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RISMEDIA, August 19, 2008-It’s no secret that a number of inexperienced real estate agents who came aboard during the most recent market upsurge have since left the industry. For seasoned agents, today’s challenge to stay successful is often a matter of combining tried and true business strategies with gaining expertise in new areas. Many are taking advantage of NAR’s vast offering of educational and technological resources-including certification opportunities and continuing education courses in all phases of professional development, which you can peruse at www.REALTOR.org/education. This month’s Power Broker Roundtable participants share their views on how experienced agents are staying ahead of the curve.

Alex Perriello, Special Liaison for Large Firm Relations, NAR

Alan J. Smith, RE/MAX Professionals, Denver, Colorado

Diane Turton, Broker/Owner, Diane Turton Realtors, Monmouth Co., New Jersey

Darren Kittleson, Supervising Broker, Keller Williams Realty, Madison Wisconsin

AP: What are you doing in your office to ensure your agents continue to stay successful?

Alan Smith: In our company, we’ve started a three-fold training program that meets weekly and focuses on three key issues: retraining in basic sales strategies; making the most of relationship selling; and working more effectively with sellers. We had a great May and June in the Denver area because the fact is that good houses priced right are selling-and there are great buying opportunities that really pay off when an agent stays in touch with past clients.

Diane Turton: On the Jersey shore, we are basically selling lifestyle. Homes that were listed at $1.2 million a year or two ago can now be purchased for $800,000. Those opportunities really pay off for experienced agents who have a big database of past clients to contact. At the same time, we place high value on nurturing sellers. It is not always easy to call your sellers, especially when times are slow. But by keeping them informed about what’s happening in the market, we help them to stay grounded in reality and that can be the key to successful selling.

Darren Kittleson: Experience does count. In the Madison area, we’ve lost 15% of our agents in the last 12 months or so, but we have not lost an experienced agent in four years or more. That is not just because they have a bigger database, but because we work with these agents to help make the most of that advantage. Our corporate office recently started a weekly Power Hour, featuring tips for calling past clients, ways to expand your database, and reporting results from increased activity in these basic strategy areas.

AP: So experienced agents do have an edge in today’s market?

AS: Absolutely. They’ve seen it all before. They have likely put a few bucks in the bank, and they’ve learned to adapt as the market changes. Most of all, they are always looking to sharpen their skills. They make the most of “downtime” by taking an online class, either ours or through NAR, that can give them an edge in a specialized area such as relocation or high-end sales.

DT: Our agents know that relationship selling will help them stay competitive and successful. Relationship selling means lots of phone calls and lots of hand-holding, and experienced agents know how to do that with grace. Frequent phone calls not only inspire trust and confidence, but they are the surest way to generate leads and continually expand your database.

DK: Our most experienced agents also know the value of keeping clients informed about marketing resources and services. One of the basics in this industry is simply to ask for referrals, and that is something our experienced agents are more inclined to do. One of our offices campaigned to do that recently, and took 18 listings in seven days. Success is often a matter of doing what you do best-and doing it even better in the clutch.

The Power Broker Roundtable is brought to you by the National Association of REALTORS® and Alex Perriello, NAR’s Special Liaison for Large Firm Relations. Watch for this column each month, where we will address broker issues, concerns and milestones.