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Secrets from a Tech Trainer

December 02 2013

laptopThe key to success with any technology tool is using it properly. Smart tech companies have recognized this fact and offer substantive training programs to ensure adoption and product loyalty. Technology training specialists play a crucial role in keeping the company healthy and the consumers happy.

We were interested in learning more about this side of our industry, so we interviewed a volunteer from zipLogix®, Product Trainer Cassandra Davis. Davis conducts regular live training sessions and user group forums for zipLogix® users, and works with brokerages and associations nationwide to provide tools to help real estate professionals leverage online tools and work toward paperless transactions.

Here are some valuable takeaways from our conversation with Cassandra.

1) Why do you think it's important for real estate professionals to learn about the technology they use?

It makes their lives easier. Of course, most agents know they can save time if they learn about shortcuts in zipForm® like the Fast Fill option, but few realize they can also access tools to reduce their risk and improve their client's satisfaction with the transaction until after they have attended a training.

There are a lot of technology tools that can help agents through every file. Learning about the tools built in to the software they use every day can help agents improve the transaction experience for themselves and for their buyers and sellers. The training tools provided by zipLogix® can help agents to learn how to leverage the technology they already have, from reducing risk with saved clauses to face to face online meetings with zipConsult®.

2) What are the best ways for real estate agents to learn about technology?

Try it! zipLogix® programs are easy to use, and often come with unlimited transaction options, so there is a lot of room to try something new. I believe in learning one new thing every day. With technology, these don't have to be big things that agents learn. Our Quick Start PDF GuidesQuick Start PDF Guides and short two-minute tech tips are proof of that! Agents can learn on their terms, in their time. Whether they are interested in spending a day learning about the different zipLogix® tools and features through detailed webinarswebinars, or just looking to find a new tip to save time, zipLogix® has training resources for every real estate professional.

3) Do you prefer live webinars or recorded webinars? Why?

Both! It really depends upon what kind of learner you are. Many agents getting started in using zipLogix® tools like to watch recorded videosrecorded videos (webinars) on YouTube. You can pause, rewind and follow along on your own account to learn each and every step. But the live webinars have two distinct advantages:

  • You can ask questions
  • You can't procrastinate.

If you are registered for a live webinar, you're committing to that time and that subject. You also have the opportunity to ask questions at any point during the session, and to benefit from other questions asked at the session. As an instructor, I always learn from the question and answer sessions at the end of each webinar, so I know attendees must be learning, too.

4) If an agent is planning on attending a webinar, what should they do to prepare?

Try to join the webinar at least five minutes in advance, to ensure that you have time to test your system, if necessary. Make sure your computer speakers are on (or you have called in to the conference line) so that you can hear the training while watching the shared screen.

Set yourself up to view the webinar in a location with few distractions. It is a live online class, and you are often attending alongside hundreds of colleagues from across the nation. While all questions are answered, and many topics are reviewed during the question and answer at the end, you will have a better experience and learn more if you turn off your phone, close your email, and can focus on the training.

Finally, make sure you know the time the training will start in your time zone. Our national trainings are posted in Eastern Time, but you can receive the training reminders in your time by clicking the "View in my time zone" link when signing up.

5) What are the technical requirements for your webinars? What software or hardware do agents need to attend?

Agents need an Internet connection (high speed is best) and a computer or viewing device (such as an iPad). If it is the first time attending a webinar, the agent might be prompted to download and run the GoToWebinar plugin for their operating system. You can view our webinar system requirements herehere.

We make sure that any users who can use zipForm® can also attend our webinars, but if any agent has any difficulty, they can also view recordings of the webinars and other trainings on our YouTube channelYouTube channel.

6) Can you attend a webinar using a tablet or smartphone?

Absolutely! However, we do recommend using at least a tablet (such as an iPad), since viewing the shared screen on a smartphone might be challenging.

7) Walk us through a typical webinar. What do you cover? How long does it take?

Our most popular webinar is currently the webinar that helps agents get started with zipForm® Plus. Agents are thrilled to learn that the new zipForm® Plus upgrade is free for all zipForm® 6 Professional users, and they want to get started using it as fast as possible.

The training covers opening zipForm® Plus from a zipForm® 6 Professional account, browsing existing files, and the steps to create a new file in zipForm® Plus. These trainings attract attendees from across the United States and Mexico, so I know that attendees all come from different backgrounds (and time zones!), and I try to include something for everyone in the training.

Even though the session covers the basics, it also includes tips that can help more advanced users save time. We include instructions on how to use the Cover_Sheet form to fill out transaction information in one shot, how to insert clause text into form fields, how to fax forms directly from zipForm®, and how to start sending documents for electronic signatures using DocuSign® or zipLogix Digital Ink®.

This webinar lasts about 45 minutes, although there can be up to 45 minutes of additional question and answer after the official training is complete.

8) Do you think online training (like webinars, online help directories, etc.) is effective even if it isn't in-person?

Absolutely. In fact, I regularly hear from agents who learn more through the online trainings and videos because they are able to review the training at their convenience. With a live training, there is one chance to see the training. Agents have hectic schedules and often need to meet with the client at a moment's notice. By using the online training and training materials, agents can learn what they need to learn when they need to learn it.

9) Can agents ask questions during a webinar? What would you say to a tech-challenged agent who feels nervous about asking a question during a webinar?

Yes! I love the questions that I get during the live webinars. They let me know that people are listening, and that everything is going well with the training. Attendees should know that the questions they type in are always answered, but the answers are only made public if it is a question and answer that will benefit everyone (which it often is). I've been training across the United States for over five years now, both in person and online, and the best part of training is always the questions that I get from the attendees.

If someone is feeling especially shy, they can always email me directly during or after the training. Many training attendees do reach out with their questions, and I'm always happy to hear questions and feedback from anyone attending one of my training sessions or viewing a recording of one online.

10) What are the biggest technology stumbling blocks you hear from agents?

The most difficult stumbling block for agents to overcome is usually the challenge of getting over their uncertainty about technology. Our online webinars, PDF guides, and training materials are designed to make the technology less frightening and more accessible. Whether it is an at-a-glance guide that helps an agent feel confident in the location of key tools, a detailed white paper on the security of digital signatures, or an online training that goes through advanced features, agents can use the training tools from zipLogix® to overcome any stumbling block.

About Training from zipLogix

zipLogix offers the following training options:

About Cassandra Davis

ziplogix trainer cassandraCassandra Davis is the national trainer and instructional designer for zipLogix®, creators of zipForm®, the Exclusive and Official Forms Software of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. She provides the public training, communication, and instructional materials for zipLogix® products and zipLogix® Certified Trainers.

In 2005, Davis helped to launch relay® Transaction Management to provide paperless filing solutions to for real estate professionals. She joined the zipLogix® team in 2007, and has designed the training and support materials for the nationwide launches of zipForm® 6, zipForm® Plus, zipForm® Mobile Web Edition, zipLogix Digital Ink®, zipVault®, and zipConsult®. She regularly speaks at state and national real estate conventions to help agents learn how to complete real estate transactions electronically.

Davis graduated with high honors from New York University, where she was a University Scholar. She currently lives in California, where she spends her spare time volunteering in the education department at the Aquarium of the Pacific and teaching urban stewardship through the Los Angeles-based non-profit, TreePeople.

To get in touch with Cassandra, you can email her directly at [email protected].