Oct. 22, 2011
Is Outlook the best contact manager for me?
I guess the answer to this is this: Outlook is both easy and "complex" at the same time. Most of the time it seems very easy because so many of us have used it to manage our email, and maybe used the calendar and possibly the tasks. But, using just the email portion of it has at least made most people fairly comfortable with what it looks like. So, in that, most of the time I can say Outlook is easy. 1/2 an hour to an hour of training, and you should be able to use Outlook to manage your email, set appointments and tasks, add new contacts, and that's about it. For some, if it can do that, then all is good. It doesn't get much more simple than Outlook for that stuff.
But, moving to any system, Outlook or whatever it is, is going to involve some amount of pain... not severe in the case of Outlook, but still, some if you want to really get a lot out of it. Because Outlook is part of Office, a suite of products that work together... and it becomes a little more complex because of that. But Outlook can and is used all by itself. I always suggest at least Word be added, but it isn't 100% necessary.
There probably is some kind of simple contact management system out there that might be considered "the easiest" ... but if so, that means that it has to lack the abilities you, as a real estate agent, need to make your actual job easier. Fighting a database manager every day doesn't help you make sales, get new clients, or bottom line, make money. A large number of people find Top Producer difficult. You aren't alone if that describes you.
I wish I had a good answer. We chose Outlook to build on because the vast majority of people who have or need a contact manager, have Outlook installed and many are already using it. So the hardest part, having something familiar to start from, is already taken care of... no scary new interface to learn or figure out. It sync's with any PDA, by default. If you want to sync your phone and add a zero cost to do it, Outlook is the way.
What works best for one person, isn't the answer for another. I know Outlook like the back of my own hand... I should, I've been using it since it was released. It may work well for you. You can download and install a free copy of Office from the Microsoft web site if you don't have one... I think it works for 60 days... long enough to give it a try... and cheap enough (it's a free trial) that if you don't like it, just uninstall and it's done.
Every situation is different... what yours is can only be answered by you. And I won't kid you, I am biased in favor of Outlook as I have used it for years and honestly consider it to be one of the best basic contact management systems you can get. With our product, RealeSeller, installed on top of Outlook... you can do just about anything.
I have a recent movie of a class you might want to watch to see how it works inside Outlook. This was done with Outlook 2007 & the latest version of RealeSeller installed:
Introduction To RealeSeller
Used in combination with a Microsoft Exchange Server mailbox, you can share everything as a team or just share the data with a couple of computers, one at work and one at home. It's great and you even have access through a web browser to your calendar, contacts, tasks and appointments online anywhere.
RealeSeller™ Transforms Outlook Into a "Genuine Real Estate CRM Application"
Our Online RealeSeller training classes are FREE!
Phone: (972) 514-3218
Blog: The Real Blog
Movie: Introduction to RealeSeller