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Emphasizing Agents as The Greatest Asset

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By Lesley Geary

RISMEDIA, Dec. 22, 2007-James Bolin, general manager of Carol Jones, Realtors says that his company is agent-centric. With a mentality of “agent-first,” Bolin feels that accommodating his agents starts with the first step in a successful real estate process, and what better way to accommodate them than by providing top-notch training and opportunities for these agents to thrive. Here, meet what’s working for the Springfield and Branson, Missouri-based brokerage.

bolin_jim.jpgJames L. Bolin
General Manager
Carol Jones, Realtors
Springfield and Branson, Missouri

Years in real estate: 14; six in sales and eight in management. Career path: Taught English and coached for 10 years. Operated a restaurant in Branson for 10 years and then started selling real estate part time in 1993; went full time in 1996. Number of offices: 12 Average sales price: $150,000 Number of agents: Approximately 500 Average time on market: 65 days In my spare time: “I read business, fiction, newspapers and magazines. It really doesn’t matter what I read; it fills all the blank spots in my day when I am awake and not driving or in conversation with someone.” What about your market? “We’re down year over year between 10 and 15 percent.”

In your opinion, what differentiates your brokerage from the others in the marketplace? Our training is envied by most of the Realtors in the market. We have a year-round program. We bring in national training. We also pay for more than half of the continuing education classes for our agents. So, in a word, it’s the training that separates us from all of the rest. Our staff and management understand that we are agent-centered. Our agents are our first customers. Our greatest assets walk out the door every day. We understand this so we try very hard to accommodate their needs.

How would you describe the demographics of your clientele? We are the best example of a full-service brokerage that services every range of property. We sell houses from $120,000 to $750,000. Ours is a population that includes everything you can think of all across the board.

With regard to advertising, how does The Real Estate Book® help with your marketing efforts? The Real Estate Book is a very valuable marketing tool for us. First of all, it delivers all of the ads that are placed in The Real Estate Book to 20 Internet sites. Any leads that are generated by the sites or printed ads are given directly to our agents. So, it has a far greater reach than local magazines that only hit a very small local audience. The agents like the vast reach, of course.

Also, the smaller size of The Real Estate Book is a real plus. It’s portable and very readable. Buyers may not contact an agent immediately but they do tend to take The Real Estate Book with them and put it in their purse and pull it out and read it over later when they have time. So besides being portable they have a long shelf life.

What is your philosophy for a successful life in real estate? You have to get up early. Have a plan everyday. And especially in this market you have to prospect for business every day that you work. You can’t escape this. Segment your day. If you do not prospect then you may not survive this market. Go back to the basics. It’s the agent with the listings who will not only survive this market but will make millions. And last but not least-never stop learning.

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