Years in real estate: 31
Region served: Polk, Montgomery, Scott and Sevier, Arkansas; McCurtain and Le Flore, Oklahoma
What is the key to building new business in today’s market?
I try to target specific customer groups. We are in an area that has many retirees or second-home buyers, so I focus my efforts on the Baby Boomers. I am the only CRS (Certified Residential Specialist) agent in Mena, Arkansas, which acts as a great referral program. I am also a licensed appraiser and advertise free property value estimates. Once I do the appraisal, I usually get the listing. In today’s market, you have to use an overall strategy, which means covering all the bases.
How have you evolved your strategies in this tough environment?
Financing is the key to everything in today’s market. I am continually updating my files and tracking each nuance of the financial situation so I can educate my customers accordingly. We are a small town and that also means that business ethics are crucial. In the middle of a difficult market, there is always opportunity. I am focused and disciplined and I try to adapt to the market. We are getting away from marketing three-bedroom houses. Instead, we are marketing a very attractive lifestyle.
Are you relying on more technology?
Of course. We have smartphones, which are great for staying in touch and working on-the-go. I also use social marketing extensively. You can really deepen your relationships with past and present clients through Facebook. Social marketing has become a must. We also depend on email–reviewing so we can sign documents via email, enabling us to better manage our time. We still do a lot of old-fashioned marketing, too, since Mena is a big retirement area. This market is heavily populated with seniors and many of them do not have computers. Many seniors still depend on face-to-face meetings, where we share our insights and expertise about the community and market trends, or pass on our knowledge about services provided.
Talk about the importance of your website.
Web pages must be user-friendly. My website also links me to 35 other websites, all of which help produce leads that must be answered immediately. It is how we connect with consumers today. My ABR® (Accredited Buyer’s Representative) designation also provides a valuable resource related to online reputation management.
Where do you get the biggest bang for your marketing dollars?
We are connected to various websites, such as Realtor.com®, digital or mobile platforms, and social media. QR codes are a necessary element, as is a solid mix of venues based on market needs. Buyers today are very value-driven and priorities have changed.
What are you doing differently this year to attract buyers?
With my background as a teacher, I do a great deal of educating when it comes to our clients. We are more like consultants for our clients; educating them about all the options and strategies available. We also take the time to discuss the various costs and effects before deciding on the best course of action.
What are your three top priorities for sellers when they first list in this market?
Marketing the property at the right price is the number one priority. Also, take good pictures to get it on several web pages. Visual tours are a great tool, as well. People want good, old-fashioned feedback, especially in this market, so I take the time to call and communicate with my sellers. If you don’t communicate with your seller, he or she will be off to the next agent.
What is the key to a successful life in real estate?
Long-term customer relationships are key. Also, you have to provide the utmost professional service. You have to be totally committed to helping clients and providing the most professional service to keep in touch. Keeping up with their birthdays, anniversaries and special occasions allows me to add a personal touch when working with my clients. We depend on repeat clients, so it’s crucial that we go above and beyond for them. Lead generation, energy and enthusiasm are important, too.