Which Shiny Thing is the Right One for My Business?
The question REALTORS® always ask me is: “How can I figure out which technology tools will help me to improve my business the most.” Technology experts like me could recommend hundreds of tools that may make you more efficient, proficient, reduce your costs and more. In fact, a response I often get from some people who attend my classes is: “There’s so much cool stuff, where do I start?” What I tell everyone is that there are not enough hours in the day or dollars in your pocket to do everything. Start small and figure out which tools you think will improve your business the most first, implement those and then build on it from there. But the question is, with so many shiny, cool tools and options out there these days, how do you really figure out which shiny object should be the first you implement into your business?
Step 1: Picking the Right Tools for Your Business
Start by identifying what your biggest priorities are, which business issues you are trying to resolve, or what you are trying to improve in your business. Is it, for example:
- Better communication in-house or with your clients’?
- Organizing your activities to provide better customer service and reduce operating costs?
- Having a better marketing plan and online presence (website, social media, etc.) to help you retain and lure new clientele?
- Learning which tools and apps to use to make you more mobile and paperless?
While doing this, create a list of all your needs and structure it so that once you start looking at potential solutions, you can easily identify if a product might solve more than one of the items on your list. For example, when I do consulting work for clients, I typically create a spreadsheet or grid of all their wants, limitations and budget. Then, when I am evaluating potential solutions for them, I apply the features of each product to that spreadsheet so I can see which of the products I research for them meet the most of their needs.
Once you get past product features, you of course will want to do a hands-on demo of that program. Ask for a free login to play with for a few days so you and/or your team can really assess it first hand to make sure it fits your needs and workflow. And, of course, do some research and try to speak to a few of their current clients and get their feedback about the product, support and more. If possible, do this directly. Don’t ask the vendor to provide a few clients for you to call on, as they will just give you the list of their favorite customers who they know will speak glowingly of them. By doing your due diligence before you buy, you will save time and money. It will also help you reduce the number of products you and your team will have to learn.
Step 2, Implementation, Overcoming your FEARS
As you look to incorporate more technology in your business, you will also need to overcome your fears of using these gadgets to be successful.
Do you remember the good old days when things we bought came with intricate manuals and tutorials? Those days are gone and most of these new devices expect the user to just “figure it out.” In my experience most adults are not comfortable with technology and are afraid to do so. They are scared that if they click on the wrong button or agree to the wrong setting that they will screw up everything and/or break the device.
Have you ever watched a child play with a new technology device? They don’t ask questions, they have no fear and typically they just figure it out as a process of trial and error. It is not because as many of us more mature users may believe, “that they are just born this way.” The fact is they aren’t scared and just play with the device until they figure it out. Or if by chance they can’t figure it out, they are not scared to ask someone for help, search online for an answer, jump into a forum or this amazing teacher of everything called YouTube. Now, don’t get me wrong, they do have an advantage that they have been around these technologies since their inception, but in general they excel at using these tools because they are more open and wiling to learn how to do so.
And if you think I am just saying this as a “younger user,” realize that when I left for college I had never turned on a computer and by the time I graduated 4-years later I was teaching classes on how to use them. And, I got that way by playing and figuring things out on my own.
So, get started by dusting off that device or app that you have been resisting learning how to use and just start playing until you figure it out. If that doesn’t do it, realize you have a lot of resources available to you such as YouTube, Google, your friends/co-workers and, of course, me and the rest of the RETI.us team.