When you think about interactions a realtor has with their client, you often think about phone calls and face-to-face meetings. But they aren’t the only interactions. Nowadays, a lot of relationship building and communication is done online. These digital interactions - such as sharing documentation with your clients online - play an important part in the overall customer experience. That’s why choosing a tool that's secure and easy for clients to use is essential..
In this article, I’ll list 5 of my favorite file sharing tools.
5 tools realtors can use to share files
Our verdict: a great choice if security is a priority
While email is convenient and has long been the go-to way for realtors to send documents and property photos, it isn’t secure. Quite often, email isn’t encrypted so sensitive information like passport or social security numbers should not be sent over it.
When you need to send information securely, software like P Cloud can really help. P cloud’s paid-for offering lets you send files to your clients with added security features like expiring links and password protection.
$4.99 per month.
- Generous storage allowances
- Great security features
Slightly deceptive pricing: the pricing page doesn’t immediately surface the monthly pricing, which could force people into taking an annual subscription they don’t want. You can find the monthly pricing here.
Our verdict: a no brainer if your client is already an active Google Drive user.
I’m going to come right out and say it: Google Drive probably doesn’t really stack up when you compare the features available on other file sharing platforms. But Google Drive does have one major thing going for it …familiarity. Having worked exclusively in the software industry, I know first hand that some people just don’t like learning new tools. Google Drive’s biggest strength is the fact it’s very widely used. If your client already uses Google Drive in their personal life, they’ll be delighted to see you use it when working with them on their listing.
Sharing documents over Google Drive also means you can access the collaboration features available in Google Docs, like comments.
$12 per user, per month.
- Clients are often familiar with how it works
- A good fit if you use Google Drive and Google Docs for your own daily business activities
- Basic file sharing functionality compared to competitors
Our verdict: Super easy to use, but probably overkill unless you’re transferring large files.
WeTransfer is a service which lets realtors send clients files with a link or through its email delivery service. Much like PCloud, WeTransfer allows you to set passwords and expiry dates on the links you use to send files.
One thing that immediately sets WeTransfer apart from competitors is how slick it is. The design is clean and incredibly easy to use.
WeTransfer lets you send and receive files up to 200gb, which is huge. While this is fantastic for creative industries that work with large design files, it may be a bit much for a realtor or a real estate agency that’s just looking to share the occasional photo or building layout. Unless you’re regularly transferring property videos or other large files, we’d probably recommend trying out a different tool from WeTransfer.
$12 per month.
- You’re paying for more transfer data than a realtor is likely to need. The tool is probably better suited for industries needing large file transfers, like designers or architects.
Our verdict: More often used as a project management tool, but could be a powerful asset to realtors managing a complex plan.
Nifty is a project management tool which facilitates collaboration between companies and their clients. The software lets you assign tasks, set deadlines and share files.
It’s important to note that Nifty isn’t designed to be a file sharing tool, but it does have some good file sharing features. Once you’ve set up a project with a client, Nifty gives you a depository where you and the client can view all the files in one place.
Unfortunately, Nifty doesn’t let you send files to clients unless they’re signed in. So if you’re solely looking for a file sharing tool with no additional functionality, Nifty might not meet your brief. However, if you’re managing a complicated listing that requires a lot of client input, Nifty gives you a lot of features for a small price. It also means you and your client can keep all your correspondence and conversations in one place.
$5 per month for 40 projects.
- Fantastic value for money for all the features you’re getting
- Good for complex listings
- Well-organized and centralized document repository
- Requires sign-in to view the files, which not all clients will do
- While Nifty is one of the easiest project management tools to use, project management software as a whole isn’t always intuitive for client
Our verdict: One of the quirkier and more fun tools, but probably better for internal communication than client file sharing
Slack is a tool which has seen a huge surge in popularity in recent years. It’s colorful, allows custom emojis and feels much more like Facebook than it does a corporate business tool. If your goal as a realtor was to appeal to a younger audience, using Slack might help set you apart.
You can create “channels” which let you manage dialogue with your clients all in one place, sharing your files there.
While Slack is certainly worth mentioning on this list, it may be a little restrictive as a client file sharing tool. Slack is designed for internal communication within a company, and while you can adapt it for external communications, a lot of its features are limited, such the need to be signed in to access documents. Slack also charges on a “per user” basis, so adding new clients could get very expensive.
$7.25 per user, per month.
- Easy to attach files within its messaging service
- Fun, casual and engaging
- More designed for internal communication than external correspondence with clients
- Users need to be signed in to receive files
5 tips for a smooth file sharing experience
Choosing a tool is a big part of improving your file sharing experience, but there’s a little more to it than getting a new piece of tech.
- Find out if clients are already using file sharing software - It’s easier to get clients to use software they’re already familiar with than trying to get them to adapt to a new tool.
- Be on hand to explain how the tools work over the phone - You may feel a little bit like IT Support but your client will appreciate the service and effort. Better yet, teach your client how to use the file sharing software at the onboarding stage.
- Email is still OK in some scenarios, but never for sensitive information! Email is fine for brochures and generic information you’d be happy to have in the public domain, but it’s never suitable for confidential information.
- Some clients may just be better on paper - Not every client can keep up with technology. Serving the clients needs is the most important thing. If your client is a tech luddite, you may be better off sending them files on paper via snail mail.
- If you’re sending the same file to every client, consider publishing it online. If it’s a file you don’t mind being publicly available, like a brochure, publish the file online. You can even add a link to that file to your digital business card so people will be able to see it when they meet you.
File sharing best practices
Password protect anything with client information on it
When a client shares their personal information with a realtor, they’re trusting that you’ll keep their information safe. When you’re sharing files, make sure that files with client information have a password on it to stop unwelcome guests accessing it.
Enable two-factor authentication for whichever file sharing software you choose
Two-factor authentication is a security process where you add an extra layer of security to a login. If file sharing software has two-factor authentication, a realtor logging in will have to provide their password and then another form of authentication. Quite commonly, this is a code from an authenticator app on your phone, but it could also be a code from a SMS message.
I’d personally recommend using Microsoft’s authenticator app for two-factor authentication. To do this:
- Follow this guide for downloading and installing the app
- Navigate to the security settings of your chosen file sharing software, and follow instructions. This usually involves scanning a code with your phone with your microsoft authenticator app.
Back up important information
If there’s important files and documents that you may need to store on your clients behalf that you’re likely to need in the future, it’s good practice to back this information up. A good example of information a realtor stores that they may need again in the future is feedback comments generated from property surveys.
Delete sensitive information you no longer need
The passport scan you used to verify a client’s identity, the social security number you used to help secure the mortgage: if there’s sensitive information on your systems that you no longer need, delete it. Not only is it the responsible thing to do in case of hacks or data breaches, it makes business sense, as more and more consumers seek out firms which have good data protection protocols.
Are you a realtor that’s excited by new digital tools? Learn more about Blinq, the digital business card realtors can’t get enough of.