Tech@Work: The New Contact Managers

From E-mail to Web support, software works hard for you.

December 1, 1999

It’s utterly amazing what you can get from today’s contact management software. Although the magazine recently gave an overview of the most popular programs, I want to point out ways you can use these programs to improve your productivity.

  • E-mail. No longer must you keep your E-mail addresses in a separate address book or program. Expect to send E-mail directly from your contact manager. Top Producer Systems, PREP Software, and Moore Data Management Services’ On-Line Agent support this functionality or plan to in their next product releases.
  • Web support. Don’t wait for software fixes and updates to be shipped to you. Major software vendors offer enhancements and bug fixes that you can download free from their Web sites.
  • PalmPilot support. Top Producer and PREPnow support synchronization between your PC and the popular personal digital assistant. With a PalmPilot and your cell phone, work from anywhere without lugging reams of paper or even a notebook computer. If you use Top Producer System 6, download a free upgrade from www.topproducer.com to add synchronization. PREP Software has included synchronization in its latest release: Suite 4.0.
  • Networking. Software suites let you synchronize databases between you and your assistants or salespeople (either between two computers or through a server), which eliminates redundant data entry and keeps schedules in line.
  • Mapping. Top Producer has developed a new mapping module, Top Locator. Use the optional add-on with Top Presenter to create a color CMA map that integrates the listing, comps, and surrounding area.
  • Internet partnerships. PREP Suite 4.0, for instance, includes direct access to a printer service. Create a color flyer in PREP Suite 4.0 and dispatch the order to www.Expresscopy.com, which will print the copies and send them to you.
  • Financial management. Use Top Dollar with Top Producer System 6 for back-office financial management. Brokers: You can pull financial data from salespeople’s databases to calculate commission splits, and forecast revenues--without duplicating data entry.

Don’t forget the tried-and-true contact manager features:

Top Producer, PREP, and On-Line Agent will write and print letters. You can also print your daily schedule and to-do list in a variety of calendar formats, such as Franklin Planner or Day Timer. Scheduling options let you assign tasks automatically to support staff. And most of the programs automatically insert property data from your database into templated flyers and postcards.

Where’s It All Going?

Contact manager extras and upgrades will be released at an ever increasing pace. Updates will continue to be delivered via the Internet. Even better, the software will update itself for you from the Internet.

Bottom line: For less than a commission, you can automate 90 percent of your business activities.

In addition to instructing GRI programs, Stephen Canale has spoken at hundreds of seminars in 45 states, covering subjects relating to real estate sales and technology. For more information on his products, newsletter, and seminars, visit www.canale.com.

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