Ramon Ray sat down with Edward Tull of JB Goodwin Realtors to dish about his love of Google’s G Suite and how it’s revolutionizing the way Realtors do business. Edward is the Director of Technology and Process Management at JB Goodwin. He started as a realtor with JB Goodwin back in 2008. Since then, his role has evolved. Edward now helps the company improve processes and he reviews and implements tools. This role suits him because as he puts it, he’s “passionate about process”.
JB Goodwin operates in the greater Austin area and San Antonio with 6 offices, 750 agents, 50 executive, and administrative employees. They do both commercial and residential real estate.
In the Beginning
Jb Goodwin operated by sending emails back and forth email. They had a website with a resource cloud where they stored some files and there was a calendar that everyone could view, but not contribute to. “The organization just wasn’t there,” Edward mentioned, “in the beginning, it wasn’t even searchable.” He admits that this resulted in limited collaboration between the agents or the managers.
“Communication was carried out over phone calls, email, or physically driving to different locations to hold meetings.”
Something had to give.
JB Goodwin first moved over to a hybrid system- Microsoft 365 and IMAP email. With 365 “we now had backup, central management, collaboration among the management team such as shared calendars, some shared documents, there was a lot of value to that and we saw that value.” But, Edward continued, “the agents weren’t able to access that and we often had to create separate calendars and they weren’t able to be shared, there was no synching.”
They were moving in the right direction but weren’t quite there yet.
So, Edward starting reviewing Microsoft 365 and G Suite–the two big names that companies, who aren’t building their own in-house, typically consider. “There are a lot of similarities between the two and there were also some glaring differences and that’s sort of what made up our mind,” noted Edward.
Why G Suite?
“Everyone is already used to using it. You can plug outlook in. It’s easy to use. We wanted to have an easy migration” and they didn’t want to make changes that were going to disrupt business.
With the Google Cloud platform and Google Data Studio, Edward saw immense value. It was easy to set their management team up on Google Shared Docs, in fact, most of them had already been using it in some form or another. So the transition actually “sped them up day one” said Edward.
Google Data Studio
Edward said this versatile tool gives their management team the ability to ask any database almost any question. It allows you to customize spreadsheets and reports. You can simply drag and drop filters and search bars. Edward shared that he had an administrative team member approach him, frustrated, with all of the reports she was dealing with.
“In 5 mins I gave her a custom report out of 3 different reports, pulled the info she needed, cut out 20-30 emails she sent a week.”
By doing this, the team member gained back valuable man hours, increased productivity and saved time.
Rocking in Real Estate
While G Suite is a great tool for any small business, it’s especially effective in real estate. Other businesses record business as it closes but, “were recording business as it’s written. What’s under contract, how much, address, by region, by office, by company, transaction type.” Then, they can pull so much info from that database at any time. It’s 100% customizable. Edward adds that “you don’t have to be someone who nerds out on Google Cloud Platforms.” You can start simply with a spreadsheet. A lot of companies could start using G Suite very easily.
All About Automation
Ramon asked Edward what advice he would give small businesses looking to grow.
His answer:“Automation is key.
He emphasized that automation is especially important for agents and independent contractors. Their agents don’t have time to do it all. G Suite is able to be connected to CRM. Connect agent databases to other marketing tools like mail marketing. Facebook. They’re able to tie in build audiences on their databases. They get insights into their database, like who’s ready to buy or sell. They can also tie databases into predictive analytics—who’s likely to buy or sell or who’s likely to downsize or upsize.
“Agents focus on communication, physically being in front of people, handwritten notes. Automation allows them to be in front of their clients on social media, email, postcard mailers.” Edward remarked that they subscribe to the principle of the 7 touches. “Every 30 or 60 days you’re in front of the client 7 times.” G Suite allows agents to blend in-person touches and automated touches. It empowers the agents to get out there and make connections and follow up via technology.
G Suite is easy to use and businesses can start small, focusing on some goals and frustrations that they’re having. It also scales really well and can grow with your business. Edward pointed out that “people will start with G Suite just for email and don’t even realized the capabilities that they’re actually paying for. You have to be tech hopeful–have the willingness to learn.”