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RISMEDIA, June 28, 2010—Ever wonder why Hollywood is chock-full of actors? Or why the shore towns of Alaska are teaming with fishermen? The answer is simple – if you’re a lumberjack, you go where the forests are.

The question is, as a real estate agent, are you going where the forests are; that is, where your clients are? Because more often than not, your clients are online, not staring at a bus stop bench with your face plastered on it.

Real estate is often pegged as a notoriously analog world, and who can blame them? Reams of paper, desk drawers full of paperclips and Bic pens, and–can you believe it?–fax machines. In the age of online banking and purchasing your latest car through eBay, expecting a client to use these archaic technologies is as about as anachronistic as you writing a letter using a lithograph.

Of course, the smart agents understand this. The smart agents know that 80% of all home sales are with first time home buyers, whose median age is 30. These are the same home buyers who are updating their Facebook and Twitter accounts and are using their cell phones as texting tools. Smart agents are right there beside them, engaging clients on their turf (the Internet) using their tools (smart phones).

Smart agents know where the forests are, and the industry at large is starting to catch up. Paperless solutions are becoming more prominent and some brokerages are even foregoing manila folders and expensive storage cabinets altogether. Even traditional faxing is going the way of the dodo, with electronic fax services creating a stepping stone for a completely paperless transaction.

Technology, of course, comes and goes. Some agents may remember the must-have item of 1987—a car phone. But the principles of real estate remain the same: engage your client and get to know your client—on their terms, not yours.

However, even though the tools will never replace that one-on-one connection, you still need the right tools to begin with in order to foster that connection.

Smart agents know that if they are connecting with a client at a bus stop, it’s only because they’re texting them on their cell phone.

Three Ways to Be Seen on a Computer Screen

If you’re playing hide and seek with your clients, here are three ways you can join and engage with them online.

– Facebook – Almost a quarter of all Web traffic goes through Facebook, making it a great place to not only socialize with your clients online, but to also listen. Use Facebook as a sounding board and ask your clients questions about their favorite menu item at the local pizzeria, their favorite dog parks, or see if anyone has moved into the new condominium complex downtown. You may be surprised by what your clients think is important to them.

– LinkedIn – A professional Facebook, LinkedIn is a great avenue to post industry or neighborhood-specific articles or information. Use LinkedIn to establish and solidify your reputation as someone who knows what they’re talking about.

– Blog – A personal blog allows you to express yourself and gives you a chance to let your clients see your human side. Writing a blog does require some forethought and dedication, but a few hundred honest words every few days can go a long way in establishing trust within your local community.

DotLoop was designed specifically to overcome the challenges of the traditional real estate negotiation process. DotLoop marries the technological with the traditional, creating a collaborative online environment that uses the Internet as a tool agents can use to connect with their clients, saving them time and money. Our system allows the agent and client the ability to interact on their own terms, dissolving distance and sending fax machines further into obsolescence.

For more information, visit