Let’s face the facts people. A majority of the real estate professionals out there are computer illiterate. I know this because I trained, in a classroom setting, over 300 agents when I was working as the IT director at a real estate company here in Scottsdale, and as a private technology consultant for some of those agents.
“Computer literacy is defined as the knowledge and ability to use computers and related technology efficiently, with a range of skills covering levels from elementary use to programming and advanced problem solving.”
Not only is computer illiteracy a problem, but ignorance to the basics of branding and running a business is also at the forefront of their every-day practices.
One of the ways you can effectively brand yourself is by creating a domain name that fits your vision. It’s cheap and very easy to do, and it’s technological purpose extends far beyond the branding aspect. With your own domain name, you can eliminate one of the most flagrant errors in your day to day communication. The “other-guy” e-mail address.
What do I mean by the “other guy” e-mail address? How many agents do you know that still rely on free e-mail systems like yahoo.com, hotmail.com, outlook.com, cox.net, aol.com etc.?
In the poker world, when someone who doesn’t know how to play sits at a table, we call them a fish, or a donkey, because you can take all of their money, because they’re blatantly obvious about what they do or don’t know through common “tells.”
Using aol.com, cox.net, etc., is a “tell” in the e-mail world. It “tells” your reader, that you’re not really in business. Furthermore, what are you to do if one of those companies goes out of business? Don’t you want your brand to move with you instead of against you?
Creating a domain name like “yourname.com” just like I did for this website is one way to establish a permanent online presence. But there’s more to consider than just creating a domain name. Once you have that name, you have a choice in the technology you use to handle the traffic (“mail”) that’s sent to the addresses within your domain.
I used to be hung up on the full Microsoft Office Outlook software, which is big and bulky, slow, exclusive to Windows, and expensive to own. Sure, it works, but it’s designed primarily for a corporate environment where there are thousands of users.
Thankfully there was a solution that came along called GMAIL, and after that, Google Apps for Domains, which is a set of tools that Google offers for a very low fee (annual or monthly options available).
Google Apps for Domains allows you to take your domain name and launch a set of tools based on that domain. If your domain was “realestatebywhomever.com” then you could have a GMAIL account that would handle all e-mail sent to “email@example.com.”
Since switching to Gmail inside of Google Apps for Domains, my e-mail productivity has gone through the roof. I am able to label specific messages based on who they come from or what’s in the body of the message, archive messages permanently for later retrieval, and most importantly, search ALL of my e-mail, past and present, for specific messages quickly. That barely touches the surface of what I’m able to do.
If you have a smart mobile device, you can connect it to Google Apps for Domains very easily so all of your e-mail behavior is mirrored on every device. Read a message here, it’s marked “read” everywhere. Delete a message there, it’s deleted here too. Contacts are automatically added to your phone and vice versa.
When you switch all of your communication and online collaboration (yes, calendars are also integrated into your mobile devices) to Google Apps for Domains, you not only build a better brand for your business, you also establish a permanent presence regardless of where you choose to hang your license, and you have complete confidence that your data, contacts, e-mail, appointments, etc., will never be lost if you lose the device that’s storing them.
I would never go back to what I once thought was superior software. Now the hardware that I require, the tools of the trade, can be lighter, faster, and less expensive to accomplish the same goals.
Interested in learning more about how to make this happen for your real estate business? Simply drop me a line and I’ll set up a consultation with you to help you make the migration. There are some up front technical issues to consider before you make that transition, but once that is handled, you’re on your way to a better system, and a better brand.