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In the Trenches – Actively Staying Involved

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By Stephanie Andre

RISMEDIA, March 19, 2010—Staying on the front lines and being aware of everything occurring within their business, Todd Hetherington, CEO and Mary Lynn Stone, President of Century 21 New Millenniumhave been able to weather the storm and keep their company successful.

Todd Hetherington
CEO
Mary Lynn Stone
President
Century 21 New Millennium
Alexandria, Virginia

Started in real estate: Todd, full time since 1990; Mary, 1978
Number of offices: 13
Region served: D.C. Metro area and surrounding areas in Virginia and Maryland
Average listing price: $325,000
Average days on market: It varies a lot, but probably about two months.
Most beneficial background experience: If you have been in a business or service-based career, that’s usually the best past skill to have. We have found that some of our better and more successful people have had no background in business at all. However, they are open to being trained and following a business plan. Being successful isn’t just about being a good salesperson; it’s about being the best of both worlds: being a people person who gets the business side of the equation.

Congratulations, your company was recently named the number one CENTURY 21® brokerage in the U.S.
Todd:
Mary Lynn and I never focused on being number one in CENTURY 21. We are happy to be in the top 10 because that means we’re successful. We focus competitively on our local market. We wouldn’t be proud to say we’re number one in the country if we weren’t beating our competitors locally and working hard. We look at what our CENTURY 21 colleagues are doing across the country and compare our stats vs. markets. For example, the D.C. Metro market was up 8% last year; our company was up 18%, which is a difference of 108%. We doubled the increase that our market had. That’s what we want to focus on.
Mary Lynn: We use ourselves as the measurement. We have great respect for the other large companies in our area. The ranking within the CENTURY 21 System is very meaningful, though.

To what do you attribute your success in such a highly competitive area?
Mary Lynn:
In 10 years as Century 21 New Millennium, we have stayed one of the best-kept secrets in our market. The tools and training systems that we deliver are comprehensive and tie directly to enhancing our agents’ performance. In the last 12-18 months, a lot of agents have joined us, so maybe the secret’s getting out. We work very hard to truly provide the best of everything for our agents.
Todd: We are big enough to have the clout to get the brand behind us, but locally owned and operated. If we need to turn something around on a dime, we can. But we still have the benefit of being affiliated with a great brand.
Mary Lynn: Todd and I are on the front lines; I work in an actual branch. We work with actual agents and we’re very involved with our sleeves rolled up. It helps us make decisions quicker and see what’s really going on.

Because you have that in-the-trenches vision, you must see the trend toward social media. How are you including it in your business?
Todd: We are fully involved in social media and have tied our business into Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and ActiveRain. We see something like Facebook as going through different phases. A lot of people in their 20s are only on it for a few minutes at a time; these days it seems like it’s more of the 40- to 50-year-olds engaging. There are cycles to all of this, and because of that, it requires us to try to be as engaged as possible in different media.
Mary Lynn: For Todd and me, our greatest challenge is to be forward-thinking and get our agents to move with what’s available.

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