Years ago, Realtors® found new listings for their prospective buyers by gathering at their local association and talking to each other about what homes they had for sale, offering incentive to other Realtors to bring their buyers. Then, organization came, and Realtors with buyers found themselves searching the Photo Co-Op System. Essentially, it was a large binder with pictures of houses for sale. Offers were typed on a typewriter, then signed – in-person – pen on paper, with multiple copies for everyone.
Technology led the way to faxes, photocopies, and the digital MLS. The first 100 years seemed so simple! Today, Realtors are encouraged to build their own systems, and have a trillion choices in platforms, organization and efficiency. Gone are the days of gigantic filing cabinets and a selection of $200 “lucky” pens, now are the days of multiple logins, apps and the latest devices.
So, how do you sort through the “latest” of anything to determine what’s the best fit for your own specific business? Is the best fit CRMs, cloud storage, lead generation, follow-up assistance, marketing systems, iPhone vs Android vs everything else, digital signature platforms. How do you know if you need a virtual assistant or a physical, full-time assistant?
When everything is shiny, how do you tell the gold from the brass, from the Fools’ Gold? Truthfully, there is no hard and fast rule. The beauty of both technology and its role within the real estate industry is that we will always have options. But that, in itself, is the source of confusion.
While it’s important to be aware of the changes in technology around you, the only way to be distracted by it is to allow yourself to be. If you’re satisfied with your systems, stick with them.
Don’t be quick to cast them aside for the latest/greatest. Be confident in your choice, yet continue to learn and expand to maximize its potential. There is always room for improvement, even in the best functioning systems.
If you’re not satisfied with your systems, or you’re curious about the buzz of something new around you, explore in dedicated time. Schedule yourself an hour to look into something new. Start by talking to people whose systems you admire or who seem to be knowledgeable. What’s the benefit? How does it compare to what you’re currently doing? Most importantly, what are the limitations and how important is that to you?
Is there a free trial, or can you get a first-hand look from someone else that uses it? Does your brokerage or local coach offer training sessions or demos? If so, schedule time for that, too. Write down notes. Google search it. Read reviews on it, and ask in your local networks and forums (or search archived posts if asking on a forum – chances are someone’s already asked!). Take a few days and think about it before you pull out your credit card or move your databases.
Lastly, if you decide a new system is the way to go, try and run it parallel to your current system for a time. Don’t suddenly eliminate your tried and true to jump in with both feet, especially in the event the new system proves to be a dead-end. The true road to failure is fumbling through a system you haven’t fully learned in a pressing or intense moment. If it does fail, don’t beat yourself up over it. Take a few steps back, find out where it went wrong, then seek out a new option that fits with what you’ve learned. Eventually, you’ll find a new system you never thought you’d create, which will involve an amicable marriage between making your current systems work for you and still being able to experiment with the potential efficiency of new technology. And, you won’t lose your pace in the day-to-day management of your business.
Embrace technology. Don’t shy away. Just don’t let it consume you in confusion. There is no best system or platform for you except the system or platform you chose!