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Competing on Today’s Playing Field

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By Lesley Geary

Top 5 in Real Estate Network, February 2009–Lester Cox
Realty Executives/the Cox Team
Years in real estate:
38
Region Served: Metro Phoenix area
Average sales price in your market: $194,000
Career Path: I have been a Realtor my entire career.

What’s the best way to compete in today’s market?

You shift your business to where the business is. If you are selling apples and no one is buying them, you have to sell oranges if that’s what they are buying. In this market we are seeing short sales and REO’s. In fact, about 53% of the market is made up of short sales, REO’s and foreclosures-so that is what we are specializing in today.

How do you emphasize the value of your skills over another agent’s?

Well a lot of it is about being well prepared. We will also guarantee the sale of a home or we’ll buy it. If any buyer is not happy with the home they bought, we will buy it back or sell it for free. Guarantees backed by cash are the key to differentiating ourselves. Most agents tend to advertise things that should be the minimum standards of even being in the business.

How do you handle expired listings?

I don’t have a lot of those because we won’t list houses if sellers do not list them for the right price. It is of utmost importance to position the home correctly from the beginning of the selling term to generate ample traffic to insure success.

How do you provide consumers with relevant information?

The first thing I want to do is meet with them and see what they really need. What is the right house for them? Then we automatically e-mail them every time a relevant house comes onto the market. I am coached by Craig Proctor and follow his systems. I am also a coach for Craig Proctor, teaching other Realtors the system. One of our beliefs is that we need to provide buyers with all the information they need to make a great and informed purchase decision. For example, why should I, as a Realtor, decide which four or five houses they should see? Instead, I provide them with information on every listing that comes onto the market and let them decide which houses they would like to see.

How do you get the best possible price for sellers?

We position the house properly-that is the number-one thing to do. You have to make a strong statement about a new listing and staging is crucial. The home has to have the right paint colors, carpets cleaned, landscaping, etc. You also have to get the family into the correct mindset so they are ready to sell and to move.

What is the most creative advertising you are using?

Infomercial type spots. I have a one-minute T.V. spot once a week that usually results in 28 to 30 good leads. Craig has taught me over the years how to effortlessly generate tons of good quality leads.

What’s your best idea for turning this market to your advantage?

The real estate market is in the worst condition I’ve seen in my 38 years as a Realtor, yet, we are as busy as we’ve ever been. So the one thing I can do is to get these excess bank owned properties sold at a fair price and get them out of the bank’s hands and back in the hands of the private sector. As soon as we can do that, the market will begin its natural recovery.

What’s your best idea for time management?

Planning. If you spend the last 20 or 30 minutes of your day planning the next day, you can prioritize. List the 10 things you need to get done the next day. It’s like goal planning, only daily.

Top 5 in Real Estate welcomes your questions and comments. Please e-mail feedback@top5inrealestate.com.

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