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Prepping Your Agents for the Future of Real Estate

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What is your key to staying profitable? For Kevin K. Kirkpatrick, President of Prudential Indiana Realty Group, the most important thing is keeping overhead down and working hard. For more of Kirkpatrick’s valuable industry insight, read the following interview, where he dishes out tech and social media tips with RISMedia’s Associate Editor, Zoe Eisenberg.

Kevin K. Kirkpatrick
President
Prudential Indiana Realty Group
Indianapolis, Ind.

Region served: Indianapolis, Ind.
Years in real estate:
36
Number of offices:
17
Number of agents:
450
Average time on market:
90 days
Average sales price:
$136,000
Top tip for building relationships with clients: Keeping in touch, long term. Real estate is a relationship business, so you must keep up with communication; whether it’s good news or bad, you still need to deliver it. We keep in touch with our current clients throughout the transaction and with past clients through relationship-building contact like emails and newsletters.
Can’t-live-without tech tool: Smartphones. They are how we communicate with our clients and with each other. I think they are the tool of our agents today and the tool of the future.

What are the current market conditions in your area?
2010 and 2011 were flat, but we feel good about the market. We’ve gone through inventory, and while we feel we’re bouncing along the bottom a little bit, we see some indications of the market rising, and we’re very optimistic.

How are you implementing social media into your daily business routine?
We’re proactive about bringing our agents up to speed with this new way of communicating. We have a social media director who was hired to help our agents deal with new means of communication, both for keeping in touch with clients and with each other. The director helps us with sites like Facebook and LinkedIn, and we encourage our agents to use all of the various communication vehicles available. Last year, we had a special guest speaker come in and talk to our agents about how to communicate via social media.

What is your key to staying profitable?
Keeping overhead down and working hard. We control spending in relationship to our sales, and we buy more wisely than in the past, and this is by necessity. In the long run, you may have less people working for you, but they’re working harder.

How do you keep your marketing strategy fresh?
Social media helps us keep our marketing fresh because it’s new to us. We market our website, keep that up to speed, link our website and our agents into our apps, and grow our share of information available on our website. We probably have the largest site in the state of Indiana with the most listings because we are represented on multiple boards in multiple communities.

How are you preparing your agents for the future of real estate?
We are bringing in a guest speaker who will be talking about planning for the changes in the marketplace. The market is going to come out of this bucket it has been in and we need to be ready. Social media, constant contact with clients, prepping your clients and educating yourself, and understanding that there is a whole new way of communicating with today’s population of buyers are all ways we can be prepared.

We’re an aging set of agents, and we need to understand how to both bring new agents into this business and ease the more seasoned ones into the new technology so that they can keep up.

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