How to Be a More Digital Agent

Renae | June 6, 2016 | Best Practices

How to Be a More Digital AgentWe talked at length in our last post about why you should eliminate or cut down on paper in your real estate business. Becoming a more digital agent is more environmentally friendly, reduces material cost for your bottom line, increases productivity and, best of all, makes clients happy. Now let’s talk about how to go paperless.

The agents we interviewed for our last post gave us some great insights into some of the tools they use every day to reduce paper waste. We love how many of them came up with virtually the same answers – proof that they hold some weight as reliable tips!

Digital Signatures

With all of the paperwork that you have to deal with, collecting signatures electronically can help reduce the physical paper you use. In addition, you can keep better track of your contracts and save them online for easy access and reference.

“Personally I utilize DocuSign, which has all the features needed and carries a reasonable charge,” said Ivan Ciraj of Cloud Realty, brokerage in Ontario, Canada.

Carson Sweezy says he has yet to print an actual contract. The D.C. metro area realtor loves how his online software of choice is included with his REALTOR association membership (something to look out for!)

Authentisign is great for sending contracts, and agreements via email, using secure log-ins to encrypt the information,” Sweezy, who is a millennial, said. “This process is so much shorter than having to print a contract, sign it, and then scanning or faxing it in. I can’t even imagine how it was when physical copies of the contracts were mailed back and forth.”

Another great option is Dotloop. According to Tania Matthews, her team in Central Florida likes how it allows them to draw up the necessary paperwork for offers, collect signatures and track progress.

“It even allows for negotiations between all parties to be done through this system if all parties are working within the program,” she added. “This is a part of our [Keller Williams] package.”

The cost for such a service, as with most of the services listed here, is about $29 per month. Not too bad for saving lots of time and effort.

File Storage

Storing files is more than just having a receptacle online to keep your important documents. It also helps agents easily access them on the go to review, email or edit.

“We use Dropbox for information storage as it allows all the team members to have access to necessary information,” said Matthews. “Depending on the amount of storage used, prices may differ. Ours is currently free.”

Sweezy also advocates for the “everything online” approach, but prefers another useful online storage tool.

“I use Google Drive for everything, and my brokerage uses dropbox,” he explained. “This eliminates the need for any paper.”

Sharing files is an important aspect of Dropbox and Google Drive. What’s more, Google Drive and One Drive from Microsoft allows editing online so you can access and edit word processing, spreadsheets and even presentations online.

Note Taking

When you are busy showing properties, making listing appointments or managing other client needs on the road, it’s important to take notes whenever and wherever you are. Many people still love paper for such a task, but you can easily lose it and may fail to actually file it away with related documents.

“On both my laptop and mobile devices I use Word documents or Notes sheets,” said Sweezy. “This is the best way for
me to stay organized with tasks and projects.”

Tasks and projects are not the only reason you would need to jot down important information. Side notes on your clients and tidbits that are pivotal to negotiations, listings and the like are also good to include.

“In my consultations, I go over the contract either on my desktop or tablet, answering questions and creating notes in a note document as we go.”

CRM Integrations

If you are keeping everything digital, then it’s a good idea to make sure you integrate your documents and notes with your CRM system if possible.

“Combining the ability to send documents in electronic form needs to be backed with a modern CRM,” advised Ciraj. “This allows for you to organize clients and link the appropriate documents for a good structure. I personally utilize Base CRM, which carries an entry level cost of approximately $30 per month.”

Matthews uses something similar to fully intgerate her contracts on the cloud.

“We use Realty Commander for approximately $600 per year. This allows all of our contracts to close to be automated in a cloud-based system complete with a calendar and tasks reminder list. It also allows us to have a link for offers being
presented on our listings to be uploaded to and provides a summary of the details of the offer.”

A Few More Tidbits to Help You Be a More Digital Agent

  • Get rid of anything that makes you think paper, paper, paper. Paper clips, fax machine… The less access you have to the things that require paper to be useful, the less likely you will use paper to begin with.
  • Train your team on the process. Sometimes you have to line out, bit by bit, a new process in order for people to truly get and use it. Believe us, this is time well spent and will make it easier whenever a new agent or even assistant joins your team.
  • Don’t be afraid to test different methods to go paperless. Give a system or tool a good six months then consider another option. Be sure, however, to document why the first tool didn’t and did work so that you know what to look for in your next tool and what you can live without.
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Renae

Renae Virata is the Director and Founder of the strategic marketing firm revXmarketing, based in Dallas, Texas. A native of Houston and a graduate of Vanderbilt University, Renae has always been an avid writer. You can learn more about her and her work at www.revXmarketing.com. Want to guest post on Home Value Leads? Find out how!