Friday, May 28, 2010

Fort Worth Business Press Article

Start-up launches software solution for real estate industry


May 24, 2010

Text messaging, the most popular and widely used form of electronic communications, isn’t just for kids anymore.

The instant information technology tool finally is starting to catch on with Corporate America, as business big and small begins to realize the benefits of real time communication and social networking.

Two veterans of the automotive and real estate industries recently introduced patent-pending, two-way texting software they hope will revolutionize the way the real estate industry distributes and obtains information.

“We’ve used texting in the auto industry and I started seeing that the real estate industry could use it more than the auto industry,” said Guy Manasse, president of six-month-old Smart Text CRM in Keller. “Texting has … become part of every day life for most of the population. We think it can be a very useful tool to drive sales, obviously, but more important to me to create a solid foundation for a business.”

According to Manasse, a recent National Association of Realtors survey showed that the typical homebuyer is 41 years old, while first-time buyers are much younger with a median age of 32. Manasse said younger people between the ages of 25 to 34 make up most of the home-buying population and that same age group – about 45 percent – subscribe to a mobile device service.

“Our technology is providing a seamless service to real estate agents while targeting that age group of texters,” Manasse said. “Both groups get something in return.”

Smart Text’s new customer relationship management software provides prospective homebuyers the pertinent information on a property, while at the same time providing real estate agents with leads, prospect information and the ability to instantly communicate with ready-to-buy customers.

The application is simple. A prospective homebuyer drives by a property, texts a five-digit message on the agent’s sign and gets a mobile listing back in real time. The mobile web page, what Smart Text CEO Clifford Baker calls “a mini version of MLS,” provides pictures and a description of the property, contact information for the agent, a virtual tour of the property and a link to a video, if there is one.

“It’s technology that’s taking information from old-fashioned flyers and putting it into a mobile web page,” Baker said. “A potential lead is what Realtors are after. It’s designed to help them generate more opportunities. We believe if you give customers information, you should get something in return. Our technology offers something no one else has: our Customer Management Tool, two-way communication software between buyers and Realtors. Our competitors only have the ability to send text messages so the customer has had to become a hand-raiser and call the Realtor for more information.”

The software is free to the consumer, while real estate agents pay a monthly subscription fee based on the number of listings. Charges range from $17 a month to as little as $4.50, depending on the volume.

Currently, Smart Text CRM has sold most of its new software online at but the company is building a national market, Manasse said. Offices now are located in Arizona, California, Idaho, Ohio and Washington, with regional sales staffs in the San Antonio-Austin area and in Dallas.

“We’re rapidly growing now and are hoping to grow more rapidly,” Baker said.

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