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What Clients Need Most in a Market Like Today’s

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By Chuck Green

RISMEDIA, July 18, 2008-With all of the industry talk on strategizing ways to return to basics, it can also simply be a matter of turning to the client to see what they need to fulfill their home buying and selling expectations. Mary Kay Pendergraph, general sales manager for Fonville Morisey Realty, says that in addition to adequate research to price homes properly, real estate is all about relationships. If you build strong ones with your clients, you’ll continue to thrive in a slow market.

pendergraph_marykay.jpgMary Kay Pendergraph
General Sales Manager
Fonville Morisey Realty
Raleigh, North Carolina

Years in real estate: 24
Number of offices: 12
Number of agents: 700
Region served: Entire Triangle area, North Carolina
Best tip for getting the right listing price: Getting the right price requires a thorough study of the market. Research the subject property; evaluate the most recent comparable closed and pending sales, and the active listings currently competing with the seller’s property.
Best tip for dealing with difficult customers: I believe you have to explore what’s causing them to be difficult. Do they view the process as intimidating? Are they unhappy about having to move? Generally, once you understand why they’re being difficult, it’s much easier to know how to respond. My best tip is to take the emotion out of it. Our job is to make it a business transaction.
Best tip for running a successful meeting: Start on time, have an agenda, stay on task and end on time. Be sure that nobody monopolizes the meeting and everyone leaves having learned something of value.

What strategies are most effective for you in terms of recruiting?

Fonville Morisey has its own real estate school, offering pre- and post-licensing, continuing education and professional designations. Our school is a great source for recruiting. Our most effective strategies are in what we offer our associates.

Best strategies for dealing with a slower market?

Return to basics. Call your sphere of influence and past clients, send them valuable information and ask for referrals. Improve your skills, get a designation, increase your marketing efforts and update your website. Be positive and keep moving forward. Real estate is all about relationships. If you build strong ones with your clients, you’ll continue to thrive in a slow market.

Is a home warranty important for attracting customers? If so, why?

We currently have a relationship with American Home Shield. A home warranty can help protect buyers from unexpected surprises and reduce a seller’s liability after the sale. Sometimes a warranty can help calm the fear of the unknown with a resale property.

How do you communicate with customers?

We try to discover what means of communication suits our client best. We use everything, including e-mail, voice-mail, text messaging, regular mail, phone calls and personal visits. It seems to be generational. Some prefer face to face, but the new generation seems to prefer e-mail. A great tool for this is the new VOIP phones that allow our associates to literally forward their calls anywhere. When a voice-mail message is recorded, it’s also dropped into our Outlook e-mail and sent to our associates’ BlackBerry devices. That allows us to be very responsive.

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