It's here to stay and if anything, methodically advancing forward and providing us with so many opportunities we are sometimes overwhelmed to the point of confusion. Technology is what we are talking about.
Yet, most people don't even take advantage of the technology they currently have. Technology has changed the way we live. The key is to remember is that technology is a tool, which we can use and control. If you are one of the many people who are dazed by the exhausting array of technological gizmos let's take a step back and look at the basics of this "techie" thing.
1. Use what you have: The object of technology is to help you do things more efficiently so you can increase your effectiveness, productivity and profit. Don't be afraid of technology...instead take full advantage of the technology that's in your life already. Are you using all of the features of your cell phone or your office phone? Can you program your VCR so you can watch exactly what you want and when you want to watch it?
2. Choose your computer and software: When you are thinking of buying or upgrading your computer or software here's the best way to make sure you get what you really need. First, list everything you want your computer to do. Talk to others including friends and business associates to find out what computer they are using and why. Read some computer magazines for the reviews and ratings of various computer companies, products, software and services. Decide which software you will be using and choose your computer based on the software you will be using. Now, you'll know you are getting right computer for you.
Laptop or Desktop: This choice, like many others pertaining to technology, has to do with what you want and need. If you want to bring your data into the field and use your computer on presentations a laptop is essential. In reality, however, very few of the Mortgage Professionals I know who bought a laptop to do presentations are actually using them.
My idea is to use both. You can bring a laptop; use it for some of your visuals or just to show them that you are "hip" to the latest "tech" stuff. If you are part of a company that has their own digital presentation you're all set. The extra cost of a laptop makes sense if you use it to do business away from your office. If not, you can save a bundle and have a great computer from one of the many reputable vendors out there. One thing I did learn a couple of summers ago with many power outages caused by hurricanes hitting Florida, was that my laptop enabled me to stay in business by simply moving it to a temporary location that had power and internet service. It's amazing how many people will allow you to hook-up for a short time to check your email and conduct a little business. This inherent backup capability has convinced me that I will always have a laptop.
3. Using the old and the new: Your computer gives you access to an incredible amount of information but you don't want to lug it around and boot it up every time you're looking for a phone number. What's a Mortgage Professional to do? Use your contact management program to store your names, phone numbers, wants, needs, etc. Then print a hard copy report of your calendar for that day and to-do list with appointments etc. During the day, make notes on the report and when you get back to your computer, be sure to update the file reflect the changes you need. No need to throw out the old when you bring in the new.
4. Saving time using technology: The other day I generated a mailing to over 1000 customers and prospects. This simple task would have me taken days for me to accomplish had it not been for my computer system. And yes, I do have an expensive laser color printer as a part of my home system. Balance your system with the peripherals you need to fully utilize the information you have collected.
5. Create your Web presence: You can easily promote your business on the Web and know that people around the world will have access to your services. It's because the internet gives more people access to more "stuff" than any other forum in the world. Make sure you tie your personal website in with your company's site if at all possible. The search engines will find your web site and so will your potential customers.
6. Money management: One aspect of the "business" world most Mortgage Professionals neglect is money management. Using a financial program will help you in three powerful ways. It will give you a faster way to do your banking and pay your bills. This will save you so much time and energy writing checks, balancing your accounts etc. In addition you will easily track your spending, assets, debits and bills plus create budgets, projections and scenarios for your monetary future. Finally when tax time comes around all you need to do is give your accountant the information or import it into one of the tax preparation programs.
Technology covers so many aspects of our life. For you, the key is to focus on the technology in your mortgage business and maximize your benefits. You'll find that with a little determination and effort you can reap some great technological rewards.
Tom Domin is the author of "101 Ways to Originate Mortgages" and publisher of "Tom's Mortgage Tips" a twice monthly Mortgage Newsletter geared for Mortgage Professionals. Increase your pipeline and put your mortgage career on the fast track and sign-up for FREE at http://www.MortgageMarketingToolKit.com.