As an agent, I’m sure that you receive a litany of emails and calls about the new shiny technology that you must have for your business to operate — if you don’t have it, you’re leaving commission on the table.
These companies are experts at creating urgency, fear and panic in agents.
I have succumbed to this on various occasions and have spent some serious time and money trying and implementing different technologies in our business.
This shotgun approach to real estate technology has later proven to disrupt our business and marketing plan negatively and cause a loss in client servicing and follow-up.
Here are three things to consider before you reach for the shiny technology diamond that they say is proven to increase your business:
1. Just calm down and think of you first.
When you are on the line with a company offering a product to you — be it lead generation, drip marketing systems, lead follow-up or contact management systems — make sure to take a step back and relax a moment. And when I say a moment I mean a rather long moment.
Do some research online in the many forums on social media and within your brokerage with other agents that might have heard of the product and might be using it.
Find out if it’s built with teams in mind or for the solo agent. Ask if the application or software system includes the purchase of leads or Internet advertising as part of their package.
Start first with what you think you need to fill the gaps you have — not the glorious results the company sells you on. If you take the standpoint of you first and them second, you will relax and be able to make an informed choice.
2. Find out who owns this company.
With the advent of so many new applications and software for the real estate business and many more promised in the future, it seems like every Tom, Dick and Harry are spitting something out there.
We went with a certain technology that we believed would help our business, and we found that the company was no longer supporting it — we were on our own. That’s not to say that the smaller technology companies aren’t fantastic.
For instance, we decided last year to go with a piece of technology that creates landing pages and some back-end lead follow-up attached to it.
The company was and still is tiny. When we have a problem and call the 800 number, the owners and developers answer the phone and take the time to deal with our issues. But the product is great, and they continue to advance it.
This brings me to another point. Find out if an application you are interested in has been advanced since it was first created and if there are plans to advance it further. That’s obviously a telltale sign whether it will work today and in the future.
3. Try before you buy.
In your research on real estate applications and software, you will find that a significant number of these companies offer either a free trial or are very inexpensive.
Some systems that are all-encompassing (such as a fully functioning IDX website and CRM back end melded with lead generation, lead purchase flow, drip marketing and the ability to delegate leads to team members) can be costly and a large portion of those systems do not offer free trials.
But with those larger systems you might be able to shed most of your other technology pieces and marketing dollars into a single platform.
With the smaller technology component systems, such as Follow Up Boss and the like, they usually offer at least a 14-day trial period to get engaged with it and make sure it is right for you. Take advantage of that, and do it often with more than one company.
Before you plunk down $1,000 upfront and a $1,500-a-month bill for a monster real estate system you heard about, make sure to take a breath, do your research and try it out as best you can.
The worst thing is having a great system that you don’t need and won’t use.
Jay Lieberman is a broker associate at Keller Williams World Class located in Westlake Village, California. You can reach him at TeamJayMichelle.com or on Twitter @LiebermanJay, or on Facebook at JayMichelleRealEstate.