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Tips from an AE Techie

April 1, 2011

Google “Nick Kremydas,” CEO of the South Carolina Association of REALTORS®, and you’ll find links to his Facebook page, his LinkedIn profile, and his Twitter feeds (he has 2,287 followers and counting.). Then there are his YouTube videos, Ustream clips of his weekly appearances on South Carolina REALTORS®-TV, not to mention his member profiles on sites to which he contributes (including Inman News and RealTown.com). Clearly, Kremydas is not afraid of technology. In fact, he champions it throughout his organization and even won a global competition hosted by Google for using Google apps.

So how does this busy AE stay on top of technology? More important, how is technology helping him become a more successful AE?

What’s your most recent tech discovery that has you excited?

GroupMe. This free app (for iPhone, Android, and BlackBerry) lets you create groups with the people already in your phone’s contact list. When you send a text message, everyone instantly receives it. I often need to communicate instantly with my leadership team or executive committee. We might be together at a conference and need to coordinate meeting times, or I might need to send an urgent alert and get their instant feedback on a legislative emergency. All responses are shared with the group.

We all get bogged down with reading and sending e-mail. What tips do you have for making this task easier?

Too many people ignore their e-mail client and just use whatever software came bundled with their computer. Your e-mail client needs to be smart enough to sort your incoming mail before you’ve looked at it—I’m not just talking about junk mail. E-mails with dates and times should automatically trigger calendar alerts, documents should be integrated with your messaging client, and you should be able to see—without ever leaving your inbox, and from any Internet-connected phone, laptop, or computer in the world, which of your staff is online. Google Mail has all of these features. Its Priority Inbox actually “learns” which e-mails are important and which are not, based on your habits. This saves you time and money and allows you to be more productive.

Given unlimited financial and manpower resources, what technology would you employ at your association?

Interactive video to participate in committee meetings will be a key player in the future of our association. We have implemented video conferencing with most of our local associations, allowing staff and members the ability to communicate across the state without the hassle of traveling to the state office. But it has its drawbacks. For instance, calls are limited to five locations, and bandwidth issues affect quality in rural areas. With unlimited resources, we could implement a Tele-presence Video Network with 100MB speeds at all points, allowing all local associations and members to communicate by facing the other callers, just as if they were sitting across the table. This would save our members travel time and money, and increase volunteerism.

What new technology-related association feature or member service do you expect to launch this year?

We’re in the initial stages of researching a rating or ranking service for our members. I see this initiative as a real game changer—a method to change behavior and increase professionalism where other efforts have not been so successful. I hope to at least test-pilot the program in parts of the state before year-end. We’re closely watching the success of similar programs in Houston and California.

You tweet about real estate on the weekends. Do you find it difficult to maintain a work/life balance? Or would you say that technology enables you to be more efficient and create more personal time?

If you’re reading my tweets on the weekends, then I’d say your work/life balance needs some attention!

Seriously, REALTORS® don’t have weekends off, and the news certainly doesn’t stop, so weekend updates are important. But truthfully, it’s so easy to automate many of these functions, making it appear as though you’re working 24/7. I use HootSuite to schedule postings in advance.

I collect RSS feeds (through Google Reader) for every major South Carolina newspaper as well as all of my favorite real estate, NAR, technology, and political Blogs and Web sites. I then review them a couple of times a day. Compare it to reading your morning paper—in the same amount of time (about 30 minutes) you can scan all the news that’s important to you and your members. Once you find a great news story, just “star” it. If you’re subscribed to Twitterfeed, like I am, your starred Google Reader items get posted on your Twitter and Facebook accounts automatically.


Nick Kremydas, RCE, Esq., is CEO of the South Carolina Association of REALTORS®. He can be reached at 803-772-5206 or nick@screaltors.org.