Building a real estate business with high-touch relationships and Office 365

Why did I get into real estate? I can’t remember really wanting to do anything else. I love the challenge of orchestrating complex transactions and figuring out how to make a deal work for my clients. I love building mutually beneficial relationships and seeing people move into the home of their dreams. I got into the business almost 20 years ago, right after college when I moved to Los Altos in the Silicon Valley and joined Intero Real Estate. I had to go out and find clients, and I learned early on that honing my communication skills and being a great salesperson was the best way to differentiate my services. Back then, I spent four hours every morning on the phone calling people, and it paid off.

Now I’m expanding my business into the luxury homes market. It’s a challenge: my competitors spend a ton of money on marketing, but I’m gaining traction by approaching relationship building through great communication. I use Microsoft Office 365 as the basic technology toolkit for supporting that approach. I’m all about simplicity: Office 365 fits how I work; it’s an uncomplicated, one-stop shop for email, calendaring, and seamless, integrated Office programs. All my team members stay connected and productive because they use Office 365 to coordinate our efforts to provide the best possible outcomes for our clients.

A typical day for me means getting to the office by 7:30 A.M. My team and I meet and talk about what’s coming up for the day. We all need to be on the same page to juggle the many moving parts of a real estate transaction, so for the team, email and calendar management is key. We use Office 365 to differentiate our customer service by emailing clients to keep them apprised of the progress we are making during every step of the stressful 30-day period when a house sells.

My usual day still has four hours of phone calls in the morning. Then, I’m out all afternoon previewing properties, attending listing appointments, or meeting buyers and sellers. This is when the mobility benefits that I get with Office 365 really kick in. I have my current schedule and client contacts available on my laptop, iPhone, and tablet. Everywhere I go, I have my office at my fingertips, no matter what device I’m using. Real estate business occurs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, but with Office 365, I can email documents anywhere I have Internet connection: there’s nothing I can’t do from the palm of my hand. This is a freeing experience, especially when it’s such a challenge to balance work with home life. I have three kids, and now I can be at their sports games and still be connected with important matters going on at work.

Sophisticated clients looking for luxury homes expect the latest technology in their dealings with realtors, and Office 365 doesn’t disappoint. When home buyers and sellers can do so much market research on their own, we need to use the best tools possible so that we can provide them with added value. Clients really appreciate that I can use my iPhone to show them our marketing samples and prelisting packages, or retrieve disclosure and inspection documents from the multiple listing service in just a few clicks. We’re continuing to build our business by talking to people and making them feel looked after, but it’s Office 365 that provides us with the reliable, efficient communications that we need to create and maintain those conversations. With Office 365, we can deliver a winning combination of personal service backed by great technology—and it’s helping us build market share in the upper echelons of the housing market.

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