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RISMEDIA, March 10, 2010—Even in a difficult market, opportunities abound—real estate professionals simply need to know where to position themselves in order to best take advantage of them. Here, Roger Soderstrom, Owner, Stirling Sotheby’s International Realty discusses how he positions his company for success by staying positive.

Roger Soderstrom
Stirling Sotheby’s International Realty
Heathrow, Florida

Region served: Central Florida
Years in real estate: More than 30
Number of offices: 4
Number of agents: 140
Average sales price: $375,000
Time on market: Distressed properties: 90 days; retail side: 7-8 months
Key to staying profitable: Belt tightening and consolidation are both important and healthy exercises to go through in order to maintain profitability. It is also crucial to have the right people in place.

What have been some of your most effective strategies for working in the slower market?
Agents need to be focusing on the opportunities that are available, and these opportunities need to be a major part of their business. It is also crucial that agents stay in front of their database, and we have worked hard over the past year to provide our agents with the tools and resources they need to develop and stay in touch with their past and present clients. We believe in providing information with great content and every communication we send is telling a story.

What is your biggest challenge in today’s market and how is your company taking it on?
In 2009, 50-70% of all of our sales on a monthly basis were classified as distressed. When we first started to get into short sales and REOs, many of our agents were hesitant about dealing with distressed properties, so we are constantly teaching our agents the importance of how to fish all over…and in the right areas. Another challenge is working to understand the motivation of our sellers as it is difficult to help them through the process without first understanding what they are trying to achieve.

What are you doing to differentiate your company from the competition?
We have our own in-house advertising agency so we can create all of our own Web developments within the office. We also have an in-house videographer onboard and will soon have a social media manager. Differentiating our company from the competition also involves providing our agents with high-quality marketing tools that we have created in addition to those we receive through our Sotheby’s International Realty® affiliation.

What are some of your technology best practices?
We recently invested in a software technology that will enable us to convert all of our material to be read on both the Internet and through mobile devices. With today’s consumer operating virtually through mobile devices, it is important that we provide information through the context in which they are most comfortable. In addition, we have started filming certain communities throughout our marketplace and are producing videos that will be placed on our websites. We have also had a lot of success with our webinars that we use for training our agents as well as reaching out to clients.

What strategies have you applied toward working successfully in the luxury home market?
It is critical to have a sufficient marketing budget in order to have quality photography in addition to video, blogging and interactive e-brochures to successfully market luxury homes. You can’t rely on finding a buyer next door so you have to go to the world and in order to do that, you need to have the right resources and tools.