Buying a New Tech Tool? The First Question to Ask

November 15 2013

laptop tabletI consider myself a very open-minded person, but try to convince me to switch from Mac to PC, for example, and I'm going to dig in my heels. I'm not alone; most of the people you meet are committed to their marriages, their families, their careers, and their operating system. So when you're choosing any technology product, your first question needs to be whether or not it will work with your OS.

Real Estate and Mac

You can't exactly describe the relationship between the real estate industry and Apple computers as a love affair, but they're certainly warming up to each other. As more agents purchase Apple computers, more vendors are developing solutions that work on the Mac OS. However, there is a lot of real estate software that will not work.

"You need to make sure that the solution you choose is 100% Mac and Safari-compatible and syncs with Mac Address Book and iCal," says Matthew Collis of IXACT Contact. "Some CRMs claim to be 'almost' Apple compatible but have features that only work on a Windows PC." The company read the writing on the wall and developed their real estate CRM to work on both Mac and PC.

So what's a Mac to do? You can dig through your options until you find a solution that's built specifically for Apple. You can find a product that was built for PC, and then tweaked a bit to fit Mac (with some features or functionality missing). Or, you can find a Web-based tool that works on any operating system.

Web-Based Solutions

Web-based solutions do not require software to be installed on your computer. They live online, so you access them through your computer's browser. This means you can use them no matter where you are, as long as you have Internet access.

As well, your data is safer when stored "in the cloud" because it's backed up daily and protected by advanced security measures far beyond any security protection you could have on your personal computer.

Some agents think that a web-based solution costs more money, because there's a monthly or yearly fee involved rather than a one-time payment. But in reality, web-based solutions are more cost-effective long term.

"When you pay to own a system, you also have to pay for software upgrades and product support, and this adds up – big time. With web-based systems, free support and upgrades are usually included," says Collis.

There is one thing to consider if you're choosing a web-based solution – you need to check that it is browser-agnostic (will work on any Web browser). Some Web-based tools won't work on Safari, for example, and if you're attached to your browser as well as your OS, you won't want to switch.

While you're asking questions about a web-based solution, you can also check that it will work on the iPad. Although you'd think that a browser-based tool would work on any Internet-enabled device, the truth is that they need to be optimized for mobile if you want to use the browser on your iPad or iPhone.

Best Tool, Best Platform

In a perfect world, says Collis, you'd look at each solution independently and find the option with the best features for you. He explains, "If you're buying a CRM, you shouldn't have to ask, 'Is this the best CRM for Mac and iPad?' You should simply ask, 'Is this the best CRM?'" He continues, "You shouldn't have to choose between your operating system of choice and the best technology available."

If a CRM is one of the solutions you're considering for your iOS devices, Collis suggests asking the following questions to ensure that the product is compatible with your operating system:

  • Does it include detailed contact profiles with fields such as as birthdays, spouse and children info, and interests (important fields for relationship-building)?
  • Does it have pre-designed drip marketing campaigns and listing and closing activity plans?
  • Does it have robust transaction management features?
  • Does it include a professionally designed and written monthly e-Newsletter?
  • Does it include real estate specific email and letter templates?
  • Does it have email campaign reporting capabilities to view email bounces, opens, and clicks?
  • Will it sync with the built in calendar and contact list in my iPhone and iPad?
  • Does it come with free product upgrades?
  • Does it come with free and unlimited customer support?
  • Will it sync with my Mac Address Book and iCal?
  • Is it compatible with all web browsers, such as Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, and Safari?
  • Is every feature 100% Mac supported?

About IXACT Contact
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