Is Top Producer a good value?

I posted this in another spot and then decided to post it here as well.

I would like to comment on the cost of TP. I want to be clear that I am not addressing any faults it may have, as all of the CRMs have faults. I am solely addressing cost. Bear in mind that while I am a reseller for Top Producer, I am also a reseller for almost 30 other Real Estate specific CRMs. There is no “Best CRM”. There is only the best one for your individual needs.

A common characterization agents make is “I am paying $100 or $200 for Top Producer and it is too much.” Lets first be clear that no one pays more than $39.95/mo. for TP8i. If you are paying TP, the company, more than that, it is because you are paying for additional products in addition to the CRM, or are paying for multiple licenses. Phone synching, Outlook Connector, Web sites, IDX, Market Snapshot, and so on are additional products, for which you would have to pay a separate amount in any case. There are exceptions, but typically not when you compare apples to apples. To say for instance that ABC CRM does not charge for phone synching, when in fact it is done through Outlook, that is not the same function, and should not be considered as the phone synch being the same function and being free. Having a mobile app to provide access to a WAP enabled site, and that being included, is also not the same function. Apples to apples.

With regards to the price of Top Producer, it is often a topic of criticism, but I have to say that if you compare the value of TP to all the others, it is very much worth the bang for the buck – for a single agent. $40/mo. gets you unlimited phone support, free bulk e-mailing, more templated content and plans than any other CRM on the market, Social Media interaction from within the contact screen, interaction to display properties for that contact’s address on an interactive map, and the ability to invite the client to see a private status page online, to name a few.

What is also virtually never credited as an added value is the extensive number of vertical market products with which it has a relationship. One of the primary functions of a CRM is to enable the agent to be more efficient. If one CRM enables you to eliminate redundant data entry to multiple products, it eliminates a great deal of wasted time, adding significant value.

TP has a relationship with more products than any other CRM on the market. They include:

  • Zip Forms
  • SureClose
  • 800service
  • Arch Powerline
  • Best Image
    Cevado Technologies
  • DriveBuy Technologies
  • E-Agent
  • eAgentC IDX Solution Powered by Wolfnet
  • Keller Williams Agent Website
  • Keller Williams MC Website
  • Myrsol
  • Rainmaker E-Central
  • Real Estate Labs
  • TaggLine
  • WebAgent Solutions
  • WolfNet/MLSFinder IDX
  • Proquest Technologies
  • TourFactory
  • Accessu2
  • Consulnet-Success Websites
  • Voicepad
  • Listings-to-Leads
  • RE/MAX LeadStreet Indiana

Partners to go live next week:

  • Infinity Arts
  • TextMyMLS
  • ePropertySites, LLC

What many agents who criticize the cost fail to disclose is that they do not use much of what it offers. If you do not, then it is indeed not a good value for you, and another solution is needed. The value to which I refer is ony a value if you use it. I have many other CRMs that suit varying needs if you’re not going to make use of what it offers.

With regards to the cost for teams requiring multiple licenses, I have told TP on many occasions that I feel they need to scale the cost as more licenses are acquired for a team. It is not as good a value when you are paying for multiple licenses. That said, if a team consists of 4 or 6 or 8 people, that means you are making a very significant income, and the cost of the licenses becomes a cost of doing business that is difficult to match with other products based on its value, if you use it. I have other solutions that are more cost effective for teams, but they do not provide the same value.

Additionally, if you go outside the industry and look at generic CRMs, you will find that they are much more expensive, and most of the “biggies” like ACT!, Goldmine, SalesForce, Maximizer, etc. , do not even want to deal with individuals, as opposed to companies.

So all in all, TP may cost more than some, but if you use the tools it provides, my opinion is that it is a good value.

Top Producer 8i – What’s different from Top Producer 7i?

Following is a list of the core differences, as communicated to me by Top Producer. If you have any questions about other things it may or may not do, feel free to e-mail me about them.


Top Producer 7i is based on Microsoft Java technology which does not come installed on new computers. Microsoft’s Internet Explorer is the only web browser supported, leaving users of Firefox, Safari, and other web browsers with no way to use the program.

Top Producer 8i is based on and Ajax. It is compatible with a wider range of web browsers. Top Producer 8i also places a lighter demand on resources and responds faster.

Web Browser:

Top Producer 7i’s interface disabled most web browser functions that normally appear across the top of the browser window. This included functions like the address bar, Back and Forward buttons, the Refresh button, multiple windows, tabs, and so on.

Top Producer 8i runs in a normal browser window with all of these features are available. The Top Producer 8i user will also be able to use the browser’s print screen functionality to print off whatever anything in browser window. Users can now display any information they want, sort it how they like, and print it off.

Landing Pages:

A completely new feature to Top Producer 8i that allows users to go a landing page that provides a brief summary of stats for items like contacts, leads, referrals.

The Ne UI:

Top Producer 8i’s main navigation is a departure from Top Producer 7i. The main features have been given their own buttons. When clicked, rather than simply displaying a list of possible functions, they will take the user to a landing page for that feature. These landing pages are a brand new function in Top Producer 8i, and make all of the commonly used functions available right away.

Screen Forms:

Top Producer 7i used multi-step wizard based interfaces for many of its workflows. In Top Producer 8i, these wizard based interfaces have been replaced with single-screen forms with necessary fields for activities such as contact entry or creation of listings or closings in a single window

Contact Look-Up:

The Contact Look-Up interface appears on the right side in every workflow that could require a contact record. The 8i user can drag and drop a contact’s name into the appropriate spot on a form rather than typing out their name or performing a search as was required in Top Producer 7i.

Load Indicators:

Unlike Top Producer 7i, When Top Producer 8i is retrieving information from the server, it will display an indicator which will inform the user that the operation is still ongoing. This indicator will, in most cases, appear in the lower right hand corner of the browser window

Top Producer 8i

For those of you who are curious to hear any new bit of information that’s out there on it, here are a few from Top Producer’s customer service manager, from Real Talk.

“One of the biggest benefits to the online version is going to be realized by our subscribers again this year; upgrades and enhancements are no additional charge. So, in a nutshell, the price will be the same for subscribers who hold a Top Producer 7i license prior to the 8i release. Although official pricing has not been decided, there will likely be a small increase for new 8i subscriptions. We haven’t yet seen an increase in price for an agent license since Top Producer 7i was released in 2002.

There are many changes, most I will leave for our marketing department to disclose, but the program has been reworked top to bottom for functionality, workflow and features. The biggest change, in my opinion, is that the software is moving away from the Java platform. Eliminating the use of MS Java benefits those who use Sun Java, or don’t use Java at all, and will make setup easier for new users or on new workstations.”

via Top Producer 8i.

Top Producer 7i Campus & Free Blogs for Top Producer Web site users

Courtesy of another user group I’m on:

Top Producer 7i Campus Beta has now gone live and can be visited at

This is a free service that is intended to provide support for Top Producer 7i users as well as an opportunity for you to participate by asking questions, giving feedback and sharing ideas and tips on how to make the most out of your Top Producer.

There is a forum, as well as success stories from our clients outlining what works best for them in their business. There are polls for you to vote on different topics from time to time to help us gauge what is most important to users, which will help our product development decide what services we will provide in the future.

The Top Producer 7i Campus also features Frequently Asked Questions and gives advice on how to get the type of help you may be looking for as well as many other resources.

I hope you all get a chance to visit and find it useful and perhaps give your valued feedback.

Top Producer Blogs are now included at no charge with your Top Producer Website. Blogs are really proving to be an excellent way to provide a resource that home buyers and sellers find useful that is unique to you and your style that will set you apart from the crowd. Blogs may keep them coming back to you as the local expert and guru that consumers are looking for.

Exporting Notes & Types from TP6i

I just saw a post from someone who was using Top Producer 6i, and bought Agent Office. They were unaware that you can get Top Producer’s “Types” or the ‘notes’ to transfer to Agent Office. So…’s how to do it.

While in TP 6i, click  on ‘Setup’, ‘Export Data’, ‘Send to Top Producer 6i’, ‘Display all contact’, ‘Select all’, ‘Export Source’ should be ‘Top Producer 6i’.

Note that at this point, all the fields are in the ‘Fields to export’ column. They include TYPES and NOTES. You want to highlight and ‘Remove’ fields that you do not use, before exporting, so you do not have to ‘Map’ them on the Agent Office import. Click on ‘Export’, and then give it a ‘File name’, and location.

Now you have a file to use to import the data into Agent Office.

Go to ‘Start’, ‘All Programs’, ‘Agent Office’, ‘Import’, ‘Yes’, ‘Top Producer System 6 (Windows)’,

This line of instruction puts everyone in the import into the ‘Category’ ‘TP Import’ in Agent Office. That way, if the import doesn’t go the way you want it, you can delete the import contacts. It will also give you a future reference for who was in your “Old” database.

‘Set Defaults’, ‘Categories’, ‘Add’, ‘TP Import’, ‘OK’, ‘TP import’, ‘Include’, ‘OK’, ‘OK’,

Continuing – Click on ‘Choose file’, find the file you exported from TP 6i. Click on ‘Import’.  You’re done!

via Exporting Notes & Types from TP6i.

Top Producer 7i & Agent Office News!

Regardless of what software company it is, you should never hold your breath waiting for a software release, based upon when it was supposed to come out.  They make their best projections, and sometimes it happens; sometimes it doesn’t.

You should also, as a general rule of thumb, not install upgrades for any kind of software until they have been out for a while. It’s always a good idea to let the people who do not subscribe to this ‘rule of thumb’, be the guinea pigs. The caveat to that is if you really need what the upgrade offers right now. Wanting to get Agent Office but having a Vista OS would be a perfect example J Having Agent Office and needing to upgrade to Vista, would be another. Sometimes it’s unavoidable.

That said, Agent Office is scheduled to release it’s Vista compatible version, Version 10.0, on July 2nd for download, and a week or two later on a CD. Aside from a few cosmetic changes, the only significant difference will be compatibility with Vista. So what does that mean? Yes it is called Version 10.0. No it is not beneficial to get the upgrade unless you are planning on upgrading, or have upgraded, to Vista.

•1)       If you bought Agent Office, or the upgrade, after July of last year, you are entitled to a free download of the ‘patch’ that is Version 10.0 from their Web site, when it is released – projected to be July 2nd.

•2)       If you would like a CD of the upgrade, which you do not need, it will cost $29.95 for materials and shipping.

An interesting outgrowth of this patch being made available online for download, is that from that date forward, I will be able to fill your orders for Agent Office or the upgrade, as a download, as opposed to being shipped a CD. The price will remain the same at $329 for the download, but there would be no shipping costs or taxes, and you would not have to wait to receive it.

Top Producer 7i recently announced the ability to synch with Windows and Blackberry based PDA’s. Although the ability to synch with the PDAs exists, there are some carriers that did not afford the ability to do so. One was Bell Mobility. Official confirmation has been received from Bell Mobility that they now support direct TCP and therefore Bell customers are now supported with the Top Producer for BlackBerry product.

Top Producer 7i Outlook Connector (TPOC) is an add-in component for your desktop version of Microsoft Outlook. The TPOC allows you to use Outlook rather than My Email as your primary email application while maintaining the ability of creating connections between email messages and contact records (that is, maintaining email messages in a contact’s history).

TPOC had been limited to use with Outlook 2003. Top Producer 7i has just announced that Outlook Connector now works with Outlook 2007.

Q: What is the price of the TPOC? Retail Price: $149.00 (one time fee)
Q: Is there a cost associated with the upgrade? No.
Q: Do existing customers need to upgrade to the new version of the TPOC? No. However if a customer is running Microsoft Vista or upgrades to Outlook 2007, they will be required to download and install the latest version of the TPOC.
Q: Will the old and new version of the TPOC be available going forward? No. Only the latest version of the TPOC will be available for download going forward.  The latest version of the TPOC supports all the same versions as before in addition to MS Vista and Outlook 2007.


Do an export NOW if you have Top Producer 6i

For those of you who have not yet made a decision on what to move to if you have TP6i, you need to do this now!

If you are going to move to Top Producer 7i prior to the end of the month when support ends for 6i, you’re fine. If you are going to continue to use 6i beyond the end of May 2007, you need to do an EXPORT, not a backup, now!

If your TP6i crashes after the end of this month, or your hard drive crashes, or your computer is stolen, your backup is useless. All your data will be inaccessible because the backup is only good if you can restore it to your TP6i software, or give it to Top Producer to convert it into 7i.

Now don’t go getting all upset at Top Producer. A backup, as opposed to an export, is usable only in the program it was created from, and would be true of Agent Office or any other proprietary software.

If you decide not to go with TP7i, you’ll need this export, so you can import it into whatever program you decide to use. If you have an export in an ASCII, CSV, or TXT format, that data can be imported into any other database program. That’s why you need to keep a current export, as well as a current backup.

To do an export from TP6i:

Click on – Setup, Export Data, ASCII file export, Display all contacts, Select all, Export contacts, Click on ‘Add’ for every field, Export, Key in a file name ending in “.csv” ( no parenthesis), pick a “Folder” to save it into, click OK.

Keep this export current, and no matter which program you move to, you’ll have your data ready for import.

With regards to what program you are going to move to, keep in mind that TP7i will be able to import almost ALL of your data from TP6i, they do it for you, for free, and they are currently running a promotion which is for a $60 credit to upgrade to 7i. You can order 7i on my site at

Using the export of the 6i data for import into another program is limited to the fields you will see when you are clicking on “Add” when you are doing the export from 6i.

Agent Office vs. Top Producer – Your opinion please?

Disclosure. I am a reseller for Agent Office.  I am currently working on affiliating with TP, as I believe it can be a more appropriate choice, depending upon one’s needs. That said, those of you that know me and my site, know that I am a reseller for several other CRM tools, and make a list of yet many others readily available for comparison. I try to fit the person/team with the tool that will best meet their specific needs and preferences.

It’s been a while since I asked the following question, which is why I am now asking again.  I would like to hear from anyone that has used BOTH Agent Office, at least as current as version 7.0, AND Top Producer 7i, for at least 6 months each. There are probably not very many of you, so if you are one of them, PLEASE post, or e-mail me off-list, or I may not get any ;-)

I realize there are many people that “love the one they’re with”, and I appreciate that.  I know there are many people that are using something else, and that’s great. The research I’m doing though, only pertains to AO & TP users that have used both.   I know the upsides and downsides of the following, so I don’t need to hear about them.

  • Cost analysis – monthly & free tech support & upgrades, vs. one time fee and pay for tech support & upgrades as you decide you want them
  • Backups done automatically for you vs. having to back up
  • Online access vs. not

What I would like to hear is comments about:

  • Features that one has that the other does not
  • Stability – which one works better with no functional glitches. Does it work all the time without freezing, giving you a blue screen, or simply not doing what it’s supposed to do.
  • Usability – Moving from screen to screen; finding what you want quickly; doing what you want without too many key strokes.
  • Ease of learning – compare one to the other in that regard. Which one was easier for you to pick up?
  • Flexibility – If it doesn’t already do what you want, can you usually devise a work-around to accomplish it?
  • Which company was better at listening to you when it comes to implementing suggestions, if you ever officially made any.
  • Tech support – good bad or indifferent for each.
  • ANYTHING else you care to comment on.

Please remember.  I’m asking for comparisons from users of both.  Not comparisons from research that was done, or from experimenting with them for a trial period.  There is some value in research, but it has very little compared to someone that has actually used both in a production environment.  If you didn’t use both for at least 6 months, AO 7.0 or newer, and TP 7i, please state as much, so people here can weight it accordingly, and so I know whether or not to include it on my site.

My AO versus TP page has gotten a great deal of traffic over the years. Thousands of people have read posts about favoring one over the other.  Your posts here on this subject will help many of you now, and in the future, make your own decisions. So if you could take a few minutes, you will be doing me a favor, but also thousands of other agents around the world that go to that page for information. Thanks!