- ULTRA-PORTABLE COMPUTING

As important as utilizing a notebook computer is to the real estate professional, it doesn't solve all of your portable information needs. While it's easy to take a notebook to an Open House or a listing presentation, it's just not small enough to carry with you to the supermarket, the monthly Chamber of Commerce meeting or on social events.

But, in real estate, you never know when you'll need access to important contact information. For instance, let's say that you go out for a round of golf tomorrow. When you get to the club, you decide to check you voice mail one last time before going out for a full round and there's a brief message from your office letting you know that "A Mr. Klein called. He say's that his family is being relocated and he needs to talk to you about listing."

As a salesperson, when should you call Mr. Klein back? Obviously the answer is right now. But what if he didn't leave his number? Perhaps it's listed, but what's his work number?

Even if he left all of his phone numbers, what if it's been five or six years since you sold them their home and you cannot remember either of their first names, the year they bought their home or even the street they live on?

The reality is that most salespeople won't call Mr. Klein back until they've had a chance to refresh their memories, and can at least recall the Klein's fist names, their address, when they bought and how much they've paid.

You might tell yourself that you'll look up the Klein's records and call them as soon as you get back to the office, but that could be hours away and there's all kinds of obstacles in your path. What if another deal blows up before you get back to the office and your attention is diverted? What if it's after five by the time you're round is over so you can't reach him at work, and no one is answering at the home number? More importantly, what if Mr. Klein called more that one agent and by the time you reach him, he's already scheduled an appointment to meet with another agent?

The inability to have all your contact information at your fingertips may very well have cost you a commission.

On another front, let's say you run into a casual acquaintance while on the course and she want's to talk about buying a condo. She would be happy to meet you at your office, but next week is bad, as she'll be out of town. However, the week after that would be good, preferably on a Wednesday or Thursday evening.

If you don't have access to your notebook on the 13th hole, the best you can do is offer to call her later in order to schedule an appointment. Essentially, you've just invited her to play "phone tag" and again, there are many obstacles that could cost you a commission; including forgetting to call until it's too late.

What real estate salespeople need to be successful is the ability to have instant access to all of their basic contact information such as names and phone numbers, appointments, to-do's lists and daily calls with them at all times; and the notebook just cannot fulfill this role.

Fortunately, there is a solution, and it's called a Personal Digital Assistant

Key Features of PDA's

Additionally, many associations now enable PDA's to download their MLS systems and to work as digital keys for the Supra lock-box systems. Others are planning on implementing this technology in the near future. So, before buying any PDA, check with your local board to make sure you don't buy a model that they may not support.

There are also countless accessories available that may or may not appeal to you, everything from "snap-on" digital cameras to wireless Internet and email options. However, the core value, that is to say what's truly important, is that combined with a cell phone, you can easily:

Many agents may resist spending a few hundred more on yet another computing accessory, and then having to learn how to use it. However, having instant access to all of your important contact information means being able to do more business, faster and without having to wait for a notebook computer to boot up. This kind of convenience will make you truly more productive and successful.

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Copyrighted with all rights reserved by Stephen M. Canale