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"Mike Barnett Interview 1997"

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4/18/97 Interview with Mike Barnett

7183 Navajo #F
San Diego, CA 92119

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The Critical Nature of Email

  1. Email is a well-established way to connect, but Real Estate is just catching up in using it; the ability to send messages without small talk is a valuable time-saver.
  2. The web is important as a meeting place, but email is the tool through which work is accomplished; communication around the world can be done on a local phone call.
  3. Email promotions of commercial/investment properties through listservers and newsgroups can generate numerous responses within a few hours - at almost no cost.
A Permanent Email Address

  1. Increasing competition among service providers has encouraged users to change providers - with the negative consequence of having to change email addresses.
  2. Abandoning an address already in circulation means lost contacts plus the necessity to reprint everything that carries the old address; the solution is to get a permanent email address.
  3. Options include: getting a home page and permanent email address through; creating your own domain; using or other Web source offering email service.
  4. Email is received at the host site and relayed to you wherever you wish to receive it - the destination can change without the outside would knowing; the service forwards mail immediately by a virtual switch.
  5. Realtors who need an email address but have reason to limit technology exposure, can have email faxed to them; once your email presence is established, circulate your email address in every way possible.
Implementing the Options

  1. To buy your own domain, establish that a name is available and register it (yourself or through someone who provides that service); costs are about $100 to register for two years and from free to $20/month to maintain a domain name service (DNS).
  2. To use an established domain, chose one you expect to be around as long as you want to use it.
  3. Some domains such as Juno offer free email service, but it includes advertising, which could become objectionable.
  4. An email address ® (more appropriate for Residential Realtors than Commercial Realtors) is assigned as part of your home page at that domain; using does not require buying anything.
Advantages of a Web Presence

  1. Your Web site is a virtual office where you send people and where you post things about yourself; as an agent, you can post listings on your site.
  2. Email can be used in conjunction with the site to engage the world: broadcast news of a new listing to all Realtors and potential buyers in your sphere of influence and embed your url in the message.
  3. By clicking on the message, receivers can go directly to your Web site, unless your provider (e.g., Compuserve) doesn't allow this strategy.
Managing Data

  1. Barnett maintains his email addresses in Microsoft Internet Explorer and uses his agent productivity software, Top Producer, to help sort names; the new version of Top Producer allows email broadcasting directly.
  2. Act and Goldmine both allow broadcasting; though excellent contact management software, they are not specific enough for the Residential Real Estate business.
  3. By searching your database for designated criteria, you can customize a list for a particular email broadcast. 4. Because the world of Real Estate is in PC, Barnett converted from Macintosh to an NT server and Windows '95; partial to Microsoft, he uses the Office '97 Suite.
  4. The new product Outlook is good for contact management and scheduling, but it is not networkable.
Tips for Getting Launched in Cyberspace

  1. Find and use what works for you; don't expect to find one product that does everything.
  2. Begin by identifying the software you want to use and then buy the necessary hardware; some software requires much more RAM than others.
  3. A good browser is a basic Cyber tool; Yahoo and Web Crawler are excellent for getting a search started.
Selecting a Contact Manager

  1. Software products call for practical decisions about how you use them; choose one appropriate to your own business style; all products have strong and weak points.
  2. Realtors inexperienced in Cyberspace should consider agent productivity software that goes beyond contact management to build in modules that will produce flyers and CMAs, search their MLS, etc.
  3. ACT, the best contact management software, can easily be used by techno-savvy Realtors to accomplish nearly any task with add-ons; the latest major revision (3.0) has desirable new email features, but it is currently generating frustration for users.
  4. Before you incur lost time and expense, be sure you have a genuine reason to upgrade software or switch to new software.
Internet Resources for User Information

  1. Visiting forums where software users exchange information is an excellent way to discover problems before you buy and install new products.
  2. The best place to exchange information about real estate applications is Realtalk - a positive spinoff of RIN; to get connected with Realtalk, send an email to camile® or to mb®; subscriptions are in digest form, but receiving in individual form can be arranged.
  3. Barnett hosts a free, weekly chat in the Real Estate section of America Online on Tues. nights from 10:00-11:00 pm (Eastern time) - topics include real estate and the Internet; on fourth Tues., Top Producer is represented.
The Browser War

  1. Two years ago, Microsoft had no part of the Internet, but it now has 22%-25% of the browsers, which it gives away free.
  2. Barnett deals with Microsoft products because the company should be around another four to five years; Internet Explorer interfaces better than Netscape with Microsoft products; with Microsoft Office '97, any document can be saved in html code and sent at a click of a button.
  3. A choice doesn't have to be made between Internet Explorer and Netscape - they can be run side-by-side.
Computers vs. Realtors

Computers will never replace Realtors, but Realtors with computers will replace Realtors without them.

Contact Information for Mike Barnett:

(v) 619-283-7302
(f) 619-283-7343

Real Estate Sites & Tools in this Briefing:
Realtalk: subscribe at