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Efficiency Tools for Austin Real Estate Agents

Posted by Ryan Rodenbeck on Monday, July 13th, 2020 at 4:00pm

Ryan: I am here, live with my good friend and consultant, Lee Adkins with Amplified Solutions. And we're going to go over the efficiency tools for Austin real estate agents. And to give you a little bit of background, I have been working with Lee for several years, he's a consultant of mine. He helps top team leaders and brokers basically organize their business in more of a structural model. Well, you could explain it way.

Lee: Yeah, so really focus on the operations. I like to say all the things that aren't selling real estate, running a company. And that's all things from just being organized and your email to recruiting strategy and ten-year strategy, growth strategy, and exit plan. So it's all the little things and all the big things really,

Ryan: Yeah, he helped write some of our policies and handbooks and stuff like that, but what we have him on today is talking about some of the efficiency tools that Austin Real Estate Agents can use.

Lee: Yeah, absolutely. I'm excited to dig into this because I think a lot of times agents,

I don't know if they overthink it, or if they think it's more complicated or whatnot, but the goal is to, if you can keep it simple enough that you can explain it, you can train for it, or you can remember it, then it's going to be a lot easier to execute than having this crazy fancy thing with a bunch of zaps that does a bunch of crazy things. I think it's also really easy to just sign up for 1999 and 2999 things in this business, versus just having a strategy to use the tools that you have. And I think if you're good with it, maybe we'll start with some Google tools and some G Suite type stuff.

Ryan: Yeah, sounds good. Just to kind of give you guys watching this, I am the most unorganized, messy person in the world a lot of these techniques that I've used digitally, I've become very organized. So I'll let you take it from here.

1. GSuite

Lee: Yeah, no, absolutely. We've definitely had some good conversations about some of these and just using Yeah, using the tools that you have. So, G Suite is effectively the paid version of Google. It allows you to use your own domain. So if somebody's not familiar, it just allows you to say, you're @spyglassrealty instead of at@gmail.com. Essentially, most of the things we'll talk about also apply to a free Gmail account. But what I'm going to focus on is more specific kind of that paid you know, MyName.com G Suite account.

So you know, one of the most basic things obviously about that is email. And I think, in this business, especially really prioritizing and sorting your email, it seems like a small thing, but really being focused on making sure important emails hits you quickly. And all the other emails you know, that are wrapped that are in your inbox or like coupons or webinars or whatever, maybe just aren't on your radar immediately. Maybe you see them later. So, one quick tool I want to throw out for that going a little bit out of order.

Here is that tool called unroll.me. And it is a free service that you sign up for and connect it to your Google account. And it basically learns your promotional and other emails, you have to teach it a little bit. It's a little tiny bit of setup. But it'll basically pull all those emails out of your inbox and send you a digest of all those emails. So you're not getting, hey, check out this webinar, hey, check out this webinar, hey, check out this webinar. You could just look at it all at once at some point during the day.

So Google also introduced what they just what they call tabs, which are the social, promotions, updates. And if you turn those on, Google also learns very quickly how to filter some of those out. So that's another great tip for just prioritizing and filtering your messages that are maybe important but not urgent. So one of the other things too, about Gmail, specifically that it kills me that a lot of people don't realize your ability to search in Google Mail, G Suite, or Gmail is unbelievable.

You can search for certain keywords you can surf search for has an attachment, you can search by size of the attachment. Its range. It's unbelievable what you can do. And something a lot of people don't realize an easy trick is in the search bar in your mail. There's a little drop-down carrot a little like V. If you click that, it actually drops down a bunch of options, you can just click. And so to me, it blows my mind when people are like, Hey, can you send me that email again? I'm like, you can't just search, you know, has attachment. You know,

Ryan: I do that to Kelly all the time.

Lee: We won't tell her that well, we'll get this part out.

So you know, anyway, just be more effective with organizing your email in that sense. And we have some videos too. We're going to share out with everybody in the show notes on how to do some of these things. We're not going to try to abstractly tell you how to do these but we have resources.

Ryan: Now do you have yours in tabs on Gmail where there's, you know, a primary social and promotions?

Lee: I do a little bit. So I've actually gotten rid of social because I just turned off all those notifications. I don't need an email. Yeah. And a badge and a lock screen. Like that's too much. Yeah, so I actually got rid of social just because I no longer use it. But yeah, I have social promotions and updates. One thing a lot of people also don't realize is you can teach Google you can drag an email to the updates tag, or tab. And Google will ask you do you want to sort all emails from the sender to this tab? So you can actually teach it.

Ryan: So when you say the updates tab, what is that?

Lee: There’s primary social, promotions, updates, and I think forums, so one of the gaps is just updates.

Ryan: Got you. And while you're on, I'm gonna do a little tip that I've been given a tip that I've been using A lot lately too in the sense that so I get tons of emails, I try to filter it out, try to do unroll. Me, but quite frankly, even my primary email excluding social media and promotions, I'm probably getting, you know, 200 plus a day, right? A lot of those are the stuff I'm constantly unsubscribing. However, what I am doing to kind of make sure I mean things like text messages and emails, we get missed on. I am now religiously using follow up boss as our CRM, and getting the inbox in there. I'm checking it three times a day, because those emails are only going to come from the people that are in your CRM, which if you're doing this with anyone, they should be in your CRM.

Lee: Yeah, that's a great tip. And that actually is probably the best resolution to focusing on the most important email is people because like you said, it only pulls out emails from the people in your database, so you're not getting all the other garbage emails and subscribe. And emails.

Ryan: Talk about your calendar tips. I love how you organized

Lee: Yeah, for sure. So calendar is really, you know, as you mentioned, I work with a lot of, you know, teams and brokerages at a very high level and just there's no way I could do what I do without being really well time managed and time blocked. That said, there's definitely a method to that madness. So one of the main things I do is use the color coding in Google calendars, there's when you create a new event, you'll if you have never noticed it, there's a little drop-down for different colors. And I've just established some of those colors as specific things for example, I use red if I need to physically be somewhere because that means well at least in the old days, I've to take a shower after allow for some drive time. You know, there's it's a whole different deal than hopping on a zoom call if I have to get dressed and get down to the board or get to a meeting or speaking thing. I use purple for personal stuff. So if there's the stuff that's either overtly personal, or you're just things and sometimes some of those calendars are shared, so it helps to know.

Ryan: Yeah, like getting a haircut or going to therapy.

Lee: Exactly, yeah, they're all very important things but right. Which I recommend, but no totally it just having a little bit of a color-coding and you know, ultimately mine's pretty intense now. Yeah, and I started just doing the red so it's like, note to self must be at…

Ryan: And I started doing that too. Very recently and I saw you when you came to Austin like a year ago, I saw that and I started saying, you know, like, I think the default colors blue, right and it kind of just you get lost in what's important. So I have basically my agent appointments are banana and then personal appointments are red, and then you know everything else is blue.

Lee: That's great. I mean, I think sometimes people see mine and they go, Oh my goodness, that's crazy. You don't start with that. You start with one. You tack them on, for example, we also have like a company shared calendar that I use orange for. So when I see it, I know maybe it's not me, maybe it's something somebody else at the company's doing. But you know, it just, it goes back to you know, that kind of Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs was the original. You know, if you were a black turtleneck and jeans every day, you don't have decision overload you just thinking about it, you just look at it. And you know what to do.

Ryan: What about groups? are you setting up groups?

Lee: Like email groups? Or, you know what? Not really around with it.

Ryan: So we did a little bit and the reason why is because, you know, right now we have 33 people on our brokerage and it's just, it's overwhelming and you know, especially when we're trying to have like an all-hands meeting. We had one last week and I was not invited to it and I just got a double scheduled hit. So we had Kelly put together one says everyone at Spyglass Realty dot com, and the great thing about that is you can schedule a calendar appointment, everyone at Spyglass Realty, and they're all invited, no one's gonna mess it. And then we'll also have one for, you know, Sales, and for me and sunny. And then we have another one for Managing, me, sunny and Johnny.

Lee: That's a great idea, though, because you're right, instead of having to remember to add everybody every time.

I have a video on something similar to that, which is called Default Routing. And I'll make sure that gets added to the show notes. But it's a similar thing in that if you need a team@ email, it's an easy way to set that up where it goes to all the right people and you're just sending to team@. Keep it keep it simple. So yeah, that's, I'm glad you mentioned that it's a great tip. I didn't know it worked with a calendar like that. So if you calendar invite that it'll invite everybody.

2. Calendly

Ryan: Yeah, we tested it last week, to make sure that wasn't gonna happen again. The other thing is Calendly or using Calendly.

Lee: Yeah, so Calendly for those who don't know, is basically, there's a free version of it, but it's totally worth paying the 16 bucks a month or whatever it is now, integrates with your calendar, and shows when you are available or not available. You also have control over it. So you can say I only do Buyer Consultations, Tuesdays and Thursdays afternoon. So you can set that up. But then when you send the link to somebody, they can just pick when they're available. The problem I have is that by the time I email somebody that like hey, I can do two o'clock tomorrow and they get back to me. I've already booked the two o'clock tomorrow with somebody else.

Ryan: Yeah, same thing and I took it I got an email from a broker I was talking to and I basically just rip this off they had on their signature Zoom with me. And then that goes to the Calendly appointment. And I do the same thing. Like if I meet with agents and I'm interviewing a lot of Austin real estate agents, they can I just started doing this but you know, they can basically you know, pick the time I have always keep it make sure that we have 30 minutes in-between times, you can set that up and Calendly

Lee: Yeah, no, that's a great tip. I'm glad you mentioned that too. You can set how many per day you want to have, you can set lead time if it's driving to an event. It's funny, there's some argument that its kind of impersonal, you're just like, hey, do this length but you know, what, the world is changing. I think people are learning to.

Ryan: They are and I have to tell you, I just started doing Calendly and I'm never sending it to my Calendly link. But because of that reason, when people say oh, hey, I just see my calendar link, it kind of feels impersonal. But like you say the world is changing, people are wanting to be more efficient. They want to be able to pick your time. So I went ahead.

Lee: Yeah and one quick two quick pro tips with that. Number one, it like everything. It's all in the semantics, right? I always say when I send the link out, I always say, grab a time that works for both of us. Not like, Hey, you know, see ya, you figure out what I'm available if you say,

Ryan: Like get your people call my people.

Lee: Right, exactly. And then the other tip is that well, I just wanted to have it, it does integrate with Zoom. So it can generate that Zoom meeting when they book in fact, I've recently switched, they just added this. We're in the same event, you can select Zoom, or phone call. And so if they select Zoom, it generates Zoom. If they select phone call, it’ll ask them what their phone number is. Then the half of that is that it does Zapier integrate with FollowUpBoss. So when people grab a call with me, it also puts them in FollowUpBoss so if I need to follow up or what, it puts them in there.

3. Zoom Alternatives

Ryan: I did not know that. That's awesome. Okay, real good. Speaking of Zoom here, we're gonna go talking about Zoom and Zoom alternatives. Right.

Lee: So high level, you know, Zoom is a video conferencing platform. I can also do webinars. I think platforms like Zoom and Microsoft Teams and Google Hangouts or Google Meet, I guess it is now. You know, those are going to be how we're going to do business I think for a little while, and quite frankly, you know, it's funny to hear Realtors complain about it because wouldn't you rather do a face to face buyer consult with somebody instead of meeting them in a home that's on the other side of town only to find out that they don't like it or they have another agent or?

Ryan: Absolutely, a hundred percent.

Lee: Why are we not we should have been doing this 10 years ago.

Ryan: We didn't do it because of routine and practice. Right, like, I've been doing it with investors for some time, because I'm very picky with investors. And you know, a lot of them are fickle and let them know, you know, let's meet, I'll do, you know, show them what I want to look at on online, and then actually sit in the buyer rep agreement and also let them know it, this is gonna work, right? If you see a property that you like, you're going to email me that property nine times out of 10. I'm gonna tell you no way, don't buy it, then if I like it, I'm going to go to the property within hours and then say, Okay, let's meet at you know, this time tomorrow, whatever.

4. Loom and Camstasia

Lee: Right, exactly. I mean, I think there's never been a better time to really reassess the tools that you're using, the way I'm doing business. And you know, nothing. You should be saying yes, more than No, you should be exploring new things, you know, within reason. So yeah, I think I listed those are at least the alternatives that I'm familiar with. I'm sure there's 20 more and there will be even more. One other good video tip though is using a platform like Loom. I use a lot. I use that and a software called Camtasia. Camtasia is paid. I think it's about $50 a year.

Well, now they have a recurring like maintenance model at 50 bucks. Oh, that's right.

Ryan: Yeah, I thought Camtasia was a video editing software though.

Lee: It's more editing, but you can record your screen or you.

Okay, so you can generate the footage and edit it. Yeah, but my focus is on editing it. So perfect example, if I do a webinar or a session like this, I recorded in Zoom, drop it into Camtasia. Then I can add like an opening slide. I can cut out if I say anything stupid or look, yeah, whatever, so focus more on editing, but it can shoot as well.

Ryan: And so the Loom is mostly free, right?

Lee: Yeah, Loom is free until you really use it at a high level, and then it's $60 a year. But Loom is predominantly I think designed for screen capture. Yeah, it also puts your head in a little bubble if you want it to at the bottom so people can still get to know you, but you can demonstrate something. One thing I love about Loom that people may not know too is that you can actually organize your videos and folders. And so I've started getting because I do a lot of them and they're like two minutes. Like here's how you do this. So keeping it better organized has been good for me. And then the other thing is if you want it will notify you when the video is watched.

Ryan: Yeah, so, and then here's another thing that's really efficient that I use all the time, but it takes a little bit of setup, right. And if you're a Mac user, what is that a QuickTime Player?

So for the screen record, the problem with it is on a default level when it comes to you. Like I had it on my last computer. I just got a new MacBook Pro. It will not record the audio on a screen on a screen recording. So the workaround on that I did it on my last one I had to look it up is you download a program for free it's called Soundflower and you'll have to go into your settings. I use it all the time because like if one of my agents asked me something that they need to know we're using another efficiency tool Workplace by Facebook. Okay, so if I see something that's going to happen, there's going to be a recurring question rather than do a meeting with them and showing them I'll do a screen recording and then I will put that into Workplace, Workplaces is the enterprise version of Facebook, it's your own personal or professional Facebook without your asshole friends and political comments and you know, all the advertisements, right?

So I put a description, very detailed description in there. So it's searchable. And then I put tags on it.

Lee: Yeah, that's brilliant. I think you know that and that was where I was headed with both Loom and Camtasia just the idea of creating this on demand training type of thing where people can easily find it. And you can use it unlisted on YouTube, you can do Workplace, we use an internet platform where we host all that.

One quick tip I learned yesterday, if you're using a regular Facebook group, like not Workplace, but in Facebook, they recently added or I just saw for the first time they've added now what are called units. And you can actually go in and create almost like chapters for various things. And it's a great way to organize if you're using regular Facebook group.

Ryan: And I think that's great. My issue with it is, is that I want to be off of Facebook for hours at a time. So what I love about Workplace is I can have that on the background all the time. I'm only gonna have notifications coming from the people in my organization. Yeah, it's very searchable. There's zero distractions.

5. CRM Setting

Lee: Yeah. Now I workplaces kind of best of both worlds because people know the platform. They know how to post. They know how to add a picture. They know how to use it. But yeah, all that distraction of the other stuff. We'll just leave it at that.

Looking at my notes super quick, I think the only other big thing I wanted to really touch on and then happy to talk about anything else relevant is just CRM specifically, you know, I think, you know, we're truly out of time. I've probably said this for 10 years, but I think we're truly at a time where you're just not even like, serious in the business. If you don't have a CRM, you know, you've got organized leads past clients, you know, in our case agents, you know, other companies, other people you work with, there's just no other way to do it.

And I don't care if it's the most simple CRM, I don't care for CRM is a piece of paper or an Excel spreadsheet, but like, there's got to be away. It's gotta be something gotta have it. So, you know, and then real magic in that I think is, you know, I said this for a while back, I think I'm gonna bring it back like segment is the new blast, you know used to be like you just hit your whole database with like, great fun things to do an Austin or look at this great listing I got and now everybody's doing that. So you can't do that anymore. Now you need to say, hey, past client, I've got this great tool that'll help you keep an eye on your home value. You know, hey, a lead that came in yesterday. You know, can I send you over some more properties? Like, you've got to be sending smart messaging out to the right groups. And the best way to do that is to have a CRM and to use it, use it well, at least a segment.

Ryan: And I want to kind of elaborate on that just a second. I go through an organization we coach agents all the time, we do probably spend about three to four hours a week in coaching agents. And the number one thing, that a piece of advice that I have agents that I give to agents, I'll give an example. I talked to an agent last week and she's kind of, you know, feeling frustrated, and I went to her CRM went to her contact list. She's been doing it for like five years, she had 135 people in there, okay? And I can't tell you how many times I tell people this, you know, 135 people, that's what you have in there when you first start doing real estate.

If you've been doing real estate for two years, it should be minimum, you know, probably 1000 people, right? If you've been doing it for seven years, it should be you know, 5000 people. You know, you're continually adding to that list. And you really have to think about the people that you want to add. And the way I coach this all the time, is you put the proverbial sticky note on your computer or the actual sticky note or your feeder, right, it says add contacts people that know you like you trust you and won't hit the spam button.

Lee: Yep, no Absolutely, I mean, you can do that so many different ways do it when you're scrolling Facebook and you just see people, you think about family members, obviously, having your if you have none of this, get your past clients in there start Yes, start with that. And if you've been in business for five years, I hope you have at least 100 or so past strong prospects.

Ryan: Go to your MLS and look at the, you know, thousand, if you've been doing it for five years, you probably have, I don't know, 400 searches set up, put them in there right now.

Lee: Exactly. So no, that's the key. And but that's where the segmentation comes back into it. Yeah. You have to be adding to it. But you also have to have it organized in a way that you're just this messaging can be smarter. So yeah, I think that that's a big one. And then I think also using things like Facebook or birthdays or whatever to just keep that updated. You know, there's no better yeah oh, time now. Be careful. With the message I've been recruited by people on my birthday, which is not cool, you know, they're like, Hey, how are you? And I'm like, I'm great. Thanks for wishing me happy birthday. And they're like, I have a business opportunity for you. Right?

It was nice until then. Yeah. But you know, I think just using a touchpoint like that, or just then posting, hey, our kid won the science fair or whatever, could just be like, a great to hear your name and email, don't do this publicly in the comments or whatever, just check-in and then be like, is this still the best number for you? Ours is still your best email. Do you have a personal email or just?

It’s not hard. The problem is, it's what I always say with things. Well, it's simple but hard. Yeah, it's hard to break it down and be that simple and just do the work.

Ryan: The hard part is developing the habits to do it. And that's, that's why you know, I coach my agents in that like, you know, I had one today I said, look, I want you to spend I want you to call and text seven people a day. She's busy, she's distracted. She's a little bit frustrated, which we all get there. Right? We all get there. And so I said that if you do this for set for three weeks, I promise you something in your business is gonna change.

Lee: Now there's a good question and that tees up, you know, the next thing I was thinking about, which is, you know, having some sort of basic reporting or something along the lines of just the problem with our business is what you do today is not gonna make you money for probably 90 days at least. Yeah. So you've got to put in the work now knowing that 60, 90, 180, 365 days is when you're going to get the check. So and you've got a log that so you can start to see patterns in that, oh, my Zillow leads take six emails and four phone calls and two texts before they convert. While my other you know, while your sphere you know, maybe just takes one email because you know them already. So yeah, and that can be as simple as, like a FollowUpBoss like of reporting. You know, I recommend, you know, a platform called Transactify that you're familiar with, for sure. Just even deeper reporting on like, Where's my money coming from? Yeah, what can I lean into whether that's spending or just making calls?

Ryan: Yeah, and that's organizational from standpoint of not just your measurement, but you know, Tim Behe’s one of our agents and he's a rockstar agent and I talked to him in the new office last week and yet he had nine properties under contract and I'm like man are you using a transaction manager? He's like no I'm using Transactify because it's easier he came from a place where they use Salesforce and it was like super duper complicated and with Transactify, he had all the little tasks there, knock them out, you know, it goes in every day, you know, 1234 just, you know, every tester.

Lee: That's the key. I mean, you know, I think sometimes I do this to a fault, but I think just prioritizing things when they come in and deciding, like, does that need to go on a list? Or can I just do it? Or is there a tool or a person I can leverage? To better do that, you know, even in FollowUpBoss, there's tasks, there are things you can do. We even use deals internally, for our company and our clients, our agents and teams, but we use deals to say, hey, I sent a proposal with that proposal accepted, or was it not accepted? Like what?

Yeah, so it's pretty great. I mean, Transactify, I think takes the place of that probably for you. But you know, for me, all I need is like, yeah, send somebody a proposal. Don't forget the follow-up. And then was it good or bad? You know, what was the end result? Or do they say follow up with me in three months, like, that's gold? I think some people are running around thinking they should be doing all this stuff. You know, we don't have a CRM because we want to have a CRM or another piece of software, we have a CRM so we can have more and better conversations so gotta leverage it to do that.

So I don't know if you had anything else specific to cover I'm happy to nerd out on organization stuff.

Ryan: No, I mean I think that's pretty much yeah, I want to kind of recap here because you know you've got your tabs in Gmail, which I think are very effective, right.

You know, your search bar or I need to start using that more cause I keep asking Kelly. I get so many emails from Kelly. It's different than asking somebody else for it because there's so many emails I get from her that it's just easier just for her to it’s easier for to ask her to send it. The color coding of the calendar is huge. I think agents can really get you know, adopt that and really help them with their business. Zoom, Calendly is big. And then you know, the most important thing and the lifeblood of a business. For Austin real estate agents really is the CRM and I can't say it enough, right? If you're, you know, I always say show me your CRM and I'll show you your next 12 months of income.

Lee: Right? Absolutely. Right. It's like your five, you know, friends, like, look at your five closest friends and their income is your income or whatever that.

Ryan: Yeah, you're the average of the five people you hang around the most. I think that if your real estate agent is struggling, the main thing is, first of all, get more organized through these tools and spend more time in your CRM. You and I have talked about this a lot of time, right. I mean, that's the main point of all this is, is being organized and these are some really good tips and thank you for being on. Lee has two to five minute videos on how to set up everything with G Suite. He made a playlist we're going to put it in here. We'll put your information to your website to if you're need any help with, your organization and you know, putting stuff together. For me Lee did a lot with our Handbook, you know, structuring the duties for each person. So I really appreciate all the work you put into our company.

Lee: Yeah, man. Thank you. It's been a blast, and thanks for having me on.

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