“You know,” my client told me Friday on our first meeting, “everywhere I look online around here, I see you. Why is that?”
The why’s pretty easy to figure out – I do happen to be running a business here, after all. The how, which was the hidden part of the question, is slightly more complicated and probably wouldn’t interest you in the slightest. Suffice to say if I take a shine to a neighborhood and believe others may like that area too, I can find a way to – in the words of Nuke Laloosh – announce my presence with authority.
Though few among my real estate brethren would believe it, I’m not necessarily a tech person. Okay, so I tried to write programs for my Texas Instruments computer back in the mid-80s. (Casette drive, voice modulator, 16K of memory … oh yeah, baby. Big time stuff right thee.) Okay, so I know a little bit of HTML.
Still, technology’s not always my friend. And it’s for this reason that I’ve avoided the siren song of smart phones and stuck with my Samsung – no e-mail capability, bad photos and all. My phone had become a running joke at any real estate blogger meetup. People are sending messages to Twitter and checking the weather in Auckland and I’m just happy to get an incoming phone call.
That changed Friday, about an hour after my client’s statement, and all for one very low-tech reason – my phone fell out of my pocket.
Goodbye M-300 (or whatever the hell it was) and hello Samsung Instinct.
In saying goodbye to the old phone I also am saying goodbye to several dozen phone numbers, some of which I have saved elsewhere, some I don’t. (If you don’t hear from me, now you know why. Yes, Mom. This means you.)
But I’m also saying hello to the ability to check e-mail wherever whenever, which is a bit of a double-edge sword. The trick isn’t checking but learning not to check. Should be easy but considering I’m writing a blog post at 8:40 p.m. rather than watching a movie with the family, you get the hint.
Here’s where the big plus really comes in, at least the way I see it – the home searches on this and my other half-dozen websites. When you sign up I receive an e-mail letting me know that you’ve done so. If there’s a legit number, you’ll probably hear from me within a short time frame just to make sure the search pulled up what you really wanted. As good as the IDX is, I still have better available through the MLS that I can set up for you.
Reactions to these immediate phone calls since I turned on registration in August has been almost all positive. One person ended up buying a home through me. A few others still are looking. One prospective buyer said, “I’m so glad you called. Let me tell you what I really want to find …” all before I really got out my initial hello.
The main delay in contacting folks came from not having e-mail on the road, but that’s now a thing of the past. That has to be a good thing, especially these days when I’ve got a closing coming every 14 days (my average since mid-March) and when I’m spending more time driving either with clients or to check on REOs and other listings than I am in front of my computer screen.
Now the biggest obstacle comes from the 9-year-old Princess, who complains that my new phone “is too fancy.” I think that’s another way of saying “Daddy won’t let me play with it.”
I’m still slightly wary of the feeling of being shackled permanently to my inbox, but I guess that’s part of the learning curve with these smartphones. I just have to learn to be smart enough to turn it off at 7 p.m. when my official business hours end.
Well, unless I need to check some fantasy football scores of something.
It’s a process.
[tags]Phoenix real estate[/tags]