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TOP 5 IN REAL ESTATE NETWORK, March 2009-Cindy Raney
The Riverside Realty Group
Years in real estate:
Region Served: Fairfield County, Connecticut, specifically Westport, Weston, Southport and Fairfield
Average sales price in your market: $1,795,000
Average number of days on market: 105

What is your philosophy surrounding information technology?

At the highest level-and especially in this difficult environment-relationships are more important than they have ever been. Transactions are more complicated and can fall apart at a number of specific junctions. The negotiations and specifics regarding inspection, financing and appraisals are as complicated as they have ever been. At the high end of our business, to truly serve your clients’ best interests, you have to be a bit of an expert in all these different areas, as well as be able to stay on top of each of these processes on your clients’ behalf. The job is more “around the clock” than it has ever been, and technology is the best way to keep up with the times. I am a strong advocate for the efficient use of all the tools I have at my disposal-from my website to my PDA and e-mail-in dealing effectively with my clients. I deal with a clientele that is both tech-savvy and very busy. When you have clients who are C-level Corporate Executives or that manage Hedge Funds, they appreciate my ability to communicate with them on a true 24/7 basis-either via text, SMS, e-mail or voicemail. They are preconditioned to think that their communications are absorbed and acted upon on a near-instantaneous basis during the business day. Efficient use of technology can extend one’s business day from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 or 10:00 p.m. without making you a slave to the desk or office.

How are you utilizing your website to effectively connect with consumers?

I utilize my website in three specific ways: first, as a portal of first introduction where prospective clients or referrals can look up my background and business philosophy as well as any information surrounding my company; second, as a research portal for those clients who are actively working with me to search for or sell a home-or both at the same time; third, as a deposit of real estate-related information with specific attention to the Top 5 portal, which emboldens them with topical real estate-related news and events. The website, in conjunction with the Top 5 branding, also helps to differentiate me from my competitors who are not fully utilizing technology or their websites and who do not have access to the Top 5 portal.

How does Top 5 enhance your website as an information source?

As a bit of spillover from the last question, the Top 5 portal allows me to help clients and prospects cull together important pieces of real estate news without having to go outside my website. The ability to achieve a captive audience through the Top 5 brand goes a long way toward keeping clients and prospects away from competitors’ sites, as well as giving them the websites on their own.

How does information technology help you become a more effective marketer?

The more information that you can empower a client or prospect with, the greater your chance of completing a transaction with that person-to say nothing of getting repeat or referral business from those same clients!

What do you believe some of the greatest benefits of Top 5 will be? Top 5 lends itself toward networking with other top producing agents, distinguishing myself from other agents, as well as offering my clients transparent marketing and up-to-date news and information on today’s real estate market.

How are you building Top 5 branding into your marketing materials?

I have begun working it into my presentation material, and I have already had a great deal of success. The Top 5 brand, while not broadly recognized by those outside the industry, provides an instant differentiation between me and my competitors. At the highest levels, everyone is a “top producer” or “circle of excellence” winner at their respective firms. Top 5 has already allowed me to show something different to clients who are, in some instances, interviewing several agents whose profiles, other than their employers, look exactly alike.

What is the one thing you can’t live without?

I have an iPhone, therefore, you can literally get in touch with me 24/7 by e-mail, phone or text.

What is your philosophy for a successful life in real estate?

I have a Wall Street background and maintain a CFP certification, so I am used to the business mantra of “evolve or perish.” The current real estate environment-as difficult and competitive as it is-demands that one effectively and efficiently communicate with clients and their numerous advisors. These would include attorneys, inspectors, appraisers and sometimes accountants or investment advisors in order to maintain an efficient and successful practice. I don’t see that changing anytime soon.