Thank you to Mike Antoniak of REALTECHTOOLS who interviewed Real Estate Success Tools CEO/President Matthew Hardy about our place in the real estate industry. Mike posted an edited version of Matthew’s answers; here’s the full version:
In your opinion, what are the essential tech tools for real estate agents today?
Essential connotes "basic" and the basic tools remain a phone and a computer. You could add to that your car (for comparison purposes). You wouldn't tolerate an ok-running car, so essential means having a computer, phone and software that works. This economy is teaching people that fad-shopping can be detrimental to your real estate business. Try new stuff on your own time; make sure your business has expert tools that foster the long-term growth of your business. This means not having your important business data strewn about on every new web-based subscription that comes along.
Where does Real Estate Success Tools fit?
Large businesses have their own, private database systems. That's what we provide for real estate agents, teams and offices. We don't want your data - we show you how you can have absolute, long-term control of your data so that you can leverage it for your maximum benefit. It's easy and there are a lot of options to accommodate any real estate business.
You’re selling software, but there’s a definite trend to Web-based solutions for functions like contact management. In your opinion, is there something Realtors may be missing or need to know about Web-based solutions?
The big concern is that most (and the biggest) web-based solutions don't allow you to take all your business data with you should you decide to leave the service. I don't know about you, but I don't like the idea of having my business held hostage to never-ending monthly fees. The corporations, universities and hospitals I've worked with over 30 years in database software development would never allow that. It's a real oddity that the real estate industry tolerates this. The truth is, you don't have to. With REST you can access your database from anywhere in the world. But you're accessing your own, private system shared only with your team, partner or assistant. It's easy to migrate from Single User REST to our Multi User version (2-250 users) and Server version to connect REST to your websites for lead capture and live property publishing.
How can you help?
When we first started the company about seven years ago, our approach was: become our customer and we'll throw in the consulting for free. That mindset continues with free support and free updates. We also help with data conversion services. Frequently, agents have data in a format that is nearly unusable to them. For instance, they might export, what they are allowed to export, from some web-based service like Top Producer. The data in the exported file has been "flattened" (in database terms) and as such, requires too much effort for an agent to parse the data so that it's usable in another system. We developed a conversion utility to do that work for the agent and provide them with a fresh copy of REST that includes their imported data.
Given the economic climate and state of housing market, what kind of assurance can you offer realtors it’s a good to invest time and money in tools like yours, i.e what’s the payback?
Realtors typically advise their clients to own real estate rather than rent it. The same holds true for mission-critical software. What makes more sense, spending $50-100+ every month on a system designed to hold you captive or spend $399 one-time and have absolute control? But it goes much further than that. Put your real estate business in a good foundational system that embraces standards (PHP, XML, SQL, PDF) and you'll always have options in responding to market changes. This is the time to get serious about your real estate business. The pros have expert systems that support their most important activities of lead generation and lead conversion. REST helps you manage your relationships with prospects and clients with greater ease and flexibility than any other real estate software.
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• Q & A on Real Estate Success Tracker