Is Your Home Office Working While You're Out?

Stay competitive from home with these home office tips.

April 1, 1999

What's the difference between a top-producing real estate salesperson and one who consistently performs at a mediocre level? "Top producers keep their home office prospecting for new business while they're out taking listings," my husband, Bob Anderson, a top producer with Prudential California Realty in Oceanside, Calif., likes to say.

Bob delegates mundane marketing tasks to his two home computers, which run on autopilot while he meets with clients. It lets him squeeze 10 hours into a six-hour workday, which frees up time for him to spend with me and our new baby girl.

The most important aspect of any business is marketing, but it's the easiest to neglect. "It's all too easy for salespeople to get caught up in shuffling paperwork and handling escrows," Bob says. "Every day that I don't invest time in acquiring new business hurts me two months down the road when the paychecks stop coming in."

Six ways to Multi-Task

Here are six ways Bob recommends that you use home office technology to prospect for leads while you're busy meeting clients or running errands:

  1. Download to your computer about 500 (a good amount for a direct mailing) names, phone numbers, and addresses of homes neighboring the listings you've taken and properties you've sold within the last 48 hours or so. Order those records from a title company. Import them into your telemarketing database for cold calling and database management software for mailings,to let neighbors know about the home that was just listed or just sold.
  2. Print letters and envelopes to mail to the homes around properties you've just listed or just sold, to past clients, and to homes in your geographic farm area.
  3. You can print the brochures while you're out. Then, they'll be ready to drop off at your new listings, so buyers have something to remember the home by.
  4. Auto-fax flyers to the top 100 salespeople in your area to inform them of any new listings you've taken, price reductions on properties you've listed, and hot buyer needs, such as a one-acre parcel or a waterfront or horse farm property.
  5. Print listing information on properties that are new, reduced, or back on the market for interested buyers you're working with.
  6. Print black-and-white flyers for new listings to place in brochure boxes on For Sale signs.

Equipment and software you'll need for the job

  • Two personal computers--one loaded with lead generation and contact management software, such as Lead-Commander for Windows and Macintosh from DataBasix Technologies; and the other loaded with database management software, such as Act, Goldmine, or Top Producer
  • Flyer creation software, such as Iris, LLC's, Easy Flyer
  • Software for internal faxing capability (a standard feature of Windows software)
  • Modem (14,400bps or greater)
  • Software that allows you to log on to the MLS
  • Headset that plugs into your computer and modem for cold calling
  • High-quality ink-jet color printer
  • A database of prospects' names, addresses, and phone numbers. These people should live near the listings you've taken and the homes you've sold (lists of residents are available on floppy disk free of charge from your title representative)
  • Database of fax numbers of top-producing salespeople in your geographic area
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