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By Chuck Green

RISMEDIA, July 19, 2008-As a real estate agent, when it comes to finding prospective buyers or sellers to work with, sometimes it can be as simple as looking no further than your database, as your best customers very well may be the ones who you’ve already worked with in the past. To succeed at client retention, Molly Hamrick, president and COO of Las Vegas’ Coldwell Banker Premier Realty, offers the following tips for keeping an open line of communication with her clients-among other best practices for today’s market.

hamrick_molly.jpgMolly Hamrick
Coldwell Banker Premier Realty
Las Vegas, Nevada

Years in real estate: 18
Number of offices: 3
Number of agents: 320
Region served: Las Vegas Valley
Most effective way to motivate agents: Everyone’s different. I don’t believe you can motivate people unless you understand what they are motivated by and what gets them to take action. To gain a better understanding of their perspective, goals and needs, I think it’s most important to ask questions and actively listen to them.
Best tip for running a successful meeting: Create an agenda; show up on time and be prepared. Have timely, relevant and important information to energetically present.
Best tip for dealing with difficult customers: In our market, where you’ve got depreciation and sales that are down from previous years, I think most people are operating from a position of fear, uncertainty and misinformation. So it’s a matter of being empathetic, helping them weather the difficult times and being knowledgeable enough to assist them in their decision-making processes.

What are your best ideas for client retention?
Once you’ve cultivated a client, it’s important to establish great communication. If you were to ask a seller or buyer what pleased them the least in their recent real estate transaction, you’ll find the number-one response was the lack of communication from their agent, especially after closing-when our clients still needed our assistance. Once the transaction closes, they disappear. We teach our sales associates to engage their clients. Speaking to and reaching out to them on at least a quarterly basis has to be part of the business plan in order to retain those clients. Continued communication and providing customers with valuable information will create clients for life.

Best strategies for dealing with slower market?
Skill up and show up. Back in the hay days, you could show up and, at least in my marketplace, make a six-figure income. In today’s marketplace, the committed and skilled agents control the market and no doubt will be better positioned to reap the highest rewards when the market changes. You must have skills in order to survive. In other words, you need to get back to the basics and train.

How do you deal with negative impact of the media?
In our company, we meet on a weekly basis and provide our agents with statistics on our marketplace and share best practices. Statistics reflect what’s going on right now and are most important to us, especially in light of what the media might be reporting. The media can spin it-and we can spin it-so it comes down to knowing the marketplace, understanding the statistics and how to present them back to our clients as well as other agents.