20+ Years of Experience Drowned Out by Paper
Robbie Gaston is a self-made, savvy, successful triple threat in the Plano, Texas real estate community. Not only is she a licensed realtor since 1996, but she is also a Transaction Coordinator (TC) and owner of Closer Concierge which specializes in the 'contract to close' process for realtors.
I’m like the air traffic controller who keeps all the ‘airplanes’ like the lender, title company, agents, co-agents, our client whether it be the buyer or the seller - I keep all of them in the air and no one crashes and we all come in for a smooth landing on closing day.
Robbie GastonTransaction Coordinator, OwnerCloser Concierge
Robbie started her career working as an agent’s assistant while he was out working in the field. Before long, Robbie was running his business from contract to close because he was able to generate more business in the field with her help. She learned that agents could be more successful if they were out in the marketplace instead of stuck behind a desk working on the details of each contract. That led Robbie to work with other lucrative agents by running their back offices. Eventually, that success led Robbie to go out on her own and form a business specializing in the contract to close process.
When I first started, I just had the concept and an idea. Now I have 30 agents that I work with. I became so busy - I wasn’t using a paperless system and was buried in paper, so I didn’t have time to market myself other than word of mouth.
Learning to Succeed by Letting Go
Using her time-tested methods Robbie found herself getting very busy, very quickly. It went from four contracts in her first month to twenty three per month. Handling that amount of work with a 50-item paper checklist and calendar became a nightmare. Before she knew it, she was drowning in paper for her livelihood. She was working 12-hour days, 7 days a week with hardly any time for herself and family.
Robbie knew she needed to automate things in order to regain her lifestyle. She didn’t know what software program to use or even where to start looking.. She felt stuck in the habit of carrying around her binders and checklists, finding it hard to embrace a different process. After many failed promises to her family that she would stop working late, she vowed to get up-to-date just like the houses her agents were selling - after all houses sold better if they were up-to-date, didn’t they?
As luck would have it, one of her clients used Paperless Pipeline to manage his business. He gave Robbie a password to access his online account so she could manage his transactions paperlessly. Robbie remembers logging into the system for the first time:
When I logged in and saw how he was running his contracts through it, I immediately heard the angels sing! I knew that is what I could use to load my checklists in to and to keep track of everything for my business
A Paperless Foundation Brings Balance and Growth
Robbie is always thinking ahead and dreaming up better ways to do things. She had been stuck in the old - but wanting the new. Signing up with Paperless Pipeline and discovering first-hand the capabilities of the paperless system was a liberating experience. With Pipeline, she can access everything on her smartphone or tablet while on the go. If a question comes up, she can log in and access every detail about any file with a couple of clicks. She immediately went paperless with the very next transaction that came to her desk and phased out all of her paper transactions as they closed.
Robbie handles transactions in multiple states - and those states each have different contracts and terms. Pipeline adapted to all 6 states’ worth of Robbie’s real estate contracts without any hiccups. She continued to tweak her processes as she went along, finding built-in features that saved her time and energy. For example, she really loves the daily reminders feature and powerful checklists on transactions. Those features meant she no longer had to mentally keep track of every single detail of a contract. Instead she’s able to focus on just the tasks that the system tells her are due soon.
Robbie summed up her new-found paperless process with two words: freedom and efficiency - freedom from carrying around every file, folder, contract, and every document along with it and efficiency because now she never has to go digging for a document and instead can pull it up on the computer.
Within 30 seconds I can have answers for agents. Now that’s the way it works all day long. I am more efficient and I don’t have to work so hard. They don’t have to wait, I never have to say ‘let me call you back.’ I can access anything right away.
Utilizing Paperless Pipeline allows Robbie to free up time for her agents while creating for them work-life balance and freedom to work from anywhere. Whether they want to generate leads, go out showing houses, play golf with a client, or even get their nails done, they still have access to their files the entire time.
Robbie too is now able to spend time with her family and feels that a deep sense of balance has been finally restored in her life.
Having Paperless Pipeline has helped me to balance life for my agents. I also have freedom and a lot of balance brought back in my life as well. With that, my business has grown 277%. There’s no way I could have achieved that level of growth without Paperless Pipeline. I guarantee it.
Tips & Tricks
Tip #1: Agents: Utilize a TC to take your business to the next level
Use a transaction coordinator so you don’t get bogged down in the day-to-day tasks of managing a file. Find one who knows what she’s doing. I, for example, have been working in the industry for 20-plus years and have handled over 1,400 deals and 495 million dollars in closed business to date. You may not find someone with 20 years experience like me, but you need to have someone who knows how the process works, how to manage, who remains calm and is a people pleaser and problem solver.
Tip #2: Let go of the past and old habits!
Let go. Let go now and get with the program and get up-to-date. There is technology available - there are amazing tools you can use! Just let go of the old ways and all the habits. It will make you better at what you’re doing. It will make you more efficient for yourself and for your clients. It makes you look better. You can work better.
Tip #3: Brokers: Offer the services of an experienced TC to your agents as a perk.
I have some brokers who offer me as a perk to their new agents. One broker pays for the first two transactions his agents do for me because they want their agents to be out selling. I have another broker who offers my services to all of their agents for the first 6 months.
Tip #4: Always set new goals for your business.
I launched in December 2014. I haven’t even had time to market - but now that I’m free thanks to hiring some help and using Paperless Pipeline, I’m ready to market, and surpass my 277% growth.
Tip #5: Stay true to your own personal values and good business will follow.
I struggled with charging a fee for files that don’t close. I know there are some transaction coordinators who do charge that fee, but title companies and lenders don’t get paid, so I didn’t feel right charging people. I just chalk it up and I just know I’m gonna get that next contract.
Which would Robbie rather live without: Chocolate or Paperless Transaction Management?
Paperless Pipeline is better than chocolate! I am involved with my family now. I can be in the living room, be at the dinner table and not be distracted by work. it’s wonderful. I’m free!