Thursday, August 1, 2002

Realtors, become a Top Producer with your Palm handheld!

PRODUCT REVIEW

By Heather McDaniel

If you're in the real estate industry, you're probably familiar with the Top Producer brand. Top Producer has long been a piece of contact management software designed just for agents. It allows you to keep track of your to do items, listings, closings, calls, appointments, along with the details associated with all of the above. Now Top Producer (at http://www.topproducer.com/products/palm/) has extended its functionality to Palm OS handhelds.

Top Producer for Palm Computing Connected Organizers 2.0 (the official, rather long-winded name) is available as standalone software or with the desktop version, Top Producer 6i contact management software. In this review, I've used Top Producer with Top Producer 6i.

I already had Top Producer 6i installed on my machine when I got my copy of Top Producer for Palm Computing Connected Organizers 2.0 (henceforth to be called simply "Top Producer"). Installing Top Producer was easy. I did have to perform two HotSync operations, however: the first time to actually complete the installation, and the second time to transfer my database to the device. Before I transferred my data, I was able to filter what data went onto my device from Top Producer 6i. This is great if you're using an older device with a limited amount of memory or if you don't want appointments from two years ago to show up on your device.

One thing that startled me when I turned my device on after installation was that Top Producer took over the bottom buttons of my handheld. For example, I wanted to see what was on my schedule that day, and instead of seeing the good ol' Palm OS Date Book, Top Producer opened. If you're the type of person who doesn't use your Palm handheld for many applications, you might find it very useful to have all of your real estate information available with the touch of a button.

On the other hand, if you're using many applications on your Palm handheld, or if you simply like things how they are, you can change your buttons in Preferences to direct them where you like.

Prior to using Top Producer, I used my contact management software separately from the Palm Desktop. There wasn't an easy way to integrate all of the information I needed to have right then and there at my fingertips. I kept addresses, to do items, and appointments using the standard Palm applications, but I still needed information such as what a client wanted to purchase and how much they were willing to spend. Since this information was completely separate, how can I get this information onto Top Producer without re-entering all of that information?