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al_wimberlyIn the following interview, Al Wimberly, co-founder and broker in charge of Sellstate Select, Mooresville, N.C., discusses reaching and serving clients through education, social media and technology.

Region Served: North Carolina
Years in Real Estate: 22
Number of Offices: 1 and expanding
Number of Agents: 62
Favorite Way to Unwind: With family, friends, cooking, food, fishing, community involvement and charitable sponsorship

What’s your top strategy for closing a transaction?
There are many, but coaching Advisors to add rapport with other agents involved in the transaction and problem-solving for the client are paramount. Too much of today’s digital real estate world is handled by email. We believe clients miss out on individual relationships and being involved in the process form beginning to end; therefore, we teach our agents to allow access to the individual client via our cloud-based technology provided by Sellstate. This allows them to provide clients the opportunity to view all marketing materials, contracts, pictures, flyers, social media advertising, and more, in real-time. Also, communication with the reciprocating agents is key. It’s okay to pick up the phone, introduce yourself, and see how you can work together to make the transaction as smooth as possible for the client, while maintaining the overall goal of having a successful, stress-free and happy end result at the closing table.

How do you use technology to better serve your clients?
Sellstate’s PowerSuite is innovative in this aspect. Cloud-based technology and other systems provide our Advisors the opportunity to speak with clients from literally anywhere in the world. Our Advisors are truly mobile; therefore, the clients’ questions can be answered immediately, allowing our Real Estate Advisors and offices to have simultaneous, transparent access to better serve the client. Through our mobile responsive platforms and real-time, cloud-based storage applications, there’s no down-time for agents, and we can provide incredible flexibility to clients and serve the personal needs of our Advisors. Our clients deserve incredible service, and our Advisors deserve the flexibility to have a more balanced life.

How do you see your market evolving throughout the next year?
We’re seeing sold volume numbers reminiscent of the height of our local markets in 2005 and 2006, which most would consider a pinnacle. New construction is at an all-time high, as is commercial development. These numbers are expected to rise as inventory decreases and demand continues to rise. It’s been a long time since we’ve seen multiple offers so rapidly and consistently, and today, we’re seeing multiple offers on listings and purchases in about two out of five transactions.

What’s the most significant trend positively affecting your business?
Social media and its evolvement over the past 3 to 5 years, but more importantly, the quantity and quality of the weight given to it over the past 18 months. Our Real Estate Advisors have so many choices to engage their prospects with, and can easily spend time and money concentrating on things that don’t provide as high a ROI as social media. That’s a good thing for all, in our view. There are many types of investment and advertising that can be implemented to serve the client. Many of them require minimal upfront investment for high levels of exposure and return. Return on investment for the company and Advisors can be measured quickly, and it’s easy to determine those areas that have the highest yield and efficiency. Lead generation has evolved dramatically in recent months, and prospects that supply their information and inquire about a specific property or area expect an agent to contact them. So much information is readily obtained by the general public when they want it, and when they reach out to an agent, they need that agent. It’s not a guess. It should give Advisors even more confidence. Consumers don’t have the time or necessity to provide false information in the hopes of gaining more information about a property or area. They already have it. Agents need to consider this and implement their problem-solving, advisement and negotiation skills into effect much more quickly than before.

What’s your best tip for dealing with a picky buyer?
Listen to the client and ask very specific questions, then offer serious solutions. There are no picky buyers, in our view—just some buyers with situations that are more challenging than others. You never really know what clients may be going through at any given moment, and our privilege is to be able to help see them through it. Most of the time the buyer knows exactly what they want, yet agents assume the buyer understands the real estate world. Advisors shouldn’t assume this as the buyer being picky. These picky buyers may not be able to clearly express what they’re looking for, and the agent may assume that they’re being difficult, when, in essence, they may just need to move to a different area or price range. There’s a house out there for everyone. If an Advisor is a true professional and solution provider, they’ll find different areas and still be able to provide the buyer access to their dream home.

Also, the agent must be upfront and transparent with the buyer during their initial interview. Advisors need to be well versed in cost analysis, as well, in order to better educate buyers on different loan options, down payments and loan programs in partnership with their lender.

Education, knowing your market options, professionalism, and a solution-oriented approach will turn any picky buyer into a satisfied buyer. In the end, it’s about getting everyone in the boat rowing together for mutual success, so clients and Advisors must be willing to give and take.

For more information, visit www.sellstaterealty.com.

Gabrielle van Welie is RISMedia’s editorial intern. Email her your real estate news ideas at gvanwelie@rismedia.com.

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