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Growing through a Fresh Approach

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By Nick Caruso

Is your company growing? In the following interview, RISMedia’s Nick Caruso talks to Jeff Owens, president of Better Homes and Gardens® Real Estate Big Hill, about the top three elements behind his company’s successful growth.

Jeff Owens
Better Homes and Gardens® Real Estate Big Hill
Dayton, Ohio

Regions served: Dayton, Columbus, Cincinnati, Centerville, Englewood, Kettering, Dublin, Beavercreek, Westerville, Wilmington, Delaware, Springboro, Grove City and Reynoldsburg areas
Years in real estate: 24
Number of offices: 12
Number of agents: 220

Tell us about your recent growth.
It’s a great time to grow, especially with a brand like Better Homes and Gardens® Real Estate. Since joining the network in 2010, we’ve been able to capitalize on the Better Homes and Gardens® brand name, which is fresh and appealing to both real estate agents and consumers in our markets. Last year alone, we opened two offices in Columbus, Ohio, and have since grown 35 percent in that market. Due to this success, we opened a third office in Columbus in April 2012 and had 12 agents eager to join the office before opening.

What are the key drivers of your successful growth?
Prior to joining Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate, we didn’t have recognition outside of Dayton. Now we are part of a nationally recognized brand that has helped us expand into key markets such as Columbus, Cincinnati and Richmond (Ind.).

There are three other factors that have been essential to our growth:

1. The advanced technical tools that Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate supplies have progressed our business. We have easy access to the brand’s intranet, the Greenhouse, which houses an impressive menu of marketing tools, resources and guidelines across multiple disciplines. Additionally, Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate equips us with Pinpoint, an extensive database of millions of potential homebuyers and sellers, which enhances our ability to target customers.

2. We have invested heavily in search engine optimization (SEO) to ensure that our website and listings appear in prime positioning on the result pages of Web searches. By using this marketing approach we can track how our investment leads directly to lead generation.

3. I have become a principal broker for Cartus in our market, which generates many relocation opportunities for us, especially in Columbus and surrounding areas.

What sets your agents apart from others?
Our company is unique because of our culture. We have an excellent retention rate due to the entrepreneurial attitude of our agents, an established leadership team and a shared approach in adapting to the specific wants and needs of each consumer.

A great example of the care and customer service consumers can expect from a Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Big Hill agent can be seen through the brand’s online and nationally syndicated reality show, “Home, First HomeSM.” One of our agents, Andrew Gaydosh, is featured in the series as he takes a local first-time homebuyer through the process of buying a home.

What impact has ‘Home, First Home’ had on your business?
Andrew’s appearance on “Home, First Home” has been fantastic for our agency. We take pride in the relationships between our agents and clients, and it’s wonderful to share that with a large audience. It’s given us the opportunity to gain exposure in our market through its airings on “The Better Show” and the local and national media attention it has garnered. This is a great example of how the brand does more than just advertise—they believe in the power of content and the value in making it adaptable on a local level for its brokerages. Through social media channels and drip email marketing campaigns, we have additional opportunities to reach our sphere of influence with this valuable information.

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