Tech Profile: Kimberly Dittler

Kim Dittler entered real estate straight out of college, and in 2009 she closed more than $10 million in sales with 41 sides. She’s also a member of Realtor Magazine’s 2010 30 under 30, which recognizes exceptional agents in the field.

Websites: http://www.kimdittlerrealestate.com and http://www.myfirsthomeinportland.com

Phone: Blackberry Curve 8520

Computer: Toshiba Laptop

Website/ IDX Provider: BrokerTec Systems

Prospecting/ Contact Management: Outlook 2007

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

Honestly it’s only been this past year that I’ve really taken it from something that my business is about to everything that the business is really focused towards. Technology has grown at such an exponential rate that it’s a job in and of itself to stay on top of it, let alone to be at the forefront of it. It’s only really this last year that I’ve gotten in to blogging and twittering, creating a Facebook fan page and things like that.

In terms of prospecting, I have a pretty soft-sale approach. I’m on Facebook quite a bit, and it’s not just business to me. I know there’s a lot of agents that only talk business. I was given great advice very early on: people want to see that we’re more than just a talking head, that we have a life and friends and family. Someone once told me to consider it like a cocktail party: if you went around and just gave out your business card and only talked about your listings and all about you, no one would want to be around you. But if you do more, “okay this is who I am, and I’m taking an interest in your life”, and have it just be a compilation of both business and personal, people really appreciate seeing someone who’s integrated and more holistic.

As much as technology has advanced, I also think there are such few people that actually do things like handwritten notes. I do a handwritten thank you note every time I meet with someone, I send a small gift every time someone sends me a referral, etc. Just that personal appreciation, I think people are really missing that type of an atmosphere in business.

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

I remember two, two and a half years ago I received my first text message from a client. To be honest it felt a little wierd, almost invasive!  Then I realized, that’s my problem, I need to change, I need to communicate in the best way for my clients. Just a few minutes before this interview, a buyer of mine sent me three pages of a text message! So for her she communicates really well that way.

I do have to ask my clients though, because some people check email daily, some only once a week. For me text messaging is more of a when and where, confirming an appointment, etc.  Anything to do with the actual sale or sensitive information, I think that that has to be delivered via phone call.

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

The biggest thing is something our company, Prudential, provides. It’s called a PIP, Property Investment Profile. I set it up one time for clients/ friends/ family, and once a month they get an email that shows all active and pending homes within a quarter mile of their home. So it’s not just a snapshot of the entire city, it’s very neighborhood specific, and my clients love that! Everyone want’s to know what their neighbor is selling for down the street! And the great thing is it’s such a time saver, I do it once and it goes out every month. Only Prudential offers it right now, but I believe they may offer it to other brokers in the future. My goal is to add anyone that owns real estate to it, and I have about 535 people on it right now.

I post more standard items, such as Halloween pumpkin patch info, on my Facebook page so it’s not directly in their email box and taking up their space. I’ve actually had multiple people repost it, which I was surprised by!  I also take a picture of every home I close and post it to an album on my Facebook page. More recently I had a friend suggest a great idea, why not tag my clients in the album also? Then that picture goes out to all their friends, and lets them know about the new home and that I helped them. So just creative ways that people want to see more about what’s going on in their lives.

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

I just started that this year, and I’m doing it a bit differently than most.  Most agents make their website all about them, instead of their niche or buyer. Once we retire, then it’s hard to have a successor plan since for years our business has been based on us, (ie all our marketing has our picture, name, etc). I built a blog, facebook fan page, and twitter account, www.myfirsthomeinportland.com,  that really has nothing to do with me. I noticed a trend where first time buyers want to be downtown, so I really cater that to people who are looking in Portland, whether they’re first time buyers or relocating to Portland. It’s nothing about me, it’s a resource for people looking to move to Multnomah county.

Do you use Twitter?

I do, I actually work with someone who assists with my twitter account and my blog post, and then I send my content to a third party company that broadcasts it out to the blog, the twitter account, the facebook page, etc. What I’ve learned is that my time is so valuable, and my time really needs to be in front of people, so I use as many people as I can to support me in more passive roles.  An agent in my office recently told me that “your office should be a phone and a list of names, and that’s it”, and I think that’s a good point. It’s not that technology is not important, but as much as you can have help doing that so you’re out there building relationships and trust with people, I think that’s what really counts in this business.

That was a challenge for me in the beginning. I’m very organized and my comfort level is more the paperwork and the things that aren’t income producing. I think it takes a lot more to get out from behind the desk and start talking with people, and I had to learn that and it took quite a while to be honest!

How do you track and manage prospects/ leads?

I  use Outlook 2007, it’s not real estate specific but it’s worked very well for me.

How do you manage your transactions?

I have a personal assistant and a transaction assistant who’s my “database” for transactions.

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

As silly as it sounds in this economy, it’s just going to work. I block out a lot of the news, too. I read what I need to know to be very well educated and have statistics at my fingerprints, but I stop then and don’t let anymore in. Otherwise I think we’d all stick our heads in the sand, and it’s not true, it’s just what sells.  For me it’s just getting up every morning, building a routine, going to work, and if I do my part the business will come.

We’re doing something at our office right now called “Sprint”, which is a 12 week program where essentially it shows you how much time you waste without realizing it. You build out a 5-day workweek, and one person from your four-person team will do their 5-day workweek in 3 days, with the goal of taking the last two days off. It’s been such an amazing lesson in how if you really focus, you can get the work done in half the time.

I would tell agents that right now is an incredible opportunity. In Portland, out of 7,000 agents, in January over 1,000 didn’t re-list as agents. My encouragement to agents out there is that there’s a lot less of us, so it’s a great opportunity to stand out and take a bigger piece of the market share. Every day you’ve got to just keep plugging along, and I feel very blessed with my business.