The Basics

Keeping records of your clients and your appointments can be done in a number of ways. The method you use is less important than the fact that you have a method. Find what works best for you and record information consistently. There are two main options for keeping track of your clients, each with its own set of positive and negative features: electronic record keeping and paper record keeping.

Electronic

Many agents work with a personal digital assistant, or PDA. This piece of equipment is actually a hand-held computer. It keeps everything at your fingertips: your contact list, their information, your calendar and any appointments you may have, as well as your to-do list. The advanced PDA also doubles as a cellular phone and digital camera. A PDA also interfaces with your computer. This means that all the information on the PDA can be downloaded and stored on your computer. If you do use a PDA, it is best to back it up to your main computer at least once a day.

There are many different PDAs on the market and some can even display your MLS information. Check with your local association to see what brands have the technology to work in conjunction with your MLS. There are many popular brands and some less-known PDAs. The names you will hear most often are Palm Pilot, Pocket PC, BlackBerry, and Psion. Spend some time researching each one and find the PDA that has features you find easy to use. If it is too complicated for you, you will probably not use it often.

Paper

If the idea of learning how to use a PDA intimidates you, or if you are not ready to spend the money on one, it is still important to keep track of everything. You can do this with a calendar, a notepad, and an address book. The best type of paper format is a daily planner, where all these tools are together in one book.

It is best to keep the planner with you at all times. This will allow you to retrieve phone numbers while you are out, add appointments to your calendar, and add notes to your to-do list.

Alert

Alert You should only have one calendar. All your appointments, whether personal or business, should be in the same place. You do not want to accidentally have a listing presentation and a doctor's appointment at the same time!

Because you will be carrying it with you all the time, be sure your planner is of a size and type that is convenient for you. Do you need an oversized planner so that you remember to carry it or a small planner that will fit into a briefcase or purse? Decide what will work for you and use it faithfully. Every office supply store carries a number of different styles.

You can also check into the most popular brands such as Day Timer, Day Runner, Franklin Planner, and Tax Reduction Institute Diary. Many of these have software programs that work just like the written version. Once you get used to the system, you can easily convert to an electronic system later. Of course, you will have to add everything from the written format into the electronic version but, if you are organized, this should not be too time consuming.

Combination Electronic and Paper Many agents use a combination of electronic and paper organizers to keep track of their clients. They will have all their client and customer contact information on their main computer, and keep the phone numbers stored in their cell phone as well. These agents may carry an appointment book or calendar with them, but they will leave the to-do list in an electronic form on their office computer or on a yellow pad at their desk where they can cross off items as they complete them. Having your to-do list in one place, rather than on hundreds of sticky notes, will usually keep you from missing an important item.

ssential

ssential Any record-keeping system or combination of systems can be used. The secret is to use the system you choose consistently. No system works if you don't use it!

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