Tech Profile: Kat Barry

Kat Barry is a successful Realtor based in Pittsburgh, PA and a 2009 member of NAR’s “30 under 30″ She sold over $7 million in real estate in 2008, and has been featured as the local expert on HGTV’s “My House Is Worth What” five times.

Website: www.myspace.com/katbarry1

Phone: Blackberry Curve

Computer: An HP Laptop

Website/ IDX Provider: None

Prospecting/ Contact Management: A notebook and paper based filing system

Overall, where does technology fit in for you: supporting role or a major part of your strategy?

It’s a big part of my strategy. I placed myself with a company that feels really strongly that an internet presence is the key to selling homes today, and to reaching today’s buyer.  All of my listings are on pretty much any real estate site that you can search from, and that’s one of the main reasons I’m with Prudential. I also use social networking a lot.

Do you change your tech use to fit different clients, for example texting, etc, or do find everyone’s comfortable with the same level?

Yes. I have one seller right now that doesn’t have an email address, which I found really challenging. I’ve come to rely so much on email.  But it’s just like how they tell you in sales training that you should change your speach/ mannerisms depending on who you’re working with, its the same with technology. I ask people how they’d like to be contacted. Most people prefer email, I’ve found.

What one piece of technology/ software has been the biggest time saver or productivity gain for you?

Having a Blackberry or smartphone. My company sends us internet leads, and you have to respond to them within a certain amount of time.  It’s a lot easier to service leads if you can respond to them no matter where you are or what you’re doing.  Also Skywire (http://www.skywireva.com) riders for my listings. People walking by can text a number for more information, and I get their number right on my phone, so I can call them back right then or text them.

What’s your thought on Blogging? Valuable or a time sink?

I don’t think it’s valuable for generating leads.  I think responding to questions on Trulia voices is a lot more productive. I’ve converted about half of my leads from Trulia voices. It doesn’t take as much time either, this week I’ve probably answered 2 questions for a total of half an hour.

What are your thoughts on Social Media?

The key to my success from the very beginning has been creating an awareness that I’m an agent and selling real estate is what I do for a living. I feel strongly that you’re as successful as how many people know about you.  If nobody knows about you or knows that you sell real estate, they’re there not going to call you, it just makes sense.  I think instead of blogging it’s more worthwhile updating your Facebook status that you’re on the job, showing houses in a certain neighborhood for example. It’s free and it takes two seconds.

I’ve gotten a buyer from Facebook, from a friend of mine from high school who lives in California, and I’ve gotten a lot of exposure, I feel, from these sites.  It’s all about who knows what you’re doing, that this is what you do. You need the most people possible to know that you’re a real estate agent, and to think of you first.

Do you use twitter?

Yes. I post updates about my listings, articles about Pittsburgh Real Estate, or any event I’m involved in.

How do you track and manage prospects/ leads?

I’m kind of old school when it comes to tracking leads, I do pretty much all of it on paper. I have a notebook where I write down pretty much every phone call, showing requests, etc. I have a pretty organized filing system.  I have a folder for once-off leads, and a folder for each active lead.  Every couple of months I go through the big folder. Every single person who contacts me automatically gets put on my mailing list. I think building that database is so important.

How do you manage your transactions?

I have a checklist for each file/ transaction.  It’s a slip of paper with all the contingency deadlines.  I staple them inside the file and put the dates on the calendar in my phone.  It also helps to post them on a bulletin board in your cube.

How do you manage your website?

I use my myspace as my website, I’ve looked into doing a couple different types of websites, but they’re very expensive, and while I think it’s important to have a website, I just haven’t found it cost effective. Myspace is free and you can search the entire MLS from my page.  I’m all about free tools.

What’s the most important thing you do on a daily basis that contributes to your sales success?

Putting myself out there, in whatever way that may be. Whether it’s being active in my community, emailing people, making phone calls.

At the end of the day technology matters, but only to an extent. I’ve gotten leads online from Realtor.com, Trulia, Craigslist. But other than that, it’s such a face to face job.   You don’t have to reinvent the wheel entirely.

For new agents I think it’s easy to get overwhelmed with “oh my gosh, I have to spend so much money on this and that”. And you really don’t.  I think it’s really important for new agents to go with a big broker in your area, because they do provide so much for you.  It made a big difference in the training and services I had access to.

I also send a lot of email blasts, I probably send an email blast a week. It’s usually a property listing, or an article about Pittsburgh.  I’m really a big advocate of email blasts and sending a regular monthly mailer to my farm area and to my database.  If you do something cool, you should write a press release about it.