By Dr. Cliff Baird
RISMEDIA, Nov. 27, 2007-If you have ever been in a building and suddenly experienced the piercing shrill of a fire alarm, a real measure of panic is not only natural, it is essential. The fear is designed to alert all of our senses to enable us to survive. Initially, we feel confused and very overwhelmed. But rather quickly we assemble our thoughts and begin to formulate a plan. Perhaps this is what we need in these current market conditions. We need to follow well reasoned and well seasoned thoughts.
Listen to the positive direction of these three great team leaders. They are not blind to the chaos, but they not overwhelmed by it either. The have each produced a plan of action sufficient to get to “higher ground” which in some cases is to simply “stay the course.”
Since starting in Real Estate sales in 2001, Gary Ashton has quickly risen to be in the top 1% of the Realtors in the Nashville area. Gary has directed his expertise with the Internet and generates enough leads to keep more than 10 full time buyers agents and a full time assistant busy.
Team Brink, formed by The Brink Family is a team of specialized professionals who offer the highest level of real estate service available throughout the Frederick, Montgomery and Washington County areas.
Rebecca “Reba” Haas has been in corporate sales, high level B-2-B contract negotiation, marketing and real estate for over 18 years with a reputation as an excellent communicator and top sales performer. This reputation has helped Team Reba become a top producer in the region, and nationally within the RE/MAX network, working with both investor and residential clients in the Puget Sound area
How has the current market affected your overall team strategy?
GA: We have been focused on lead generation through the Web for the last five years and have reached a point where the team is now number three in RE/MAX Elite (Nashville,TN). We are continuing to expand our Web presence but will also be creating a new marketing campaign to create awareness that the team offers sellers the opportunity to be featured on Nashville.com and NashvilleBuyers.com. In doing so we hope to capture a large portion of the listing market which is primarily interested in getting their homes in front of buyers and we do that very well.
SB: Our strategy has not changed. I still like to have different individuals take care of certain aspects of a transaction. Servicing our clients is our number one goal and the team concept is the best fashion to achieve this. We continue to enjoy multiple transactions each month and I strongly believe that my immediate future is totally dependent on focusing on doing an exceptional job of servicing out current clients. If we do that then the future will take care of itself.
RH: We have continued to grow our business in the region and are actually looking to expand our team with another sales person or licensee. While appreciation has slowed down, it is still strong here so we foresee a good business environment for our team to grow on par with the growth of the past four years. We don’t do the typical team environment where we have one main agent and a bunch of buyer’s agents. Our team is more about division of labor.
What is your prediction of the immediate future (next 12 months)? What marketing concepts are you emphasizing to your team?
GA: Nashville is somewhat insulated from the overall national trend of steeply declining sales. The market here is still good and showing steady growth. The past couple of years were definitely sellers markets and now the tide has turned towards a buyer’s market but the sellers are not at a point where they have to take huge losses to move their homes. Expectations are becoming more reasonable. Sellers are realizing that there maybe longer days on the market than before but the homes are still selling. Thankfully I notice more realistic listing prices. We will have the seasonal lows around November, December and January and demand will increase again around February, March and April and through the rest of the summer.
The level of the demand will, to some extent, be determined by the media’s perception of the real estate market. The reports in the media are based on reality but they have created a perception that the problem is actually much worse which the public then absorbs as fact. They then perpetuate this belief by making the perception reality. It is the ultimate self-fulfilling prophesy. It’s a vicious cycle and has turned the buyer’s state of mind in to a “wait and see” mode.
The long term effects of this hesitant buyer will be to create a seller’s market when consumer confidence returns and the pent up demand is released. As the number of buyers flood back on to the market, the demand increases and the sales rise, days on the market is then reduced….and we will return once again to the seller’s market. Thus the cycle completes itself. It always does.
In terms of new marketing concepts for the team we are focusing on the listing strategy as a way of creating a local awareness of the team and using the success of the Web based lead generation to get our proverbial “foot” in the door. A listing presentation that shows our success rate with buyers has been very powerful at differentiating us from our competition.
SB: We are hoping to see the market take a turn and start heading in an upward swing. However, we need the help and not the constant criticism of the media. This is not likely to occur so we are becoming more aggressive and less defensive. Sometime soon the mortgage crisis will be history and the lending guidelines will open back up. Until that time we time our team is not going into “victim” status and we will continue to present real estate as the greatest lifelong investment there has ever been and ever will be. This attitudinal direction is of great benefit to the team personally as well as our production.
RH: We predict continued strength in the region for Seattle real estate although it will be a more level business rather than the high-energy “go-go” days of the past few years. Outlying areas may see a more significant change in time on market but will still see activity. We expect many agents to fall out of the market place due to lack of individual business/sales. This consequence alone will keep production on a steady keel. We’re already seeing and hearing anecdotal evidence of this in the area. Agents will need to step up their game to succeed and those who combine a solid business plan with consistent execution will do well and pick up business that others drop as they exit the industry.
We’ve had a strong Internet presence for many years and we will continue to expand it along with adding a few other media resources. Our current Internet marketing plan includes online ventures such as blogs, a soon to be launched, brand new Web site with a great new look, other RE sites, collaborative online projects and much, much more. It’s important that the public sees us as knowledgeable professionals. These venues will allow us to benefit the clients and demonstrate our thorough awareness of the industry without asking for anything in return. Most people want anonymity when they begin their interest in getting involved in a RE transaction so we provide that to them.
We let them decide to contact us and we find that this makes for a stronger initial bond when they do. The other major long-term strategy is that we keep in regular contact with all of our past clients. They continue to refer business to us because they’ve been satisfied with our services. It is really a very simple formula. Our safe harbor in this “storm” is our clients. We are directing a focused attention on our database with the full expectation of excellent referral production.
Cliff Baird, MBA, PhD has spent over 25 years inspiring agents and managers to live above their circumstances by focusing on business systems that lead to abundant success. He is the developer of The RealSTAR Online Recruiting System, which frees managers from the pressure of recruiting and trains them to then use the total system to select and coach their agents to phenomenal success.