profile then expounds on their Web-connected life, ranging from LinkedIn connections to Twitter follows to news stories.

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I understand that we don’t always remember who were following on social media, so you see some of the commonalities as vague; still, if you can simply grab one quick nugget of shared insight, it could be all you need to engage the other side of the table and win the relationship.

Charlie can also come back with news mentions of your contact, articles and breakdowns about their company, and even competitors of their company. In Beta is a category called “The Skim,” which skims Web feeds for “the biggest stories” mentioning your client or their company.

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Each section of information is nicely categorized; examples include, “Summary,” “Key Points,” “Interests & Hobbies” and “Headlines.”

Using and setting up the software is a breeze. Start with an email prompt login, let it know if you use Outlook Calendar or a Google Calendar, and you’re off. Next steps involve connecting your social media accounts and choosing a few preferences.

I would highly suggest opting for the “morning daily update” in your preferences. Charlie will send you a rundown of each appointment that day along with a completed profile of each individual you’ll be meeting. Sharp.

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Charlie’s user interface is very clean, almost looking like its own social network. There are no confusing tabs or overly drawn-out sign-up requirements.

For real estate agents who are heavy CRM (customer relationship manager) users, Charlie could be a great friend. Since it lets you run manual profile searches not found on your calendar, search your hottest prospects and enter the pertinent data in your CRM. Now you have a comprehensive summary of them for the next time you call.

A CRM is nothing without its data, and Charlie can fill it for you.

The close

Charlie hasn’t been around long. I only expect it to become more investigative, however. Let’s not kid ourselves; we’re not exactly spending less time on the Internet. The more we click, share and browse, the smarter Charlie becomes.

Charlie is free while it remains in beta. Expect team pricing in the not-too-distant future. Hop on now.

I think Charlie can really help busy agents.

Of course, he may already be helping their competition, because more than 25,000 sales executives are using it.

Do you use Charlie? 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.