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John Melo
Century 21 M&M and Associates
Modesto-Standiford, California

With profitability being the primary goal of any business, what are the main strategies that your company has in place to maintain being successful and profitable in the real estate industry?

The past 18 months have been full of change for our company. It has been a time in which we have brought some of our business practices together to better work for our company and also a time in which new initiatives have been put into place.

One of the biggest changes that we have seen at our company deals largely with consolidation and automation. We have spent a lot of time utilizing the technology that is available to us in order to achieve this goal. Our first step in this direction was the implementation of a call center which allows for our phones to be answered centrally. This has ultimately changed the face of the workplace as we now have more part time workers than full time workers. This goes hand in hand with the total company audit that took place in which we stepped back and looked at all the company’s expenses. Like any real estate company, we realized that we were spending money on things that could very well be combined and still work to our advantage.

The implementation of our lead management, which is part of the call center, is another tool we are using to maintain and even increase our profitability. All of our leads now go through the call center and are on an agent’s cell phone within minutes. The leads are logged, tracked and followed up on in a timely manner. We are always looking to improve our lead follow up as well as looking for new leads that will turn into new business.

We have also developed a recruiting Web site, in addition to hiring a full time recruiting staff. It is important to us to always be recruiting new energy, blood and ideas to our company to keep things fresh and moving forward.

If I had to pick the most important thing that we focused on within the last 18 months, it would be communication. We understand that it is important to communicate with the team, agents, businesses as well as the media.

It is very important that everyone gets both sides of the story and that we present to the public that it is a buyer’s market. Some people in the real estate business get so overwhelmed by the changing market that they lose sight of the light at the end of the tunnel. Now more than ever is the most important time to listen and communicate.

In order to reach our goal of profitability, we must keep our agents educated as well. We provide our agents with one-on-one coaching on a monthly basis. During these coaching sessions we discuss ways to be profitable in this market. In addition, we hold quarterly office and company meetings which we use for brainstorming. We listen to people’s feelings, thoughts and ideas, and then discuss them and figure out what we need to do to get where we need to be. It is important to guide our agents to the next level without dwelling on the current market problems.

-Paige Tepping