Krisstina Wise, the owner of the Austin, Texas-based brokerage firm The Goodlife Team, has a distinct requirement for all her agents – they all must use an iPad.
“That’s not because the iPad is a cool, trendy device,” Wise said. “It’s because of its practical applications to real estate.”
A longtime iPhone user, Wise immediately purchased the iPad when it launched in 2010 and began utilizing the device for her business shortly thereafter, along with its myriad of apps. “Once the apps started to hit the market, it quickly became a daily tool that I used in my business,” Wise said. “It didn’t take long before real estate apps appeared, at which time it became obvious to me that the iPad would be a number one tool that we should use in our real estate businesses moving forward.”
Given The Goodlife Team’s success, it’s hard to argue that point; the team won the Inman Most Innovative Brokerage of the Year award in 2010, and since then, the firm’s profile, along with Wise’s, has been on a steady rise. The company and Wise have been featured in more than 30 publications and have even been interviewed by Apple for their use of technology.
If anyone can instruct agents how to adapt to and use the iPad, it would be Wise. Chicago Agent asked her to share her tips as to how agents should use this revolutionary tool:
Actually use the iPad: This point may seem self-explanatory, but it is an important detail to keep in mind when considering an iPad investment. Are you actually going to use this device? If you don’t want to get left behind the competition, if used, it’s a sound investment. “It’s not just showing up with it,” Wise said, on why her firm succeeds in using the iPad. “It’s how we’re using it.”
Create interactive consultations: One of the most impressive aspects of the iPad’s design is its accessibility, the way that any user, regardless of his or her experience with the device, can be reasonably familiar with its functions. That component, Wise said, should be fully explored in the consultation process, where clients can be included and educated like never before. “We hand the iPad to the seller, and we let them flip through (the programs) and look at photos (and) look at the different market analysis data,” Wise said. “Now they’re experiential, they’re in the process, they’re not just being sold to or talked to … they’re coming up with conclusions themselves, and the iPad lets us do that.”
Streamline your business:If you are adapting to the iPad, adapt big. Rather than transfer the elements of your business incrementally, convert everything, simultaneously, to the device. “The iPad allows us to store all of the information in one place,” Wise said.
Using the iPad, her agents are able to take photos of a listing, use software on the iPad to present the listing, direct clients to sign necessary paperwork using digital signatory apps, e-mail the office management team all the necessary documentation, and then request that management team to immediately send e-mail correspondents to the client, thanking them for their business – all before the agent even returns to the office. But the iPad is not only conducive to selling; the iPad allows for a complete technological streamlining of the buying and selling process. Another example Wise gave was an agent’s personal website; with the ubiquity of the iPad and the emerging eminence of mobile, touch screen web browsing, it has become a necessity for agents to develop their websites with mobile browsing in mind, Wise said. If your website is dated and not mobile-enabled, it will not format correctly on an iPad, and you will lose valuable exposure to an entirely new base of potential clients.
Always strive for the “wow” factor: Although the iPad is becoming increasingly common in the tech intelligentsia, it still has the ability to “wow” clients, and agents should always push for that effect. “We’re one of the few companies whose agents use the iPad when they’re out and about, when they give a listing presentation, or when the entire consultation is over the iPad,” Wise said. “(And for) the sellers, when they’re meeting with another agent and they use paper, we just look better, and we might get the listing simply because of the iPad.” But take note, the “wow” factor that Wise describes is app-based, rather than innovation-based. For instance, what if a client is looking for a property with a specific kind of kitchen? Consider using the AD Amazing Kitchens app from Architectural Digest, which features tips, products and copious examples of dream kitchens.
iResearch: Once you decide to update your operations and buy an iPad, conduct extensive research on all the iPad’s functions, applications and features, and how they can contribute to your practice. For instance, learn about Evernote, a cloud-based storage app that allows you to store literally all of the client’s information – every document, photo and website associated with the purchase or sale – in one instantly accessible place, via computer, phone, or iPad; or Keynote, a native program to the iPad that allows you to craft dynamic presentations; or Adobe Ideas, which allows you to sketch ideas and draw images. And thanks to early users like Wise, newcomers have nothing to fear. “Now that there are those of us who have been early adopters and who have tested everything, anybody new coming on will learn pretty quick, because we’ve already learned how to use it and we’ve already shared what we’re doing,” Wise said. “So it shouldn’t take anybody any time at all to get their iPad and get really proficient at using it.”
Don’t look back: Wise said that thinking back, some business elements look simply archaic. “(You ask yourself) how do I transfer what I did traditionally with pen and paper and a three-ring binder and how do I move that to an iPad?” Wise said. “If you ask yourself those questions, you easily find the answers, and the next thing you know you’ve realized, ‘Oh my god, I don’t know why I ever did it that old way.’” Wise continued, “The thought of fax machines and scanning contracts and all that; now it’s one push of the button.”
KRISSTINA’S FAVORITE APPS:
Keynote – for presentations
Evernote – for taking notes
Dropbox – for having all her files with her
Mortgage Calculator – to find out financing
Docusign – to sign and send forms/contracts
Flipboard – for aggregating news from social networks
HootSuite – for keeping up with social media