Top Producer X
Top Producer may be the right
Real Estate CRM for you if…
The following is my review of the old version of Top Producer, Top Producer 8i. I’ll be leaving it here for posterity and will archive it when I get the details for the new version.
It’s all gone! All the details I had on Top Producer are gone because the product changed completely. The prior version was called Top Producer 8i. The new one is Top Producer X. I have been a reseller for them for almost 20 years. I have been in touch with them and they do not yet have a reseller program. As soon as they get that started, I’ll have all the details here!
Top Producer Vital Statistics:
Out of Beta & Started Selling: 1989
Parent Company: News Corp/Move.com
What kind of sales is this for?: Residential, Agent, Team
Support: 6:00 AM – 5:00 PM PST Monday – Friday by phone – 800.830.8300, Weekend by email Support@TopProducer.com
Have you used this CRM? Rate it – but please be professional. Thanks!
In your face – That’s what I like about the Sales Pipeline and Follow-up Coach on the home page of Top Producer. I don’t want to have to do a search to find my hot prospects if I don’t have to. And here I don’t have to. The Sales Pipeline (shown later on this page) keeps your hottest prospects right in front of you. The Follow-up Coach (shown later on this page) keeps your past clients and future prospects right in front of you. Then in the My Business section you have all of the calls, to-do’s etc., that you have to do today. Following that are your listings and closings. All in all it’s a good home page. I’m not crazy about having to click three times to get to the details of a contact or about having to click on the appointments in the My Business section to see your appointments for the day. Unfortunately, none of these CRMs are perfect, but Top Producer continues to improve.
Unique or Notable Features
♥The Mobile/Phone Interface – Best in Class! Salesforce has the only other mobile user interface that comes close to Top Producer’s. I give Top Producer best in class on this because it has many of its unique and unmatched features on the phone. Since 1989, I have been hearing how “a CRM won’t work for me because I can’t be in front of my computer all the time.” That was always a misunderstood perception with only a little truth to it. Well those days are gone. We went from keeping a separate address book on our phone, to syncing our real estate CRMs address book to the phone, to an application installed on the phone, to a user interface (a web page). Top Producer is easily the best one out there (with WiseAgent coming in second) to enable you to do almost anything someone would care to do from the road, right from your phone or tablet. Most CRMs allow you to sync your address book and maybe your calendar, but Top Producer’s Mobile interface enables you to do far more. All of Top Producer’s top features are integrated right into the phone interface. When you’re on the road you can catch up with Follow-up Coach calls and Sales Pipeline calls and launch follow-up plans right from the phone. Any appointments or tasks made can be linked to the history of any contact, listing or closing, and the amount of information available for all of them is tremendous!
Not only does it show you the new lead, but also how many minutes it has been since the lead came in! Is that over the top? You’ve heard it before but if you need reassurance how critical fast response is, check out this article.
♥The Sales Pipeline – Best in Class! As I said earlier, what I like about the Sales Pipeline is that it’s in your face. By that I mean you don’t have to do anything to see a list of the most important people in your database right now. The Sales Pipeline is on the home page so when you open Top Producer, there it is, staring you in the face. There are five statuses: New, Engage, Future, Active, Closed. It’s nice to have immediate access to all your Active buyers and sellers right on the home page, but the money lists are the New and Engage. The brand new leads from your web site or lead generation sites are displayed under New. The people with whom you have spoken and determined are ready to list or buy soon are under Engage with the date and time you last spoke with them, no searching or decisions necessary. This may sound trivial but it’s not. The point is that you literally do not have to click on anything to see all the very most important people. In all other CRMs, you must do a search or at least go to some other page. Big deal, right? To me it’s because it is impossible to let any hot lead fall through the cracks because you forgot to do a search for your hot buyers or because you were feeling too lazy at the moment to do a search. There is zero effort to know who to contact and when. Zero. That’s a good thing.
♥The Follow-up Coach – Best in Class! This feature keeps reminding you to follow up with past clients and your sphere of influence with daily reminders. You tell it how often you want to be reminded and it takes care of it from there. You will never again lose a listing from a past buyer because you didn’t stay in touch with them by phone, (unless of course you choose to ignore the reminders). There are two things I like about Top Producer’s Follow-Up Coach the most. One is that it is in your face. By that I mean it is on the home page and you don’t have to do anything to see who you should be calling that day, so it reduces excuses. The other is this; You could schedule a recurring activity for each past client in your database to call them every six months. It works. It’s how we’ve been doing it. It gets even better though. You could call it a smart reminder versus a recurring activity being a dumb reminder. A recurring activity will remind you every X months no matter what. Top Producer’s Follow-up Coach will not remind you to call unless it sees that there has been no activity with that contact for six months. The recurring activity will come up anyway, so you’ll have to delete it. I prefer smarter!
♥The “Things to Talk About” button – Best in Class! It’s a bit of a misnomer to call this Best in Class because no one else has it, but it should be recognized. In Top Producer’s contact screen, based on their physical address, you can click on a button and see all the active listings and recent sales on an interactive map. So when Barbara Past Buyer calls and says I just saw a new sign go up a block over. Can you tell me how much they are asking? Instead of saying Hold on while I get into the MLS and find it for you, you can see the listing she is talking about in about five seconds. So you might not have to let on that you don’t know about that listing in her neighborhood!
♥Top Connector – Best in Class! Again this is a misnomer because no one else has it, but again it needs to be recognized. Top Producer has had this for years but they used to charge $149 for it. Now it is free and it’s a handy little feature that does nothing but save time. When you get a new listing or sell a house, it would be nice to have information about that property in your CRM, but it takes too long to key it in. Enter Top Connector. Instead of keying it all in, you can just key in the MLS number and click Import from MLS and voilà, it imports all the info from the MLS into Top Producer. Many CRMs have touted this ability for years but the reality is that although they are RETS compliant, the CRMs have not invested the time and money to actually create a relationship with more than a handful of MLSs at best. In addition to being able to import listing info, Top Connector also enables the importing of comps for CMA presentations which is yet another feature of Top Producer.
♥Service Reports – Best in Class! One of the things I have promoted for many years is to utilize the Activity Plans/Campaigns/Workflows to launch follow-up plans for listings and closings. I developed activity plans for listings and closings when I was an active agent and was amazed at how they took me to a whole new level in my business. My stress levels were reduced. Things stopped falling through the cracks. My team stopped playing Who’s got the file. It was a game changer. I later developed Trans-Plans Listing & Closing Activity Plans and Emails/Letters for Top Producer and many other CRMs. Top Producer makes the best use of them by enabling you to automatically generate a PDF report or a Web Page that chronicles your efforts. Every time you complete a task, it automatically becomes part of these reports. The listing presentation and the initial buyer interview presentation is all about differentiating yourself from the rest of the mooing herd. How better to do this than to offer them something they haven’t been offered by anyone else?
Property Showings – You can track showings on your listings and then if needed, you can email all the showing agents. So if you have a price adjustment you can pop off a quick email to all of the showing agents about it with a couple quick clicks.
Social Media – Not one of the best in the social media realm but one of the better ones. The contact screen has a section to display part of the Facebook page in which you can Like, Comment, or View Post. Similar for Twitter. Then on the top of every page is a button that allows you to post to Facebook or Twitter right from within Top Producer so you don’t have to log in to Facebook or Twitter.
UPDATE – 7/2015 – The Facebook description is no longer valid because Facebook is now restricting data – see this post
Trans-Plans Activity Plans: Top Producer has formatted Trans-Plans such that all the plans/emails/letters install automatically. All you have to do is start using them!
How does Top Producer stack up with other popular features?
Phone/tablet: Covered in Unique or Notable Features above
Lead capture: Top Producer is currently capable of automatically creating a new contact when you get a lead from almost 200 different web sites and lead generation sites. See the list. And then after it adds the lead, it notifies you by text or e-mail. If you are a team leader/rainmaker and need to distribute leads and then see what the agents do with them, they have just purchased a product that gives them that capability too.
It also has the option of creating a customizable form for your web site which will auto-populate the leads into Top Producer in the New section of the Sales Pipeline.
New Lead Display: In Sales Pipeline on desktop, mobile phone, and tablet.
Lead Notification: By email and/or text from Top Producer if you choose to be notified.
Team Capabilities: Top Producer didn’t used to be very team friendly, but that has also changed. Team members can be restricted to see only their contacts, listings, and closings. The rest is shared between everyone. Calendars can be shared and tasks can be assigned to any member of the team.
Buyer Home Search: The advanced search allows you to search all contacts for any or all buyer preferences listed in the contact record. This is relatively rare in the industry.
Internal email software: One of the very few that has it’s own email software built right in. Some like Top Producer’s. Some don’t. If you do, it makes life a lot easier to have your contact, property and email information all in one place. I used Advantage Xi for about five years and it had it’s own email software. Trust me when I tell you you can’t understand how much faster and easier it is until you’ve experienced it.
E-mail Displayed With Contact Record: There are quite a number of options in Top Producer. You can use any e-mail you want that uses IMAP. That includes Gmail, Yahoo, AOL, Outlook.com, Mail.com, GMX, Outlook 365, GoDaddy, and more. If you’re using Outlook or Apple Mail it’s easy to find out if you have an IMAP account. That said, it is a display of the email. The email is not stored with the contact. It is essentially a window into your email account to display the emails. They can’t be printed out from within Top Producer to retain with the contact’s file.
That’s the first way. You also have the option of using the email software built into Top Producer. You can send and receive email from within it. It is the only web based real estate CRM software that offers this ability. This way allows you to print the email history.
If you have Outlook installed on your computer, you can install a utility from Top Producer that adds buttons to Outlook that allows you to click and essentially say store this email in this contact’s record in Top Producer. This method also allows you to print the email history.
Lastly, you can use the Gmail sync. Using the Gmail Group “Top Producer” automatically links emails in Gamil to your Top Producer account. This allows you to print the email history as well. Confused? Call me and I’ll explain.
Blast Email – Top Producer allows unlimited blast emails (I’m sure if you get too carried away to the tune of tens of thousands that you may hear about it). That said, they have no campaign reporting/back end statistics such as opens, unsubscribes, click throughs, etc. To enable you to have that information, they have teamed up with Mail Chimp and Bomb Bomb. Those are free to a point and then over a certain amount there is a fee.
Email campaign reporting: Very few have their own internal email campaign reporting/back -end. IXACT Contact, Propertybase and Leading Agent are some that do.
Capable of building email drip campaigns: Yes
Capable of building activity plans: Yes
Included template content: Top Producer, WiseAgent and IXACT Contact are several that have a good deal of template content included.
Social media: Covered in Unique or Notable Features above
Call center: No
Lockbox manager: One field for the Lockbox code
Included Template Content – A large selection of template emails, letters, fliers, and post cards. Virtually all template emails in any CRMs need a little tweaking to make them fit your personality and market. The fliers and post cards are a bit dated but they are editable. There is also a good selection of the templates in Spanish.
Top Producer’s History
Top Producer – The 800 pound gorilla! Since 1989
Top Producer has been the market share leader for Real Estate CRM since soon after it came out in 1989. I was informed recently that it actually started out as J. W. Williams, maybe in 1986. When it came out, the only other Real Estate CRMs on the market were Howard & Friends and Real Estate Specialist. They had been out since 1982 and 1985 respectively, but came out so early that there was a very small market. Most agents didn’t have a computer let alone the desire to purchase what was then called a contact manager. By 1989 computers were becoming a little more widely used so Top Producer’s timing may have had something to do with their success in that respect. To put it in perspective, I paid $3,000 for a laptop with 400 meg of hard drive in 1989. It was then three years before it had any competition which was Online Agent which was later renamed to Agent Office.
Top Producer has been much maligned over the years and more often than not it was either exaggerated, unjustified, or just simply not true. If you would like a detailed account of this topic I wrote an article about it that you can read here. That is not to say that they have not had issues, but it is now arguably the most feature rich overall solution available with little to complain about.
At that time, Century 21 and RE/MAX were two of, if not the largest franchises in the country. Within a year or two of Top Producer coming out, Century 21 adopted it as it’s recommended CRM du jour. That catapulted Top Producer into the lead position in market share. Agent Office was then adopted by RE/MAX which gave it the opportunity to compete. Unfortunately for Agent Office, it’s varying owners over the next 16 years would not keep up with Top Producer, clearing an easy path for Top Producer to claim the lion’s share of the market to this day. Another factor for their success is that they have always been very aggressive marketers. To illustrate the point, I had a conversation around 1990 about Top Producer with George Tharpe who was one of the principles in Real Estate Specialist (RES). He remembered being at a convention to promote RES and seeing Randy Purcell who was the original developer of Top Producer. He was sleeping in his car instead of a hotel room. Why? So he could spend the money on marketing! They continue that philosophy today to the extent that some users complain about getting too many promotional emails.
Top Producer has come a very long way since the beginning. It started out as a DOS application and then in 2002 they released web based version 7i. I could be wrong here but if memory serves, version 7i needed to be reworked in a major way due to programmatic limitations with it’s structure that would inhibit growth and the ability to take advantage of new developments in technology. That necessitated the release of version 8i in 2007 which was very different and lacked some of the features that 7i users had come to like. That was yet another reason for the boobirds to start chanting.
The original developers sold Top Producer to Homestore long ago which later became Move.com and has been the owner ever since. Recently NewsCorp bought Homes.com. Will it affect Top Producer? Can’t imagine why. And that’s where we are today.
Three part review of Top Producer in Video
Top Producer’s regular price is $40mo.
You can order on my Top Producer page by clicking on the order or trial buttons here, you will see the sale price when you use the promo codes.
Benefits of buying here:
My email drip campaigns will help you get started by:
- Help setting up your Sales Pipeline & Follow-up Coach by getting the contacts labeled correctly
- Learning how to add contact information the right way
- Learn how to build contact types the right way
You have one person to call if you ever have administrative issues with Top Producer. I am your representative and I get listened to. In this case it is good to have a middle man.
I will also give you the contact information for my contact at Top Producer. He is not for tech support. But you have a Top Producer representative that you can call directly and actually know his name.
Have a question for me? Click on the button and ask away!