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‘Keeping It Real’ – How SentriLock Builds Momentum by Putting the User in Control

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By Maria Patterson

RISMEDIA, June 8, 2009-For SentriLock, there’s only one word that can adequately describe 2008: milestone.

By so many different measures, momentum was the order of the year for SentriLock, founded just five years ago as a provider of next-generation electronic lockboxes to the real estate industry, and now majority-owned by the National Association of Realtors. With a client roster that has surged to 205 Realtor boards and associations, SentriLock managed to increase market share by nearly 20%, expanding its services to more than 250,000 real estate agents throughout the U.S. in 2008. The year was also marked by the introduction of the company’s flagship product, REALTOR® Lockbox NXT.

That said, SentriLock has no plans to shift into cruise control and take for granted its impressive business growth, but rather continue to listen to its clients and meet the unique needs of a difficult market.

“We fully recognize that the current market remains very challenging for boards, associations and real estate professionals everywhere,” says John Heithaus, senior vice president of sales and marketing. “SentriLock is keeping it real-we are the only company that puts the association or board in full control of the pricing, policies and features of their lockbox system. SentriLock also reduces both the cost and administrative burdens for agents, brokers and association staff. We are able to offer volume discounts, annual rebates, upgrade benefits, price guarantees and our exclusive ‘Buy it Once, Use it for Life’ features.”

Unlike any other lockbox system, the Realtor Lockbox NXT product contains “smart” technology (such as an electronic keypad) built into the box that is combined with smart-card technology. For the second consecutive year, a national survey of MLSs and AEs gave SentriLock the highest rating among lockbox providers in four out of five key areas: overall satisfaction; lockbox product; service; and system.

“One reason that SentriLock has been such a great partner to us is that they have continued to value our members and respect our contract with them,” says Candy Roberts-Joyce, executive officer of the Middle Tennessee Association of Realtors. “This year, the regional MLS made the conversion to SentriLock. Throughout the process of the pre-install planning, SentriLock was mindful of our members’ existing relationship, and contacted me directly for promotional correspondence notice that would be sent to all MLS users, including my members that did not need to convert.”

Industry buzz about SentriLock is building. For example, a recent blog post from Larry Brewer with Keller Williams Realty in Franklin, Tennessee, explains how his area is in the process of transitioning from another lockbox provider to SentriLock. “…I have experience with both of these systems, as I’ve had both for two years,” writes Brewer. “My opinion is that SentriLock’s are much easier to use, and the access cards are easier to carry on you than a keypad.”

According to Jennifer Klaussen with Keller Williams Realty in McLean, Virginia, Northern Virginia real estate professionals will also soon be upgrading to the “amazing SentriLock system.”

“These are super cool, easy-to-use new boxes that have great benefits to us and sellers,” writes Klaussen. “These boxes have all sorts of great features that our old boxes didn’t have.”

Among the features Klaussen highlights are:

-A “Do Not Disturb” code. Owners can enter a code into the lockbox that allows them complete privacy whenever they need it.
-Better tracking to monitor who’s been inside the listing.
-Large key compartment. If you’re a condo owner, no longer will prospective buyers’ agents have to deal with jammed boxes-there’s plenty of room for keys, fobs, card keys, etc.
-One-day codes so that contractors or appraisers can access the home.
-Smart Card access. “This is really just a better system for us as agents-easier to update, no battery life issues, etc.,” explains Klaussen. “It’s a much more sophisticated system, and that translates to better features all around.”

SentriLock’s commitment to the real estate community extends well beyond its product offering, adds Roberts-Joyce. “SentriLock called to check on us following a devastating tornado that went through our town,” she explains. “SentriLock made a donation to the Red Cross in support of our members and their clients who may have had personal damage. This was incredibly kind, personal and thoughtful. They are part of the NAR family and truly put the best interests of the Realtor community first.”

For Heithaus, the feedback from the real estate community enables him to continue growing SentriLock along the right path. “I can’t begin to describe what it’s like for all of us at SentriLock to read and hear these positive testimonials from our customers,” he says. “The company is extremely proud to be owned by NAR and its members.

“At SentriLock, our focus in 2009 is on ‘keeping it real’ by continuing to work closely with our customers to deliver lockbox products and services that exceed their expectations,” adds Heithaus. “That’s what they’ve come to expect from us, and we’re excited that growing numbers of real estate professionals are giving us the opportunity to serve them.”

For more information, please visit www.sentrilock.com.

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