BrokerageTechnology

Do you really need that tech tool? Create a flowchart to decide

Don't get distracted by all the shiny objects
  • When agents identify a technology product that looks worth exploring, and before they reach for their debit card, they should consider asking themselves questions.
  • A flowchart will easily help you manage your real estate technology plan and determine any areas of weakness or opportunity.
  • Set a day each month to review your technology flowchart. If there are tools you're no longer using, pull the plug after ensuring you're not leaving any historical data or contacts behind.

Are you frequently on the lookout for the latest and greatest lead generation system, CRM (customer relationship manager) or website solution? Are you paying a monthly fee for services that you might not be using?

If you answered “yes” to either of these questions, you’re among a growing segment of the real estate population who understands the importance technology plays in growing a real estate business and is diligently pursuing and educating yourself.

This group also frequents real estate content providers online and subscribes to just about every real estate marketing and technology newsletter that exists. While most don’t have the time to read the entirety of these news sources as often as they’d like, they do manage to read quite a few of them with the purpose of identifying new tools, services and apps, and to pull whatever potential item of value they can from them.

When they identify a technology product that looks worth exploring, and before they reach for their debit cards (or LastPass, which stores card information and allows one to make purchases far too easily), they should consider asking themselves the following questions:

  1. Do I have a similar tool to this already?
  2. Does this new tool fill a gap in my business?
  3. Can I project an increase in revenue or business activity by using this tool?

These three questions are the litmus test for whether one should proceed with a new tool.

The next time you’re performing due diligence of a product, ask yourself these questions. If it’s difficult for you to answer them, or you can’t document tangible gains, then you need a technology flowchart.

6 ways empowered agents embrace disruption to drive success
Using technology to generate leads and win listings READ MORE

A flowchart will easily help you manage your real estate technology plan and determine any areas of weakness or opportunity.

3 steps to creating a technology flowchart

  1. Diagram your technology and marketing efforts by creating a technology flowchart. Grab a blank piece of paper and put four words in
    the middle: CRM, buyers, sellers and listings. flowchart
    Then start writing the names of all the tools and services you pay for monthly on the same sheet, and draw an arrow to or from CRM, buyers, sellers and listings — depending on where the business connection is.
  2. Next, when a new tool looks appealing, figure out where it fits on your chart. Do you have a tool similar to this already, and if so, do you have a deep understanding of the applications and feature set of your existing service or subscription?
  3. If the new tool or service fills a gap in your business — it fulfills a new need that will either save you time or make you more money — then it might be time to plug it into the diagram in its respective location.

Bonus steps

  1. Play around with shapes and sizes to help you see relationships and bring your flowchart to life. Draw arrows to make connections between your applications and services and the business needs they address. For example: Is a tool adding a contact to the CRM (create arrow from tool pointing into CRM), or is the CRM pushing out a contact to an email marketing tool (create arrow from CRM pointing into tool)?
  2. Set a day each month to review your technology flowchart. If there are tools you’re no longer using, pull the plug (after ensuring you’re not leaving any historical data or contacts behind).

If you’re more inclined to create a flowchart using technology rather than trees, head to your app store and install PureFlow. If you find yourself taking the technology flowchart to the next level, take a look at Lucidchart or Grafio.

Aaron Lacey is the Technology Marketing Director in Arizona for WFG National Title Insurance Company. Follow him on LinkedIn or Twitter.

Email Aaron Lacey.