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"Agent Tools with a Wow Factor!"

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Chris Newell Photo
8/3/01 Interview with Chris Newell

RE/MAX Blue Springs
22 Ontario Street S
Milton, ON L9T 2M6

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Favorite, Money-Making Tool

  1. Newell appreciates that his two-way email pager, a Blackberry RIM, allows him to respond to a contact immediately using a signature file.
  2. The pager can be dialed directly, receive a relay from his office plus function as a stand-alone email device that handles email through his ePageNet email address; regular email accounts can also be forwarded.
  3. Cost of the PageNet service in Canada, including the pager rental, is about $75/month; similar service in the US has been advertised as low as $40/month.
  4. People today expect a near-instant response; a customized answer is much more personal and effective than an auto-responder, and a timely response assures prospects that you are always reachable.
Favorite Tool for WOW Factor

  1. A CrossPad computer tablet allows Newell to place a regular sheet of paper on the electronic tablet and have what he writes transmitted back to his computer; the pen contains a radio transmitter.
  2. The transmission can be saved as a drawing or transcribed/scanned via text-editing software; the technology is the same as that used to beam handwritten text into your PalmPilot.
  3. Use of this tool is a time-saver for getting notes on a property directly into your computer without having to retype; it is also an attention-getter with clients. [Editor's note: The CrossPad tablet is no longer available, but Newell says that Seiko makes a similar product.]
Progress on Voice Recognition

  1. The vision for voice recognition is software that is functional on a PalmPilot with the capability of transmitting information back to a PC through the airwaves.
  2. The Dragon Voice-It digital mini-reorder comes close‹it can be plugged into your computer; Handspring is likely to come out with something similar.
Building Traffic for Your Web Site

  1. Being at the top of search engine results is not required to generate traffic to your site; Newell gets the most traffic from MSN, but he does not rank very well on that engine under his company name; however, he does rank well under certain key words such as zero down payment.
  2. The cross-promotion of your site (on everything possible) and its longevity are important; Newell's first site (started 1994) is still online and comes up frequently on Alta Vista searches, where longevity seems to count.
  3. Links to local business sites and the chamber of commerce can drive traffic to your site; recent abuse of sham links may lead to a penalty for links on the search engines.
  4. Newell uses multiple sites but finds that the time involved in maintaining them should be a consideration in how many to keep; if a site doesn't generate revenue, don't put time and effort into it.
  5. Newell has three primary sites, which share some common pages; one site just offers free reports, but it requires visitors to fill in every field on its forms; other sites offer a lot of free information with the option to leave contact information. 6. Generally, people who opt to leave contact information are more serious in the near-term and are further along in their buying/selling process.
Managing Email

  1. The use of a folder system is helpful for keeping track of a high-volume of email.
  2. Newell sets up a number of signature files in his email so that he can respond to requests for information efficiently by inserting the signature and customizing the response around it.
  3. Creating an email filter is easy in good email programs such as Outlook and Eudora; adequate coaching is available in the Help file.
  4. Upgrading to the professional, full versions of email clients is worthwhile because of the extra features for email management not available in the free versions.
Easy Money from Your Web Site

  1. Selling advertising on your web site to your affiliates is a quick and easy source of revenue; e.g., your most frequently used mortgage broker and title company should be willing to pay you a monthly advertising fee.
  2. You could also sell banner ad space and/or sponsorship of an email newsletter (space on the header and the footer).
Favorite Places on the Web

  1. For general information without using search engine language:; for information about a company whose URL you don't know: type in an obvious guess, which will often take you where you want to go.
  2. For quality real estate industry information:
  3. Articles and free postings with useful marketing information: Jay Abraham's site.
Critique of "Selling in CyberSpace" Course

  1. The Society's new "Selling in CyberSpace" course provides a solid understanding of technology and offers the right depth of coverage.
  2. The course as delivered through Realty U strikes a balance between face-to-face contact with a teacher and an immediate, online practicum.
Wrap-up Tips for Using the Web

  1. Promote your web site everywhere you can, including on business cards, signs and your vehicle.
  2. Answer email immediately, and preferably not by auto-responder; if you must use an auto-responder, word the message to seem as personal and interested as possible.
  3. Use the phone to contact people who contact you by email; if visitors to your site give you their phone numbers, they give you permission to call them.
Contact Information for Chris Newell:

(v) 905-878-7777
(f) 905-875-4967

Real Estate Sites & Tools in this Briefing: