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Commentary by Scott Dixon

RISMEDIA, July 29, 2008-Do you have a preservation strategy? Imagining your business growing during current conditions may be difficult, but even during times like these, some agents will not only protect their income, but will also gain market share while positioning themselves to capitalize on a future economic upturn. To preserve your business, consider these tactics:

– Tout your expertise. With more homes competing for fewer active buyers, the experience and skill of a professional agent is paramount. To sell today, your clients require your guidance on tactical pricing, proper staging, effective marketing and contract negotiation to get to the closing. This means a full commission is warranted now more than ever.

– Practice discipline and consistency. Identify and isolate your most effective business practices and execute them faithfully. Measure the return on your advertising and marketing activities and invest wisely. Systematically respond to every lead and follow up with valuable, relevant information to cement current and future business. Those that are not diligent will not survive.

– Maintain a positive attitude. Henry Ford once said, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right.” Be a realist when it comes to the economic state of your market and your business, and an optimist in knowing that homeownership is still a worthwhile long-term investment. Have confidence in yourself and your industry, and your clients will have confidence in you as well.

– Advertise. While it is wise to consider every expenditure you incur, it is also absolutely vital to continue to wisely invest in those that sustain your business. Only distributing your listing data through MLS and free listing aggregate sites, while worthwhile, does little to promote your personal brand to local home shoppers. Carefully select local integrated (online and print) advertising solutions and measure your return on that investment. Minimize or eliminate all together those sources not driving quality leads to you. Now is not the time to hide in a sea of data.

Advertising now means you will have greater exposure to a smaller universe of potential clients; though total transactions may be down, the sales that are taking place are going to the agents who are still advertising that they are in the business. Stop, and home shoppers will think you’ve gone out of business.

– Solidify current relationships. Continue to reach out to past clients with information on local market conditions to demonstrate to them why you are the most reliable resource when it comes to navigating these uncertain times. Your direct-mail campaigns and other direct-marketing activities should act as an assurance to your past clients-and those they refer to you-that you are the safest and most logical choice for their real estate needs.

By practicing fiscally responsible behavior and by maintaining your market presence, you can not only survive and thrive, but in a rapidly changing environment, you will be positioned to immediately take full advantage of an economic upturn-before your competitors can gain momentum.

Scott Dixon is president of the real estate vertical for Network Communications, Inc./The Real Estate Book®.

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