By Paige Tepping
We all wish success was born over night. But in order to grow your business, it takes persistence and hard work. Read on as Tony Geraci, broker/owner of CENTURY 21 Homestar tells us some of his biggest secrets to success.
Region served: Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati, Ohio
Years in real estate: 20
Number of offices: 1
Number of agents: 235 active agents; 50 referral agents
Average time on market: 127 days
Average sales price: $121,000
Best time management tip: Availability! A broker or manager must be available seven days a week and late into the evenings for their agents. Real estate is not a nine to five business; most work is done after 5 p.m. and on the weekends, so a manager must be available to help their agents at any given time, as real estate never takes a day off.
Can’t live without tech tool: My iPhone. In today’s world you need to be able to talk, text, email, Facebook message, tweet and more. Every office file and document is accessible from my iPhone. If anyone needs anything, I have it wherever I am. Nothing is “stuck” at the office anymore.
Favorite part about working in real estate: Every day is different and there is always something to do and work on. I especially enjoy being able to help my clients buy and sell their homes and be a very important part of their lives.
What can you point to as one of the biggest factors to your ongoing success?
Persistence. As a broker, you cannot stop trying to recruit more agents in addition to helping your agents sell more homes.
What’s your best tip for building relationships with today’s clients?
Communication and availability. Today’s clients want information and answers right away. And with the Internet on everyone’s mobile phone, it’s very easy for clients to get what they’re looking for. If you do not actively communicate with your clients and make yourself available to them, they will leave you and go to someone else.
How are you keeping consumers educated about the buying opportunities available today?
We train our agents to use the tools given to them by the MLS and Century 21. We have the technology to keep our clients updated minute to minute on everything that is new, pending, sold and dropping in price in their market. Agents have to keep pushing this information to their buyers and sellers.
How do you communicate and keep in contact with your customers?
Most important is to find out what communication tools your client likes to use. Whether they prefer a phone call, a text, a Facebook message, an email or something else, I make sure to communicate with my clients via the channel(s) they prefer.
What are some of your best marketing techniques?
I tell all my agents that the best marketing ideas are free and only cost them their time. Real estate is a people business, therefore, following up and meeting new people every day is the most important type of marketing. Whether it’s through face-to-face interaction, over the phone, via email or through Facebook, agents have to find a comfortable way to interact and connect with people.
In what ways are you using technology to stay ahead of the competition?
Technology is crucial in today’s fast-paced world. Not only do you need it to stay connected with your clients 24/7, it also enables you to disseminate information and respond to clients as soon as possible.
We use the Century 21 Lead Router system, which instantly connects us to potential clients. Within seconds, our agents are getting calls routed to their mobile phones with leads from the Internet and calls to the office.
What makes your company unique in today’s market?
Century 21 HomeStar is the largest, single real estate office in Ohio with the highest number of active agents. Out of one main office in Cleveland, we service 235 active agents all across Ohio. All of our Century 21 tools, technology, training and support is available to our agents anywhere they have Internet access. Our agents have the freedom to grow their real estate business in any market without having to worry about where their physical office is.
What are two fundamentals that are essential to your company’s continued success?
Persistence and hard, “smart” work. There is always going to be someone who is smarter, faster and stronger and has more money. But everyone has the ability to be more persistent and work harder and smarter. My office is the largest, single real estate office in Ohio with more than 235 agents and we have only three people that manage and support all of these agents. Not only do we work very hard and smart, we are also persistent when it comes to implementing systems to keep everything organized and running smoothly.