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Dr. Margot Weinstein has been in commercial real estate long enough to understand market cycles. She knows hot markets turn cold and cold markets eventually recover. But she also knows savvy professionals take advantage of every opportunity—and technology—they can to advance their careers when the market stalls.

Weinstein is founder and CEO of MW Leadership Consultants LLC in Chicago, vice president of Kingston Group Inc., a Chicago-based commercial real estate company, a member of the technology task force for the International Real Estate Federation and the author of several books. She has a doctorate of education in adult learning and counseling. Her research on How CEOs of Real Estate Companies Like to Learn won the 2006 award for the best academic manuscript in education from the American Real Estate Society.

Recently, Weinstein addressed the Real Estate CyberSpace Society about the state of the market, and the commercial technology tools professionals can use in even a less than optimal market. She shares with GlobeSt.com her thoughts about technology and the market.

GlobeSt: Are there any new audio or video programs can help CRE pros create the kind of websites that attract new customers and keep existing clients coming back?

Weinstein: Special media effects are a trend on the Internet, and some of the new audio and video programs are suitable for RE pros to create websites of impact that attract and keep clients. Overweb3d, for instance, allows a real person to walk out over the top of an existing website to deliver a message, give company information or direct visitors to specific areas within their website.

GlobeSt: What phone service is useful for making free or inexpensive international phone calls, including conference calls?

Weinstein: Skype offers free or phone service utilizing an audio or video hookup on your computer. You can call anyone in the world who is also a member of Skype, and even conferences calls are possible.

GlobeSt: How can professionals communicate via e-mail effectively and professionally with both international and local clients?

Weinstein: The protocol for dealing with different cultures applies to e-mail communication. For example, the Chinese are quite formal with their e-mail messages. To communicate by e-mail with high-level people in other parts of the world, adapt a formal letter style. Run grammar and spelling checks, then send yourself a trial copy to see how the format travels. Include your name and something eye-catching to get the recipient’s attention in the subject line.

GlobeSt: How can professionals use blogs to their advantage?

Weinstein: Real estate blogs started as simple, daily journals kept online but have evolved into incredible real estate sites. I use RealTown , Real Estate Tomato and ActiveRain as a resource to expand my contacts. I post real estate tips and strategies on established blogs and regularly get responses from new people.

GlobeSt: What essentials are necessary for an efficient and cost-effective mobile office?

Weinstein: Start with a laptop with built-in camera and audio speakers. Go to My PC allows you to access your main computer from your laptop. Add two cell phones–one for personal use and one strictly for business to assure that you won’t have your business calls interrupted–and invest in a quality camera so that you can take photos and upload them immediately.

GlobeSt: What are some of your favorite websites?

Weinstein: QuickBooks Online is convenient for managing your business. You can just give your accountant an access code to get everything he needs at the end of the year. Evite is useful for party planning but can be applied to business functions, too. And Elance is a good resource for professional support, such as low-cost editing. Also, you should look at SystranBox for translation software products and solutions.

GlobeSt: What are some of your favorite technology programs?

Weinstein: Most professionals who work in the commercial industry must be able to use some of the advanced data management programs such as Argus Software CoStar data and geospatial software to analyze commercial real estate deals. I recently listened to a presentation by Dr. Grant Thrall who has focused on designing technology that integrates land-use location science with geographic information systems (GIS). This new software uses basic principles of location decision and the means for applying them in order to improve the real estate decision. In a changing market place, these new technologies can help professionals gather, analyze, and present information that is both accurate and timely to stay ahead.

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