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John M Peckham III is the chairperson of the Peckham Boston Advisory Co., a Boston-based commercial investment real estate brokerage firm, past chairman of Strategic Planning for the National Association of Realtors and past president of the Massachusetts Association of Realtors. But he may be best known as executive director of the Real Estate Cyberspace Society, a virtual organization dedicated to advancing the use of technology in real estate. In the second of a two-part interview, Peckham talks about the ways technology is affecting the industry.

GlobeSt.com: How should commercial brokers make the most of technology?

Peckham: The Internet has transformed how agents work with listings and potential buyers. Better information can be disseminated quicker, cheaper and to more recipients than ever before. Listserves (aka listservers) are lists maintained by others that group or collect contacts interested in a certain type of property. An e-mail message can be tailored to a list so a single message can be disseminated to several thousand recipients who are all interested in its content.

GlobeSt.com: What is the Real Estate Cyberspace Society’s E-mail Broadcast Wizard?

Peckham: It’s a tool available without cost to members that facilitates sending targeted e-mail messages to listserves. It includes the 55 real estate-related lists that contain the most names, narrowed from about 4,000 such lists that exist. The wizard describes the nature of each listserve and the number of names each include. Members may subscribe without cost to as many of the lists as they wish by simply clicking a box. The send portion of the wizard allows members to type in a message and sends it out to all of their selected listserves (which could total more than 50,000 recipients) at no charge.

GlobeSt.com: What advantage does the wizard offer?

Peckham: Mass distribution of a single message represents tremendous leverage. This is ‘in your face’ marketing that reaches the right people for a particular listing. Using listserves is not spamming because contacts on the list have requested to receive information by signing up (opting in). The system can be used to find both buyers and sellers. For example, I used a listserve to find properties for buyers who wanted three hotels in New England to replace property in Hawaii. The purchase was completed in 90 days.

GlobeSt.com: What’s the role of the Real Estate Cyberspace Society?

Peckham: The society has a wealth of technology information and tools for real estate pros. Even many members don’t realize all that’s there. Real Buyer Direct is a tool on the site geared to help members find buyers. Members can go to the program at any time and get five buyers for any kind of property. For an annual fee of $45, members can have unlimited access to leads.

GlobeSt.com: Where is the commercial real estate industry heading?

Peckham: Technology will continue to advance and provide significant competitive advantage to those using the latest strategies. Everything is evolving to be very small and very fast. Commercial brokerage is marching toward the ability to coordinate sales completely and be the center of transaction activity. In addition, technology will make effective commercial marketing much less expensive and more powerful.

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