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TOP 5 IN REAL ESTATE, March 2010 –

Kent Eley

Century 21 New Millennium

Years in real estate: 23

Region Served: Northern Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C.

Average sales price in your market: $420,000

Average number of days a home spends on the market: 56

How do you find new business?

All of our business comes from our client base so I stay in touch with people a lot. I write them notes, and remember things about them…their interests, their hobbies, their children. We try to stay engaged and never forget clients. By doing this, they will send more business than you can shake a stick at. Also, I have a system in place. After settlement I call them and then a week later I call them again. After a month, I often meet with them and a year later, I will check in to see how things are going. I stay in touch and they become a client for life.

How do you retain clients?

The key thing for me is to know what’s going on in the world of real estate and then I can pass that information along to my clients…the tax credit, loan modifications, whatever is new and could help them. You have to stay on top of your game and tell them what’s going on.

Also whenever past or present clients are looking for a professional to work with, like an electrician or a chimney cleaner, I make sure I am the person they call to get a recommendation. Whenever they think about anything dealing with real estate I want to be the one they call.

What new revenue streams have you created?

REOs, which we were doing in the ‘90s, are back. Now we are consulting on short sales and loan modifications. Over the last few years, I have traveled around the country going to seminars and “meet and greets” with asset managers, and we have taken it to a new level in getting REO business. Once you meet bankers, you have to do the same thing as you do with clients—find out their interests, stay engaged, and stay involved for anything they need.

How does technology/social media help your efforts?

We certainly do everything when it comes to technology. The thing that helps me the most now is being on Facebook and Linkedin. I am connected with people from way back because of these sites. Social networking has given us another excellent way to network with our clients.

How are you/will you utilize the Top 5 program to help build your business?

The e-mail they send each morning gives me all I need. It pays for itself 20-fold. I learn so much that it keeps me knowledgeable and it gives me something to pass on to my clients.

What is the key to a successful life in real estate?

You have got to tell the story of real estate…no matter where you are. You have to be passionate about it. If you are willing to tell your story and be passionate about it, you will do well. You have to stay in the game—stay the course.