Use ACT, without a doubt. - Posted by js-Indianapolis
Posted by js-Indianapolis on August 24, 2003 at 16:38:09:
I’ve used ACT for a LONG time now. Here’s what I do, which is just about the same thing you are looking for:
-Preforeclosures, Absentee owner leads, Eviction leads etc.
I have now gone beyond entering data, and am looking at automatically entering leads from online sites, and people who fill out the seller form on my website. Dealing with people who have email has saved me oodles of time. In fact, I start off now by asking people to go fill out my seller form, if they haven’t already. I use a program called “Web Prospect” to automatically dump their info into a new contact. There’s another program I’ve used, Egrabber, with limited success. It’s more flexible, but more complex as well. For leads that aren’t online, you’re stuck to typing them in. OR, my next move, a pen scanner, that scans lines of text, and later dumps them into fields. How nice would it be to only take a pen scanner into the courthouse?
Randy is right on about using groups. Learn how to use them to the fullest. I’ve got groups for buyers, sellers, vacants, foreclosures, FSBO’s, etc. The best part about groups is that you can put one contact into multiple groups. ie: a foreclosure can also be in the vacant groups, and FSBO, etc.
-and tie each of those categories to a direct marketing program, letters and postcards.
I use an “activity string” for each. It’s simple to set up through act, and you just enter what course of action you want to take, and then attach dates and alarms to pop up. I’ve changed mine about a million times, but I think the way it’s going now, is right on. New contacts get a generic “find this person”, and then there are activities after to call, and do mailings. As far as automatic, it’s not quite there yet. However, you can attach a macro to do just that. So far, I just check my activities tab each day, and see a list of people I need to mail or call. Click the activity, then click the dialer, and a dialer calls the number, and opens a log for notes. Also records a history, with time stamped. Ultra handy. Or, you can choose a template you create for letters, and it will dump any fields you want in it. ie: Dear , I’m writing about your property at . I might be able to pay the $ and other liens. You get the idea. Whatever you want to throw in, to make it look like you typed it. The next step I’m going to add is uploading to USPS.com those who need a postcard. For $.27 each, they’ll take an email with a tab delimited file (simple to do in ACT), and turn that data into your preapproved postcard, and mail it. Cheaper than the cost of a stamp, and I’m not printing, or licking envelopes and stamps.
Now, there are some other nifty things I’ve worked into the program. First off, you can use caller ID to locate a contact when they call, and record a history of that call. When the phone rings, and ACT is running, it automatically goes to that contact. I have so many leads, I have no clue anymore who anyone is when they call and say, “This is Joe Seller”. However, if I look at my screen, there’s their address, all those call histories, and even a picture of the house, if I’ve been there. I can say, ?Hey, Joe, it?s been a week, what?s up??
Oh yeah, you can attach any pictures, emails, contracts, etc, to that contact. They’re all there, one place, no digging through folders to find them. Of course, these files are all over my hard drive, in various folders, but ACT links them to one page. Think of it as a web page for each contact. I couldn?t even be in this business without that. I’m the world?s most disorganized person on paper. Gimmee a computer though, and I can organize somehow.
Speaking of web pages, I’ve got the coolest thing ever that I just found recently for ACT. So cool, in fact, I’m afraid to share it with the general public here as my competition might use it. OH well, this is so long already, there’s probably about 2 people who will get this far. Here’s the scoop.
There’s a little known tweak you can add to access web pages with forms, and enter a contact’s info. I’ve got tons of these set up now, so I never have to reenter contact info on web searches. Things like maps, directions, people searches, online property cards, tax assessor’s info, and any other site with a form. It would be too complicated to explain how to set it up, but I’ll tell you this. I now can enter a vacant house address, and with the click of a button, do a reverse search for the owner’s phone number on whitepages.com, or other sites with forms. Or, enter a name of someone in foreclosure, and search for their phone number. Need tax info? My county is online, and one click can run four different reports giving me just what I need. When I have an appointment, I just click on the map link now, and I get directions from my house to theirs. Again, everything I’m trying to do with ACT is AUTOMATE. I’m not into retying, and clicking around to 10 websites to find a number, map, property and tax info, etc. Next step will come after I get MLS access. I could easily automate entering the area, bedroom, bath, and square footage info into fields on the online MLS page, and get comps with the click of a mouse. Beats waiting for my realtor to get back to me.
OK, I’m spent.
I could probably double the size of this with all the things I do in ACT. It has taken a long time to tweak it into what I need. That’s going to be with any database. I’m just talking about adding fields, and changing the layout, so it looks good to me. The other extras are just added, as I’ve needed them. I’m always finding more things to automate my business. Right now, everything is semi auto.
Go get a free download at www.act.com. Then, check out www.actaddons.com for some things that will make your life easier. So far I’ve used EGrabber, Web Prospect, and Active Relations.
Suppose I should tell you about Active Relations, if you?re working preforeclosures. It adds another tab to your contact, where you can link this contact to any other in your database. So now, when I see that Bank One holds the first on Joe Seller’s foreclosure, I just click, and it pops up Bank One’s contact. This is useful, because now, looking at Bank One, I might see they are also holding the first on some other short sales I’m working on, and I can talk about all of them when I call Bank One. If I ever find someone at Bank One who is competent, I want to talk to them about ALL the people I’m working with. I?m sure you could also see how this comes in handy linking a buyer to seller contact, and others.
OK, finally, I’ll sum this up. Get the free trial for ACT. Then, add any fields you need that are RE specific. Then, add tabs for the info, and enter those fields through “Design Layouts”. After that, you just have to build it the way you see fit. The easiest way, is to start with contacts you have, and add things, as you need them. The “Insert” button will add a new contact, to get you started.
And NOW, I’m spent.