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“Technology is changing everything!” When was the last time you heard this? Well, guess what? It’s still true, and as we make our way through 2012, your inbox will continue to be flooded with opportunities to own the latest and greatest “must-have” technology tools. But while emerging technology will always “change everything,” it also has the capacity to suck away your time and energy and cause you to lose focus on the most important things in your life and business.

Let’s take a look at social media as just one example. Social media has taken not only the real estate industry, but the entire world, by storm. The concept of social media as a tool for business is a solid concept, and the premise of regularly staying in front of your clients has enormous value. However, the time spent in front of the computer posting comments minute-by-minute as to what you are doing, at the expense of face-to-face contacting and prospecting, is a huge mistake:

“I love Starbucks.”
“Just walked my dog.”
“Listed another house today.”
“Man, I hate this weather!”

While these things may be of interest to a few people, let’s get real here. The entire concept that anyone is interested in your up-to-the-minute escapades and personal play-by-play is somewhat arrogant and entirely self-serving. Rather than pushing your agenda and hoping people love what you have to say, focus instead on relationships and what is important to the reader.

I’m not saying that everything you post should be all about business—to the contrary, it’s important to have balance in your communications. And don’t get me wrong; I closed over a million dollars in real estate in 2011 as a direct result of social media, but the strategy involved is simple and required less than 12 minutes of my time per day.

There are two primary activities that an agent should focus on if they really want their business to grow and be profitable in 2012. The first is prospecting. That’s right, finding people who want to buy and sell real estate. I know that seems obvious, but you’d be surprised how many agents have stopped proactively prospecting. Prospecting is not necessarily easy, but it can be simplified and improved with technology. The activity of real prospecting, for a minimum of three hours a day, will produce greater results than any Facebook post, Twitter tweet or blog message you could ever write.

The second most important activity is presenting. Once you have prospected a potential buyer or seller, it is now your responsibility to blow them away with your incredible presentation. High-tech tools, such as the iPad or other tablet computers, are not only cool, they can be the deciding factor in a seller choosing you over another agent. Today, the paperless listing presentation is a reality, and our ability to share live information with sellers to establish the actual potential selling price of a home is critical.

Technology plays a critical role in both prospecting and presenting and has the ability to create efficiencies in our business that allow us to accomplish much more than these two primary tasks. But high-tech tools can be a distraction—a double-edged sword—if our time is focused on the technology itself, rather than the outcome or the ROI of your valuable time.

My simple advice is to analyze what you have, measure the results, and keep your eyes open for tools that will help you create more opportunities to efficiently prospect and professionally present. The end result will be more profits and more time for the real important things in life.

Verl Workman is a speaker, coach and business consultant.

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