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RISMEDIA, Jan. 1, 2008-What are the biggest challenges Realtors will face in 2008? What are the most important goals of NAR’s Large Firm Liaison? Here, Real Estate magazine interviews Alex Perriello, president & CEO, Realogy Franchise Group; 2008 Special Liaison for Large Firm Relations on his new role and what to expect in the coming year.

Real Estate magazine: Please describe your feelings as you step into the role of 2008 Special Liaison for Large Firm Relations.

Alex Perriello: I am honored to hold this important position for 2008 and to follow in the footsteps of my esteemed predecessors-Henry Ray, Chip Roach and Virginia Cook. Their stewardship as Special Liaison for Large Firm Relations helped to forge stronger relationships with large brokerage firms, and involve them in NAR’s various efforts and initiatives.

RE: Please describe one or two of your most important goals as NAR’s Large Firm Liaison.

AP: Gladly. In my opinion, one of my most significant goals will be to facilitate a series of meetings with key brokers and NAR leadership on their brokers’ own turf.

I believe that doing so will provide a firsthand look and provide a greater understanding of their operations, opportunities and challenges. This, in turn, will help NAR determine strategies that will better serve their unique needs.

I am also committed to re-energizing the Large Firm meeting format in order to ensure the highest and best use of the member broker’s time. I would like to provide brokers with NAR updates, backgrounders and position documents prior to the meeting so that brokers can arrive primed and ready for a two-way dialogue and group brainstorming.

During these meetings, we will focus on the 2008 NAR strategic plan, prioritize the goals and objectives, and then work collaboratively on the strategies and tactics to execute that plan.

RE: In your opinion, what are some of the most challenging issues Realtors will be confronting in 2008?

AP: Without a doubt, one of the most pressing issues the industry is confronting in 2008 is consumer confidence in housing. We must, both as individual real estate professionals and together as an industry, be committed to promoting our successes. We must let the general public know that houses are selling and that now is a good time to be in the markets.

There are several ways to go about doing this. For starters, brokerage firms in the U.S. should dedicate at least 20% of their online and offline advertising to promote recently sold listings. This communicates-in a very graphic and clear fashion-that the housing market is healthy and that our customers have achieved successful home-buying and selling experiences through our efforts on their behalf.

We also need to educate our sales professionals on how to effectively articulate our value proposition as Realtors. As a routine part of any marketing presentation, associates should be able to share a number of performance-related facts with the consumer regarding average time on market, list-to-sale price ratios, and other data that clearly illustrates the tangible benefits of conducting business with a professional.

And finally, we need to stay abreast of industry issues so that we can become a resource to our local media and sphere of influence regarding real estate issues that surface in the national media. Armed with the facts as they pertain to our own markets, national stories provide us with an opening to reach out to the local media and our customers to provide relevant context and meaning surrounding the local impact of the issue.

RE: How will you work with NAR on these challenges?

AP: There is much work to be done in 2008, but NAR’s membership and its leading broker members are up to the task. We will tap into the collective experience of some of the largest brokers in the country for guidance and support. We will build a strong coalition by personally reaching out to those who can bring value to the group, communicating to them that participation provides opportunities to be heard and to influence the direction of NAR as a whole.

My ultimate goal is to do whatever I can do to facilitate a collaborative work environment that fosters dialogue, idea sharing and solutions. Clearly, this is the surest way to better our industry.