Going Paperless - An Investigative Interview

Recently my long-time client Kendyl Young (Teles Properties, Pasadena) was recognized as one of “Inman’s 100 Most Influential Agents”.   Kendyl is by far one of my most “tech-forward” clients.  She loves adopting new technology and she successfully transitioned to a 100% paperless office three years ago and hasn’t looked back.  Finding her a new real estate assistant who could keep up with the ever-improving technology in her office proved to be an informative challenge.  We finally found Kendyl the perfect match for her tech-centric office. Now that they have settled in I wanted to find out more about the high tech methods/platforms Kendyl and her assistant were using to manage transactions and communication within the team and with clients. Q: Why do you want to be on the leading edge of technology?

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“Because I love doing something that no one else can do. And, I believe that consumers will demand this kind of transparency, convenience and accessibility in the future. We must streamline our process to do that for them. I’m ahead of the curve because people do not know that they need this yet, but once they know what is possible they will demand it.”

Q: Give us the 10,000 ft view of your office in terms of how you utilize technology to manage the sales cycle, provide excellent customer service, and communication with your team.

“My goal is to provide transparency throughout the sale cycle as well as education for the client at every stage of the process.  Another goal is to anticipate problems ahead of time, remove as much chaos as possible from the process, and allow clients to be as involved or as uninvolved as they want.  One way I do this is with template driven video emails for client follow-up.  I also use Highrise which is a very mobile-friendly Customer Relationship Manager."

I asked Kendyl why she likes Highrise more than Top Producer or Sales Force. “Highrise is far easier to use on my phone and iPad.  Tasks are easier to create and reminders are texted and emailed on the due date, ensuring I always do what I am supposed to do.  This makes me money!”

“My assistant and I also use Basecamp to track our transaction checklist.  This allows the clients to follow the process every step of the way.”  Basecamp is a project management program that allows multiple users to access shared checklists. Kendyl estimates that about 50% of her clients follow the process this closely.

Q: What does your transaction process look like?

“For transactions we use Bomb-Bomb. This tool provides clients with education on the transaction process.  We use Cartavi to collect and share documents from the cloud. We can process a transaction faster, easier and with a lot more control.- from anywhere we happen to be.  It can process paper easier and performs better on the ipad.”

Kendyl has had a 100% paperless office for 3 years.  This means that there are no files and no paper anywhere.   She says it took several years to do, but she now has every transaction from the last 12 years electronically saved.  This hard work paid off last year when a client called and asked for a closing statement from a sale that closed seven years ago.  Even though Kendyl was out in the field she was able to find the document and email it to her client within five minutes.

I asked Kendyl if she is ever concerned about losing her data.  After all, she doesn’t have a paper trail to fall back on if her hard drive fails.  Kendyl minimizes this risk by saving most things in 3 places in the cloud and has her data backed up 2 times and on a hard drive.

Q: Which tools/programs have made the biggest impact on your productivity?

Kendyl says that her iphone and ipad are her most important productivity tools.  Cloud computing has also made a big difference in her office.  Now she and her assistant can access the same content anytime, anywhere.

She is a big fan of Evernote.  Evernote is a collection tool that provides a way to capture and organize ideas, communications and tasks.  Kendyl also uses yesware.com to track her emails from gmail.  This program saves emails as templates so that you can reuse them and lets you see which emails have been read – all from within your Gmail account.

I found it interesting that Kendyl doesn’t use technology as her main lead generation method. She still prefers to meet people face to face, write snail mail and door-knock.

“Human contact in real estate is important. This is a people business and in order to build trust you need to meet face to face.”

Q: How do you and your assistant use technology to communicate and track projects?

Basecamp is the team’s go-to resource for tracking tasks and checklists.  Kendyl created very detailed checklists with sample forms in dropbox.  The system is so detailed that anyone can log in and complete a transaction from beginning to end with almost no prior experience.

“It also helps to have the right assistant.  Hanna is very flexible and she “gets me” so putting this in place with her was easy.  It just didn’t work at all with the last assistant.”

Q: Let’s talk about Social Media.  Since you were recently recognized as a “Top Tweeter” I’d like to know how Twitter and FaceBook factor into your marketing efforts.

“Social Media is still evolving as a prospecting tool.  I think it is a great way to engage with people you already know.  The important thing to keep in mind though is that you should talk about others at least 10 times more than you talk about yourself.”

Summary:  While Kendyl’s utilization of technology may be beyond what most agents will ever implement in their office there is a lot that we can learn from her. The concepts of transparency, real-time information sharing and process streamlining are ideas worth striving for.