How do your agents stay on the top of their field? We believe it’s one of our key responsibilities to inform and educate our salespeople. Therefore, we offer over 350 training classes, either online or classroom style, throughout the course of the year. We encourage our team to read trade publications, but we also make sure our management and internal legal staff put out newsletters and updates on the ever-changing industry.
What marketing strategies do you find most successful? Revisiting the question of connecting with clients, we use many of these same marketing tools and media points to showcase listed properties and to communicate existing opportunities. We believe that we are a marketing company, and it’s critical that we differentiate ourselves by coming up with creative and innovative marketing programs. For example, in 2009 and 2010, as we experienced the challenge of creating confidence in the marketplace, we focused our efforts on our 100% Money Back Guarantee, as well as our job loss protection program. As the market changed in 2011 and 2012, we rolled out our apartment buyers guarantee program. And this year, we’re rolling out our Buy Before You Sell Program, to free up our home sellers’ equity so that they can sell their homes.
What technology tools do you use to stay ahead of the competition? We have a robust website with over one million visitors per week. We’re also in the process of improving our mobile application as well as our website, HowardHanna.com. Our strategic partnerships with Zillow and realtor.com® ensure that we’re maximizing our advertising and lead generation from their desktop and mobile platforms.
What is your biggest challenge in today’s market, and how is your company facing it? The No. 1 challenge is navigating the waters of the ever-changing regulations to the mortgage side of our business. We’re addressing this by having our senior leadership team involved in understanding legislative changes and how they’ll affect our business. We also have representatives that ensure those changes do not have unintended consequences that make it more prohibitive for Americans to achieve the dream of homeownership.