There’s always something to howl about

Capitalist going green: Why the hate during my quest to go paperless?

If you’re an artist or a tree hunger, you may want to read this post and re-tweet or repost this on your left wing blog while you’re probably still living in your parent’s basement trying to help save earth worms and maggots!  Hey artists of the world, after reading you may feel like you should be on the right, instead of the left (wink).  Does anyone every feel like when someone gives you literature or a brochure on products or even a simple appointment reminder slip from the doctor that you try everything in your power to be polite and kindly say, “No thank you, I can save that reminder in my phone” or even ask a sales rep to email you that brochure?

My story is simple.  I am a capitalist who is trying to go paperless.  Why would I need paper when I have a tablet pc and also receive email?  You see what I have been finding is that people in general take offense to the fact that I kindly decline their literature or appointment reminder slip.  Simply put, my life is organized all virtually.  As a matter of fact, I recently purchased a professional scanner the “Xerox documate 152”.  I simply scan all the closing papers to my hard drive and carbonite automatically backups up my hard drive daily.  I’m way more efficient and organized which allows me to close more deals and wow customer and enjoy my life more at the same time.

I do send out snail mail for marketing purposes yes, however, the real question I am trying to pry out of you right is do you see yourself going paperless (or near paperless) anytime soon?  If yes, describe how you think people will react towards if you kindly decline literature, ect, ect and as that is all be emailed to your email address for receive.


19 Comments so far

  1. Mark Madsen May 26th, 2010 7:16 pm

    I stopped making business cards a few years ago to save trees. Seriously.

    People look at me weird when I tell them I don’t believe in business cards, but I feel like they’ll find me on Google, Twitter or Facebook if they’re interested in my services.

  2. Brad Coy May 26th, 2010 8:02 pm

    Stop tree hunger 😉

  3. Thomas Johnson May 26th, 2010 8:18 pm

    Is tree hunger what laid off “Axe Men” have?

  4. Greg Swann May 26th, 2010 9:08 pm

    Part of what I’m doing with ScentTrail involves paperless transaction management. We moved to paper-minimized PDF’d client files more than three years ago, first because it’s just easier to move documents by email, and second because it’s easier to schlep a dozen files if each one contains almost no paper. For that part of the process, we were simply scanning docs and storing them on our LAN.

    DocuSign was the next big leap, and that put a bunch of our docs in an essentially atom-free configuration: Never, ever printed. We fax inbound and outbound by email — — so even print-happy agents on the other side of our transactions didn’t matter to us. Even better, 2010 is proving to the the year the fax machine died: Lenders, title companies and even dipshit Realtors have discovered the awesome, Atlas-like powers of email. Some of them can even successfully Respond-to-All!

    Right now, we’re about 80% LAN-locked, 20% in the cloud (via DropBox), but when I have ScentTrail the way I want it, we will store all of our docs on our own file server, each transaction with its own web page that auto-catalogs the stored contents, and with that web page auto-linked from ScentTrail. That way we’ll be able to access transaction docs from any web browser — especially from Safari on the iPhone. Clients will have password-protected access to their own docs, too, so they won’t have to wait for us to respond to them to give a HUD-1 to their accountant or whatever.

    One more layer, and we’re not there yet: I want to stop printing listings when I show. PDFing anything is easy from the Macintosh, but I need a simple way to sort page order into route order and to annotate the pages. I’ll start to think about this when I buy our first iPad, but that will be a while yet.

    Am I green? Green as a capitalist. My motives have nothing to do with environmentalism, which I normally associate with a puerile, petulant inability to do math. Here’s what I want: To stop buying paper and toner, to stop lugging tons of paper around, and to have whatever I want at my fingertips whenever I want it. These are easy problems to solve with software — when I have time to write it.

    Incidentally, ScentTrail is my perfect argument of why no serious Realtor should buy software — or listen to advice — from people who don’t actually do this work. They don’t know what the f*ck they’re talking about.

  5. Dan Connolly May 26th, 2010 9:34 pm

    Greg, Forget the Ipad and get a tablet. I print the listings in Journal note writer, I can write notes on the screen on the listings and save them in the client’s folder when I am done. I print them to a pdf if I need to send one to a client to remind them of something we have seen. With a tablet and an air card, I can pull up the county plat when I am showing to see how big the lot is. I can type a contract in the field, print it to note writer, they sign the screen and I convert it to pdf and email it to the client and the listing broker. It beats the Ipad because it’s a full function computer so you can have 5 programs running at once. It’s so much better than the Iphone because I can read the type without a magnifying glass.

  6. Al Lorenz May 27th, 2010 9:18 am

    I’m okay with some paper. I make a copy of all the listings we are visiting for every family member when I show property. They all feel included and have places to write their own notes. Everybody feels like they have the same information, including our planned route and times.

    But, I do have most of my client files kept digitally. It is simply more efficient. I’m on no tear to stop using a renewable resource, but I do work to operate my business most efficiently and that has ended up reducing a good amount of paper.

  7. Greg Swann May 27th, 2010 11:35 am

    > I make a copy of all the listings we are visiting for every family member when I show property. They all feel included and have places to write their own notes. Everybody feels like they have the same information, including our planned route and times.

    Utterly brilliant! I’ve never given clients print-outs — Cathleen does — but your way is exemplary. I’m in your debt — again.

  8. Jeff Brown May 27th, 2010 10:42 am

    The only green I allow in my office has dead presidents on it — like Greg. I has to either make my life easier, or my clients’, or both. The rest? I’m seriously considering having my next batch of cards made from old growth trees. 🙂

  9. Greg Swann May 27th, 2010 11:20 am

    > I’m seriously considering having my next batch of cards made from old growth trees.

    I saw a card lately from a green Realtor. It was the inside of a pasteboard box, like a cereal box, cut to size, with the contact info applied by rubber stamp. Each man to his own saints, but the time you waste on self-flagellation (show me that one, Miss Hotwords!) is time you’re taking away from solving your clients’ problems.

  10. Robert Worthington May 27th, 2010 12:15 pm

    Greg, like Dan has mentioned, the tablet pc is far far the most functiona for a Realtor in my opinion.

  11. Greg Swann May 27th, 2010 12:41 pm

    Windows and the Jaguar both have lots of things to brag about, provided you don’t mind wasting half your time on malfunctions. Make mine Mac, thanks all the same.

  12. Jeff Brown May 27th, 2010 12:45 pm

    But every minute chuckling adds two minutes to my life. 🙂

  13. Greg Dallaire May 27th, 2010 8:19 pm


    As you already know I’ve streamlined my business to efficient and paperless as possible. Clients not only are adapting to my style of business, but are looking to me as a greater expert in my field with all of the tools I have available to them with my tablet pc and air card solution in the field.

    We are already operating in the future when it comes to managing the real estate process electronically. We will see more and more of this in the future. Becoming more efficient equals more green.

  14. Dan Connolly May 28th, 2010 6:46 pm

    This is one of those cases where if I have to throw out the baby(tablet PC) in order to get rid of the bathwater(microsoft), I will keep them both. Doesn’t mean I like the old bathwater. When Apple gets it together with a full featured computer that has a touch screen, then I might throw both of them out.

  15. Greg Swann May 28th, 2010 9:40 pm

    Dan: We are side-by-side at the abstract level: I don’t love all of my circumstances all of the time, but I always love it that they’re mine.

  16. Randy Hooker May 29th, 2010 12:07 am

    The only contention I would have with you is >>> why in hell would you continue to market with PAPER??? Seems hypocritical to me. If you REALLY want to go green, then make a full commitment!!

  17. Sean Purcell May 29th, 2010 1:10 pm

    I run my business almost entirely by electronics, like Greg, because it is convenient for me. But in my interactions with clients and prospects I serve coffee in styrofoam, print everything at least once and drive a pick-up truck. Call it my first filter against clients I’m not going to enjoy…

  18. Jeff Brown May 29th, 2010 1:15 pm

    Thanks for the grin, Sean. Love it.

  19. Robert Worthington May 29th, 2010 1:16 pm

    @ Randy Hooker – Expired homes, that’s why.