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rw-webRISMEDIA, April 14, 2009-Members of RISMedia’s Top 5 in Real Estate Network® are constantly looking for ways to differentiate themselves, especially in today’s market-as differentiation is key to success. Here, Top 5 Member Rosemary West of RE/MAX Realty of Joliet explains how she goes above and beyond the role of a ‘typical’ real estate agent to ensure she is providing her customers with the best service and information. 

How are you differentiating yourself from your competition?
I have always been all about education. I always go to conventions and seminars. My husband calls me a “convention junkie.” I am also very involved with the community. I am kind of a pillar of our community, and when people need to go to someone for help, they turn to me. People are so nervous about the economy and they are running scared. So, for example, foreclosures were never a big strength for me, but I have made sure that I have taken a class and know about short sales and foreclosures so I can help people.

How do you ensure you are not perceived as a ‘typical’ real estate agent?
I have branded myself so I am always on the cutting edge. I am big into customer service and I have always been around people who enjoy that I am a hard worker. I have clients who I sold houses to 30 years ago and I am still in contact with these people today.

What specific strategies are unique to you and your team?
It is all about making and keeping the customer happy. I am always on the cutting edge and I am learning all the time. I have a CRS, CRP, certified luxury home designation, CDPE, and am also a buyer’s rep. Having all of these designations requires my staying on top of the marketplace, so I am always ahead of the rest of the pack. Thirty years ago, when I set out to differentiate myself, I went after the large corporations and their relo business and I have gotten to know a lot of those people who I count today as my closest friends. I set my standards really high and it has paid off.

How do you elevate your professionalism through marketing and technology? is a big vendor of mine and I spend quite a bit of money with them. I want to make sure that I am always seen first and get the premium spots-I think I have 16 premier spots. It costs money, but I know that I have to spend money to make money. I have to get my listings seen for my customers. Also, I am in a Mastermind Group, which meets about eight times a year and we talk about what went right and what went wrong, and we share our goals. We keep each other accountable. We are all from different markets so we can speak freely about what we are doing. When we order products, we order as a group so we order in bulk and save money. But mostly, it’s the friendship and the support. We are almost as close as relatives.

What is your best idea for turning this market to your advantage?
The strong are going to survive, so if you have a brand and keep advertising, you can pick up lots of listings. People are nervous and they need immediate satisfaction. Your clients have to hear from you. You have to educate them on every level and share with them the good news and the bad.

What is your best idea for time management?
I have assistants who work for me, so we have it down to a science with my team.

Please describe your philosophy for a successful life in real estate.
First of all, you have to get people to like you and trust you and you have to treat everyone as you like to be treated. I treat everyone equally. It doesn’t matter if they are buying a very inexpensive house or a huge, expensive house. They all receive the same great service.