What is the No. 1 tech challenge you are faced with?
Technology offers amazing potential for productivity and similar potential for distraction. I’ve come to learn that all clients are different when it comes to the proper approach to incorporating it into the relationship.
Are you involved in social networking (i.e., Facebook and Twitter)? If so, briefly tell us how you use it to build your business. If you are not, please tell us why.
I’ve steered clear of Facebook, but I have tried to build an active following on Twitter … with people in Pittsburgh’s art, design and nonprofit community, because that’s both my professional background and it is what’s important to me, personally.
It has helped me get to know both people and organizations I wouldn’t have otherwise. I’m established as “photographer Tim from Point Breeze who knows philanthropy, cares about what I do, and can help me buy a house,” instead of just another open-house-tweeting real estate agent.
Do you use tools to work paperlessly, like DocuSign or DotLoop? Why or why not? How important is that to you?
I’ve signed up for and become familiar with DocuSign, but haven’t found it to be an ideal fit yet for all parties. It may prove useful for out-of-town sellers or buyers for obvious reasons — we have many folks moving here from elsewhere and sellers who no longer live in Pittsburgh.
Tell us about your website and/or blog. How many leads do you generate from your site on a monthly basis? Is that an important part of your business?
I don’t maintain a business blog, but have set up detailed profile pages on the major real estate websites like Trulia, Zillow and Realtor.com, as well as LinkedIn, and make sure that all easily linked back to my dedicated page on Coldwell Banker’s Pittsburgh site.
That way I’m able to be easily contacted about not only my own listings, but also the areas and neighborhoods with which I identify.
How important do you feel content creation is to your business (i.e., social media posts, blogging, email newsletters)? Do you create content yourself or do you outsource part of it?
I always forget what the approved content mix maxim is, but I try to maintain a consistent mix of things I care about; things that are relevant for people interested in real estate, architecture and design, here and elsewhere.
My business anecdotes are about client searches, open houses, listings and sales. I also retweet liberally when it’s something that matters to me, and try to promote content from colleagues and other interested parties.
How do you balance your time? Are there any tools you use to make juggling everything easier?
By syncing my calendars on all my devices. I also try to keep a mixed schedule between the office, home office and coffee shop in the neighborhoods where I live, work and play. I had a desk job for a decade, and I remind myself that this is not one of them. Maybe most importantly, I have a wife who reminds me this need not be an all-consuming job.
What is the most important tech tool or app you use on a daily basis?
Email on iPhone and iPad keeps it from building up, since I don’t stay in one place for long.
What type of smartphone do you use?
Do you use a tablet device? How has it changed your business?
IPad — it has enabled me to bridge the gap between my phone and laptop in a way that’s both useful and efficient. I’d been trying to carry on too much business on the phone alone, and it often did a number on my eyes and patience.
I can get real work done on the iPad without lugging around a laptop, and the 3G monthly plan has helped me when I’m without Wi-Fi or on vacation. Apps like Trulia, Realtor.com and The New Yorker are useful tools on the iPhone and are now even easier to access and utilize.
I also use iBooks to organize copies of sales agreements, seller disclosures and blank paperwork to be sent out to clients. It makes it really easy to email from so I don’t have to hunt for attachments.
What is a specific lead generation campaign that you did in your local market that worked well and why?
I’m not from Pittsburgh — my wife grew up here — and I moved here from New York City, so I’ve put a lot of effort into engaging with people who are moving here from other cities, as we did three years ago. On my profile pages, LinkedIn, Twitter and in social interactions, I’ve reached out to others in a similar situation.
It has helped brand me as an outsider who can be recommended to others who may better relate to someone who is either a first-time homebuyer, new to this city, or both.