Maybe you got one because you liked the idea of staying connected even while out of the office. Maybe you were drawn in by all the exciting “apps.” Or maybe it was the best deal when it came time to upgrade your cell phone. Whatever the reason for its purchase, if you have a smartphone (one that offers more advanced computing fuctions) are you making the best use of it to help your business?
Real estate professionals are especially likely to be aided by a smartphone. Rarely are they tied to a desk all day, and even more rarely do they work a “normal” 9 to 5 schedule.
Here are 6 functions that might make your job a bit easier:
- Email – Having mobile access to email is often one of the primary attractions of a smartphone. If your company email doesn’t support mobile phone use you may be able to log into your webmail account using the internet browser on your phone. Alternatively you may be able to auto forward a copy of each email to a gmail or other personal address that you will be able to receive on your phone. Check with your company to be sure this is permitted.
- The MLS – Stay on top of new listings by keeping the MLS at your fingertips. Access it through your web browser or through one of the many available MLS Applications. A company called Smarter Agent has even created an MLS App you can customize with your name and logo and offer to your clients.
- Social Networking – If you are using Facebook, Twitter, FourSquare, or any other social networking platforms in order to stay in front of your clients you are probably aware that these tools are only successful when you continue to provide current and interesting content. Stay connected using your smartphone and you can update your status or weigh in on a conversation on the go.
- GPS – Never wander aimlessly looking for that hard to find listing appointment again. Download a GPS Application and let your mobile phone lead you right to the front door.
- Mortgage Calculator – Help your clients understand the financial implications of an offer they are considering or figure out which price range to be looking in with an online mortgage calculator. Pull it up on your smartphone’s browser or use an available application so you can run the numbers over coffee or between showing appointments.
- Appointments, Reminders, To Do List – Make use of your phone’s more basic functions such as the calendar and note application to keep tabs on your busy schedule. You can often sync the data with the information on your desktop computer.
Before you launch into some of these suggestions check with your mobile phone company to be sure you know what is included in your current service plan, and what will cause you to incur additional charges. If you find that you can’t use some of the functions that would be most useful and increase your productivity it might be worth upgrading your plan.
Two added words of caution:
- Try to set limits for your smartphone use. We all try to achieve balance in our lives, and as any busy real estate professional knows, this is a difficult task. Your smartphone can help you in that effort, or make it tougher. Strive to use it to make your days more efficient, not to allow you to work around the clock. When you find yourself answering emails during an anniversary dinner, or checking listing appointments during your daughter’s ballet recital, you know it may be time to hit the power button.
- As tempting as it might be with an offer coming in or a closing blowing up, never email, text, or browse the internet while driving. Use a hands free device when making phone calls, or better yet, wait until you’ve reached your destination.