The Free Real Estate Business Success Kit - Part 1

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This is the first in a four-article series on the tools a real estate agent can put together at a very low cost to market and manage their real estate business. I'll give you the free tools, and I'll tell you about some very I'll give you the free tools, and I'll tell you about some very low-cost enhancements, less than around $0.30/day that will greatly increase their value and how you can use them.

If you don't have $0.30/day to create success in a real estate business, you may want to think about a less entrepreneurial business.

This first article is about the tool you'll most likely find to be the one you use the most in your business; email. Email has become the preferred method of business communication, and 100% of your clients should already have an email address and be proficient in using it. The days are over when the "gurus" tell you that you can't use a free email service because you MUST have branded company email address. And, if you're stuck on Microsoft Outlook, climb out of your horse and carriage and into a spaceship: Gmail.

The fact is that Gmail has for years been capable of easily checking your branded website email addresses and replying with the same From address. In other words, you can have a Gmail account like yourname@gmail.com, and it can check and reply from your branded email address at yourname@yourtownrealestate.com.

So, get past the idea that there is something second-rate about Gmail. In fact, it was years ago that I found the capabilities of Gmail far exceeded those of Outlook. I never looked back after I switched.

So, let's take a quick look at the features I value in Gmail that make it an amazing business tool, and it's FREE!

  • Uses "labels" instead of folders to file away emails. Labels are like tags, and it makes it far easier to find emails you've saved. You can assign multiple labels to an email, while you can only store it in a single folder in Outlook. I can't tell you how many times I've watched a real estate agent searching for an old email that they couldn't remember in which folder they stored it.
  • Has a "canned responses" capability. It lets you create template emails that you send often so you can pull them up and resend without having to type a new email. An example would be the question you may get often about "what are the steps in the closing process?"
  • Tens of thousands of third-party developers are creating add-ons and extensions to make Gmail even more powerful. An example we'll talk about is email tracking so that you know when an email is delivered and opened.
  • A huge free storage area in the "cloud," but with the added feature of being able to set it up to also work offline with hard drive storage.
  • Ties into a contact system for a minimalist approach to contact management.
  • Gmail is everywhere you need it when you need it. You don't need to set up anything or any "syncing." Just log into Gmail on your smartphone or tablet, and you're in your active account. If you read and file an email on your smartphone, it's read and filed everywhere.

    There is more, but those are the high points. I've been using Gmail exclusively for years and would not do anything else. I have had it checking and replying to emails from up to five different branded accounts at the same time, and I had no problem.

    So, consider the first step in getting this toolkit up and running at little or no cost to be setting up a Gmail account. If you don't want to, it will make the rest of this a bit more difficult.