By Maria Patterson
While implementing the right technology strategy is essential for any business professional, let’s face it…the options and process can be overwhelming. That’s exactly why Dell’s David Rodriguez is placing new emphasis on guiding real estate professionals toward creating the best possible tech solution for their specific needs—whether you’re an individual REALTOR® or a power broker running a multi-office firm. In this interview, Rodriguez explains how he worked with the National Association of REALTORS® to develop an enhanced program for its members, and how Dell’s latest offerings help real estate entrepreneurs of all levels conduct business more efficiently and effectively.
Maria Patterson: For starters, David, please tell us about your role at Dell.
David Rodriguez: I started with Dell in 2002 after several years in the financial services industry. During my tenure at Dell, I’ve held several diverse leadership positions while working directly with our customers. I have a passion for finding business solutions designed for U.S. home builders and regional contractors, to diverse distributors in South East Asia, China and India. Today, I have the great privilege to lead our Professional Associations relationship sales team. In my role as NA Small Business sales director, Global Commercial Channels, I provide technology solutions to small and medium businesses in the largest verticals such as Accounting, Banking, Legal, Services and Real Estate.
MP: When did Dell become involved with the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) and the REALTOR Benefits® Program?
DR: Interesting story. A few years back, my mentor asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up and I told him that I wanted to lead a sales team that serves entrepreneurs and business owners. He gave me the best advice: “You need to become a controller in order to learn how to successfully serve customers while building a profitable business.” Early last year, after a stint as a Global Channel Business Controller, I was given the opportunity to do just that by taking on our Professional Associations partnerships. With a focus on reinvigorating and innovation, my team and I set out a strategy that would better serve our customers in this area. NAR has the largest member base and has been a great partner for Dell over the past decade, so I naturally reached out to their executive leadership to truly understand the needs of their one million-plus members. We spent much of the year building an enhanced program with NAR and showcased it at NAR’s Annual Conference & Expo.
MP: Why is the real estate industry an important sector for Dell to focus on?
DR: At Dell, we understand that the right technology can make a significant difference for businesses looking to grow. We believe that supporting small businesses is the key to strengthening our economy. Now that the recession is behind us, it’s great to see that the real estate industry is really growing. A thriving housing market is vital to every community across the country. With Dell’s end-to-end solutions, REALTORS® and leading brokers are better able to stay ahead of the competition and get more done in a day—helping fuel their business and our economy.
MP: Please describe some of the advantages REALTORS® can enjoy through Dell’s involvement in the REALTOR Benefits® Program.
DR: Entrepreneurship is part of our DNA. Entrepreneurial spirit is among the most important guiding principles at Dell—it ultimately leads to more innovation, motivation and a better understanding of the needs of small businesses.
We are proud to work with the National Association of REALTORS® and participate in the REALTOR Benefits® Program to provide technology advice and expertise to members. Through the direct relationships we have with real estate industry leaders, we continue to identify ways to better serve the real estate community. Dell offers free technology consultation from our experienced technology advisors and exclusive member discounts to REALTORS®.
In addition, our newly launched Dell Center of Entrepreneurs offers the real estate and small business community an online destination filled with resources, expertise and solutions—designed by and for entrepreneurs.
MP: With so many choices and options available, how do you guide real estate professionals when it comes to selecting the best products for their particular needs?
DR: The needs of REALTORS® and brokers are constantly changing. To best address the most critical needs and identify ways technology can help you stay competitive, it’s important to find the right solution for each customer. This is why we offer a free technology consultation to real estate professionals. The right technology is not always “one size fits all.” For a solution to really make an impact for customers, it should be designed to fit the unique needs of that business.
MP: What are some of the most popular Dell products and services among real estate professionals?
DR: What we hear most from real estate professionals is that they need technology that enables them to be more mobile and access everything they need, anywhere, at any time. Dell mobile products like the XPS 13 and XPS 12 Convertible, combined with Cloud services, provide a secure mobile solution that allows real estate professionals to have all the information they need to do business, whether they are at the office or out with clients.
Some of our most popular products with REALTORS® include: the XPS 13 Ultrabook; the XPS 12 Convertible Ultrabook™; Dell Precision Workstations; Dell OptiPlex Desktops; Dell Latitude Laptops; Dell PowerEdge Servers; Dell Mobile Projector; and PowerConnect Switches.
MP: How can Dell products help REALTORS® and power brokers conduct business more efficiently and effectively?
DR: REALTORS® should look into mobility solutions that leverage the Cloud. Given the rapid proliferation of Cloud applications, it can be hard to tell which apps are reliable, scalable and secure. By partnering with Dell, the uncertainty is removed since we rigorously evaluate every application we offer to help ensure it provides the functionality, reliability, and security that growing businesses need. Through Dell’s partnership with trusted vendors such as salesforce.com, Pardot, Adobe, and AppExtremes, we provide customers with trusted Cloud software, including: sales force automation; marketing automation; customer service and support automation; eSignature and eProposal applications.
For power broker firms, being more effective often comes from implementing the right back-office solutions that integrate with the technology they already have in place today. The amount of data many firms have or need to access is growing exponentially. With Dell Storage Solutions, information is secure, easy to access, manage and analyze—all while creating valuable insights and increasing efficiency.
MP: Generally speaking, why is it critical for REALTORS® to be up to speed on the latest developments in technology?
DR: Technology is changing, innovating and improving all the time. Outdated technology devices often have more issues and operate slower, consuming more of a real estate professional’s day. With more time spent on technology, there is less for perusing leads. Time really is money, and technology should make you more efficient, not less. Technology should be seen as an investment for your business, saving time and money in the short term and enabling more opportunities in the future.
MP: What plans does Dell have to further expand its efforts/services for the real estate community?
DR: In addition to continuing our relationship with NAR, we are exploring opportunities beyond our current online resources and services to do more in-person engagement in local communities—bringing tips and advice on technology solutions directly to members through local National Association of REALTORS® chapter events.
For more information, visit www.dell.com/nar.
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