ACT, Goldmine or Maximizer...Opinions please - Posted by Barry (FL)

Posted by Barry (FL) on August 25, 2003 at 15:52:15:

Hi JS,

I know you were talking about ACT it’s just that you mentioned access in the post. Thanks for your feedback. I actually went out and bought it today, Office Max had a $70 instant rebate so it was a deal to boot!
I was looking for something ready to go. I didn’t want to waste time not only learning it but also having to set it up.
I’ll begin playing with it tomorrow.
Thanks Again,
Barry (FL)

ACT, Goldmine or Maximizer…Opinions please - Posted by Barry (FL)

Posted by Barry (FL) on August 24, 2003 at 10:29:08:

I am looking to purchase contact management software and would like opinions on these products. What I am looking for is a program that:
Will allow me to set up different data bases ie: Preforeclosures, Absentee owner leads, Eviction leads etc.
and tie each of those categories to a direct marketing program, letters and postcards. This would be an approach that would probably have at least 4 mailings attached.
I want to be able to tie each letter to a time frame and have the program tell me when it’s time to mail and just push a buttom and have it print the appropriate mailing.
Any feedback from peopel who have first hand knowledge of these programs would be greatly appreciated.
I am also handy but in no way a computer genius and want something that is pretty easy to learn.

Thanks in Advance,
Barry (FL)

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 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, 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 Then, check out 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.

Re: ACT, Goldmine or Maximizer…Opinions please - Posted by Randy

Posted by Randy on August 24, 2003 at 11:41:47:

Act allows you to do all of that and more, except instead of separate data bases you would have one database with different ?Groups? or classifications. It integrates with Outlook for email (will work with outlook express but not very well). Automatically schedules activities and follow up?s it?s a great program.

Re: Use ACT, without a doubt. - Posted by astalt(MI)

Posted by astalt(MI) on August 25, 2003 at 08:58:22:

can you share with us on how you enter the contact info into a webpage automatically (not having to type it in) a little bit more?

Question … - Posted by Redline

Posted by Redline on August 25, 2003 at 24:09:24:

“The next step I’m going to add is uploading to 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.”

You mean for an EXTA 27 cents they’ll import your addresses or the actual postcard costs 27 cents? I’ve used and pay 79 cents.


WOW! Thanks. - Posted by Barry (FL)

Posted by Barry (FL) on August 24, 2003 at 17:13:26:

You were talking about access, which I already have, I just haven’t spent the time looking at it. Could it do all this also, or is it more labor intensive. Like I said, I have a system now. It is very simple, but automatic, I just don’t have the flexibility with it that I’d like.

Thanks Again, Great Post!
Barry (FL)

Re: Question … - Posted by Tom-FL

Posted by Tom-FL on August 25, 2003 at 01:10:47:

$0.79 is for the fancy schmancy picture postcards. Your copy on white stock is $0.24. I don’t know why JS is paying $0.03 more, maybe for a color splash.

I was talking about ACT, not Access - Posted by js-Indianapolis

Posted by js-Indianapolis on August 24, 2003 at 17:27:51:

I never really understood Access. It’s my mental block against all things Microsoft. I used to work for Claris, who makes Filemaker Pro, if you want a fully customizable, do anything database. With either though, you’re starting from scratch. The reason I like ACT is it is ready to go, outta the box. Now, that being said, you have to tweak it, if you are going to use it to it’s potential. However, I have to work leads, and change my database as my business developes. I started from scratch when I started, and I didn’t know what to build. What I mean is, my system has changed throughout the year I’ve been in business. Therefore, I’ve kept it basic, and just added things as I’ve developed the RE system.

I started building it for what I THOUGHT I would be doing, and wasted a ton of time redoing things. Now, I use it as is, and when I find that I’m doing something over, and over, on each contact, I address it through setting up something to automate it in ACT. Or, if something is missing that I’d like, I just add it. It will continue to grow, I’m sure.

Re: Question … - Posted by js-Indianapolis

Posted by js-Indianapolis on August 25, 2003 at 17:08:48:

My bad, I thought it was .27.