By Maria Patterson
Is your company utilizing effective marketing strategies? How about the latest trends in technology? “The text-in codes we place on listings are loved by buyersvisiting our area,” says June Slusser, President of Coldwell Banker High Country Realty. “Our agents benefit by capturing the mobile number, which gives them the opportunity to engage with the customer. “ In the following interview, Slusser unveils her most effective marketing strategies, as well as how her company is taking advantage of market expansions and shifting dynamics.
Maria Patterson: How was your company affected by the downturn?
June Slusser: This is very much a second-home and resort market, and a little bit of a retirement market. We were afraid that the downturn would cause the people who would normally move here to delay their plans. But that didn’t happen. The market did slow down and new construction all but came to a screeching halt, but we found that consumers still want to be here.
MP: How did you adjust your business operations?
JS: When the downturn hit, we focused on what we needed to do first, which was to make sure we remained financially stable and solvent. We also got tighter with our requirements for our agents. We needed to make sure that the agents who were here were the best they could possibly be. We thought this would lead to us having fewer agents, but it actually caused agents from other companies to want to be a part of our program.
MP: Did you take advantage of market expansion during this timeframe?
JS: We actually went into two new markets. In 2010, we bought out a boutique company in the Hiawassee area of Georgia because we really liked the location. We also chose to move forward because the owner of that firm was young, incredibly bright, well connected and involved in the state association. We were trying to build a bench of exceptional people to help grow our company, so this was an important move for us. We also recently completed a merger in the Blairsville area of Georgia. This move allowed us to add lease management and business brokerage to our mix of services.
MP: How has your market changed? Where do the opportunities now lie?
JS: Our downturn started a little later. But recovery is now clearly underway. Units closed are way up; listings sold were 49 percent higher than the year before. We also strategically entered into the foreclosure market. Savvy investors have entered our market and are actively engaged in searching for and purchasing properties. Luxury buyers are still a significant part of our market, a segment of buyers is searching for smaller and more efficient homes, and the retirement segment is growing at a more rapid pace.
MP: What marketing strategies are most successful?
JS: Our mobile site provided through RISMedia’s Real Estate Information Network® (RREIN) is huge. The text-in codes we place on listings are loved by buyers visiting our area. We create a quarterly brochure for people who visit our towns—they often pick up the magazine, browse through it during lunch and text the properties to learn more. Our agents benefit by capturing the mobile number, which gives them the opportunity to engage with the customer. Ultimately, we believe in showing up for work. We have a career-minded, goal-oriented team of individuals who show up every day and are engaged.
For more information, please visit www.CBHighCountry.com.
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