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Smart Investments in a Tough Market

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TOP 5 IN REAL ESTATE NETWORK, April, 2009-Sandra Simmonds
Prudential Florida Realty
Average sales price in your market: $200,000

Has your marketing budget changed due to market conditions?
It’s actually not so much my marketing budget that has had to change but my business model-that has really changed. My marketing budget has always been lean, about 10% of my business. This year, though, I have added to my business model by learning about and targeting market areas that will produce results, i.e. bank-owned properties. I changed my business model to coincide with the market.

How do you determine which areas are okay to cut back on?
I evaluate my marketing. I implement my business plan at the end of the year based on the results I have had during the year. I do virtually no print advertising any more. I’d say 99% of my marketing today is online.

What areas are most important to continue to invest in?
The Internet is the place to be so I try to develop more sophisticated tools on the Internet for my clients. That’s why I joined Top 5. I am really looking forward to the Top 5 webinars. I am very excited about it because I will get a lot more people to do an online seminar than I could get to sit in a room with me. Top 5 will also be a great tool for agents and add one more element of professionalism to the arena because of the knowledge that consumers can tap into.

How do you know when to increase spending?
I have just made a decision to increase my tools. I do Internet marketing in one area, Orlando, but I just made the decision to branch out. If I get a good return on my investment then I will utilize that tool in other areas.

What type of marketing is most effective with consumers?
Interactive tools that give them instant results. Consumers today are very spoiled with how quickly they can get information and responses, too. You have to be able to get them information immediately and get back with them immediately.

Where do agents usually go wrong in terms of marketing?
What investments have the worst ROI? I don’t know if it’s the worst but I think where agents get into trouble is marketing without measuring. They have to know what the return is.

What do you believe some of the greatest benefits of Top 5 will be?
I think the top benefit of Top 5 is that it’s going to show that agents are professional and that they have a wealth of resources for consumers. I also think the networking with other agents is a great asset.

How are you building Top 5 branding into your marketing materials?
I have the consumer information on my website and then I would like to use it for prospecting for expired listings, FSBOs and qualified short sales.

What was it about the Top 5 concept that most resonated with you?
It’s a one-stop shop. You can come into my website and I have priceless information. This is an amazing value. The cost to acquire these resources from a crediable source would be virtually impossible.

How is Allan Dalton’s understanding of the real estate business and real estate consumers of benefit to the Top 5 Network?
He has been around and done this in many facets and he knows what he is doing. He is just a wealth of knowledge.

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