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Effectively Managing Expectations

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By John Voket

When it comes to agent best practices, managing your clients’ expectations is crucial for seamless and successful real estate transactions. “In terms of properly pricing a listing, we recommend that agents are honest with their clients from the start,” says Michael R. Salter, broker/owner of CENTURY 21 Elite in Shreveport, La. “Explain market conditions and emphasize the importance of accurately pricing a property so that it sells in a timely manner.” Read on for more of Salter’s words of wisdom.

Salter_MikeMichael R. Salter
CENTURY 21 Elite
Shreveport, La.

Region served: Northwest Louisiana, including Shreveport and Bossier City
Years in business: Since 1976
Number of offices: 2
Number of agents: 157
Best tip for getting the right listing price: Price it correctly up front. If someone is highly motivated to sell their home, it’s critical to price the home well so that it will sell.
Key to staying profitable: Control expenses and provide affiliated agents with the tools they need to take their business to the next level. Plus, always recruit by having a number of prospective agents in your pipeline.
Tech tool you can’t live without: Front- and back-office transaction management software that integrates with the local MLS and the CENTURY 21® Systems.

What agent training strategies/practices are most effective for you?
Encouraging agents to use our C21® system to generate business is crucial. We offer suggested best practices and tips for every situation they may encounter, accountability/coaching for those interested in growing, as well as role play. The two objections that we run into most frequently have to do with pricing a listing correctly and an agent’s commission. In terms of properly pricing a listing, we recommend that agents are honest with their clients from the start. Explain market conditions and emphasize the importance of accurately pricing a property so that it sells in a timely manner.

How do you advise your agents to help clients deal with negative media reports?
Luckily we haven’t had to deal with a lot of negative media. Our market did not decline as much as many other parts of the U.S.

What strategies do your agents utilize to stand out to clients and achieve customer loyalty? 
Our affiliates understand the importance of staying in touch. We suggest they put their past clients on a seven-year follow-up program. Whether it’s staying in touch via direct mail or picking up the phone and calling four times a year, the agents who stick to this are seeing incredible results. Those who take advantage of a direct mail program in conjunction with face-to-face conversations 3-4 times a year will typically receive leads and/or transactions. For example, if an agent has 100 names, addresses and numbers, we recommend they do 10 or so transactions per year from this one source alone. If they have 200 names, addresses and numbers, they should likely be closing 20 or so transactions per year. Of course this all depends on the agent’s people skills and their knowledge of the market and the business.

Is there some program, activity or other development that’s helping keep your company top of mind in the eyes of prospective clients, existing clients and/or in the communities you serve? We leverage the recognition of the CENTURY 21 brand locally and focus on community activities. Not only have we participated in Habitat for Humanity, I’m also on the Board of United Way. In addition, we support Toys for Tots and the local affiliated Easter Seals during the holiday season.

For more information, visit www.c21elitesb.com.

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