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By Chuck Green

RISMEDIA, Sept. 27, 2008-When it comes down to keeping agents motivated in a market like today’s, Michael Rankin has a simple philosophy: “If they’re not motivated, they shouldn’t be in real estate,” he says. Here, meet Rankin and learn other ways he’s navigating Tutt, Taylor & Rankin Sotheby’s International Realty through a market like no other.

Michael Rankin
Principal and Managing Partner
Tutt, Taylor & Rankin Sotheby’s International Realty
Washington, D.C.

Years in real estate: 20
Number of offices: 3
Number of agents: 75
Region served: Metropolitan Washington, D.C. area
Best ideas on client retention: Clients are like any relationship. They take care, time and communication.
Best idea for time management: Delegate well.
Best tip for getting the right listing price: Don’t look back six to eight months; use the most recent and accurate sold and under-contract comparables.
Best tip for running a successful meeting: I have different meetings, depending on the audience. It depends who you’re speaking to. But the bottom line is to know your audience and keep your message geared toward it. And be prepared.

What strategies are most effective for you in terms of recruiting?

Every real estate company has its strengths and it’s important for the broker and the agent to be matched well to each other’s needs and desires. So, it’s important for you to keep your strengths in mind because that will guide you to the people that you should be with and those that should be with you. That’s how you do your most successful recruiting. It reaches people who value what you have to offer.

Best strategies for dealing with a slower market?

Work harder, whether it involves getting to a meeting earlier, being more prepared for them, offering more value to the client and doing more research for properties. Know the needs of your clients and keep sharpening your skills.

How do you communicate with customers?

Open, candid dialogue and honesty. I’m pretty well-read on our market, so I try to get people to focus on it, not on, for instance, Florida or Detroit. I’m a big fan of e-mail. It’s very efficient for disseminating information and getting information to people. But I don’t think it’s a substitute for meeting face-to-face.

How do you deal with the negative effects of the media?

You can’t escape the realities of the market, but at the same time, newspapers are in the business of selling newspapers. And the reality is that the headlines often are more of an attention grabber than the stories themselves. It’s really never quite as bad as the headlines might suggest.

How do you motivate agents?

In this market, if they’re not motivated, they shouldn’t be in real estate.