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How brokers are setting their firms apart and increasing market share

RISMEDIA, February 17, 2009-Without question, large firm brokers today are meeting the challenges of the current market by consolidating offices, trimming marketing dollars and reining in expenses in general. Yet homes are selling, and the real challenge for many is to distinguish their companies from their competitors in order to increase their slice of the pie. NAR offers tools and resources to assist members in their efforts to differentiate themselves-including online education through Realtor® University and by earning a designation or certification such as the new Green Designation. In this month’s NAR Power Broker Roundtable, broker professionals who have weathered past market cycles share what they are doing to differentiate their companies in their regions.

Moderator:

  • Virginia Cook, Special Liaison for Large Firm Relations, NAR

Participants:

  • Harold Crye and Dick Leike, Co-founders of Crye-Leike Realtors®, Memphis and Nashville, Tennessee and the mid-south region
  • Doug Rebert, Managing Director and Co-Owner, Prudential Homesale Services Group, Southeast and South Central Pennsylvania
  • Larry Brackett, Chairman and CEO, Frank Howard Allen Realtors®, San Francisco Bay area

Harold Crye: As a respected leader in the regions we serve, we’ve had the real advantage of being able to retain and recruit top quality agents-agents who know precisely what it takes to find clients and close deals. We’re capitalizing on our agents’ skills by putting more effort and more dollars into beefing up our full-service capabilities as well as our website technologies.

Dick Leike: In some areas, lenders are simply not prepared to handle, much less head off, the increasing incidence of foreclosure. So we launched “Saving the Dream,” a program preparing agents to take a more active role with customers-to work with lenders and with homeowners to help them find ways to refinance, manage payments, and somehow stay in their home.

Doug Rebert: We, too, are putting our efforts into reaching and meeting consumer needs. We’ve added VoicePad technology so buyers can “see” listings anywhere in the country. We provide our sellers with regular and detailed reports on interested buyers, neighborhood competition, and how the sale of their property is progressing. We’ve expanded our call center, guaranteeing that the customer will be called back by an agent within 15 minutes of calling, and our “Showing Center” is available more hours than most to show property to buyers.

Larry Brackett: It’s also the time to strengthen your infrastructure. In the past year, we had a net gain of 60 experienced agents. That’s important if you’re going to maintain the quality of service you have been known for. We did it by increasing our technology budget, strengthening support staff, and fine-tuning our marketing support. Without that influx of top agents, I’d hate to think of where we might have been.

Harold Crye: I agree. You can cut down your media buy or do away with the billboards, but you’ve got to give your agents more formalized training, more IT support, more of what it takes to succeed.

Doug Rebert: Also, I think we’ve got to do something to counteract the media myths. The fact is that houses that are priced right are selling, and there is plenty of mortgage money available to qualified buyers. We’re doing whatever it takes to get those messages out.

The Power Broker Roundtable is brought to you by the National Association of REALTORS® and Virginia Cook, NAR’s Special Liaison for Large Firm Relations. Watch for this column each month, where we address broker issues, concerns and milestones.

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