I am frequently asked about the best commercial real estate technology solutions to use. I’ve always got a running list of top products that I dutifully convey. Unfortunately, I’ve seen lots of companies make bad decisions and waste money over the years.That’s why I’ve come up with this short list of technology pitfalls to avoid when lining up your productivity suite. I hope it helps.
I believe that desktop software providers are doing our industry a disservice.They are perpetuating an obsolete business model with a naive audience. Cloud-based software is better.There’s nothing to install and it works just about anywhere.You don’t need IT or expensive hardware. It’s liberating.
As a commercial real estate professional you have a lot riding on your data. Safety is important. Don’t entrust one of your biggest assets to a desktop, laptop or office-based server. Backup drives are OK, but they won’t help you in a fire or theft. Unfortunately, it happens. Store your files, contacts, photos and more online. Do it now.
I recently wrote an article entitled Why Desktop Software Is Dead. I received lots of great feedback. One of the more interesting remarks was from a long-time broker friend, who expressed his disappointment that such a topic has any relevance today in commercial real estate. I agreed. Then, he made the astute observation that our industry still lags behind the rest of the technology world. Can’t we all just move along?
Outlook as CRM
You need a way to manage your contacts in order to organize your day and build relationships.
You need a commercial real estate CRM (customer relationship manager). I’m here to tell you that Outlook is not a CRM. It isn’t a suitable tool for growing your business and helping you achieve maximum efficiency.
Using Outlook for email is fine. You could even use the calendar provided that it syncs to your cloud-based CRM. I’d highly recommend you find a more capable solution for managing your contacts though. There’s so much more you could do with the right tools. Spend some time and figure out how to switch.
Export those Outlook contacts and get your data online. You could be amazed at how easy it is. Be sure to migrate to a service that’s super simple. You’ve been successful all these years without a lot of complexity, and you certainly don’t need that now. Simple, smart and intuitive is the way to go.
Doing it yourself
Just like any commercial real estate property, you have a highest and best use. One of the biggest technology pitfalls to avoid is spending too much time involved in less productive work.
The trick is figuring out what you’re good at, and then outsourcing everything else.
Let’s say you’re a great deal maker. You make the most money by spending as much time as possible negotiating on behalf of your clients.You can’t run a business based solely on that though. Someone needs to prepare your marketing materials, log your CRM updates, manage your calendar and more.
Find one or more people to take over all those tasks that keep you from maximizing your productivity. Strive to achieve your highest and best use more as much of your work day as possible. I recorded a webinar on Using a Virtual Assistant that you might find useful to implement this strategy.
Wait a minute. I thought multitasking was a good thing, right? Wrong. Recent research suggests that there’s really no such thing as multitasking. We can’t handle more than one cognitive heavy task at a time. As a result we “task switch” to give slivers of focused attention to different things.
Technology almost forces us to task switch because of information overload. It turns out that this can significantly decrease your ability to complete any one thing efficiently. Overall you spend more time, make more mistakes, and certainly create more stress than just getting one thing done at a time.
Avoiding distractions can be a tough especially in our data rich world. The next time you get something done try isolating yourself. Turn off your email and phone(s). Focus on that one task and see how it goes.