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RISMEDIA, April 13, 2010—Now more than ever, it is crucial for real estate professionals to serve as the real estate expert when working with clients. Here, Susie O. Johnson and Lindsey Johnson-Jacobs of The Susie o. Johnson Team with Coldwell Banker Gundaker in St. Louis, Missouri discuss how they go above and beyond in today’s market to serve as their clients’ real estate expert.

Susie O. Johnson
Lindsey Johnson-Jacobs
The Susie O. Johnson Team
Coldwell Banker Gundaker
St. Louis, Missouri

Years in business: 12
Number of agents: On my team, there are 5 full-time and 4 part-time agents.
Region served: Greater St. Louis Missouri, including St. Charles County
On getting the right listing price: Explain absorption rate and price appropriately to market conditions. You can always say no if the buyer presents a low offer.
Secret for effective time management: I set up a team concept where each of my team members is responsible for a certain aspect of the process. This frees me up to negotiate all offers, stay on top of pricing and network with other agents to push for sales.

What strategies do you use to stand out to clients and achieve customer loyalty?
I brand myself in the marketplace to be the name people think of when they think of real estate, using every available outlet. Once we work with a client, they are entered into our “Client Appreciation Database.” Our customer-for-life policy is what we strive for and to do that, we have regular contact with past clients, inviting them to our client parties and setting up fun events for their kids. We also send direct mail, starting with a copy of their personal HUD statement the January following their closing for use in filing taxes. A birthday card is sent out every year, too. I also advertise in The Real Estate Book.

What is the most successful promotion you have ever used?
We target the 20-something buyers using social media and many other avenues. We also invite first-time home buyers to participate in happy hours about four times a year in locations where that target age group gathers. I pick up the tab, and the team mingles and hands out goodie bags filled with giveaways and information on buying a home. We encourage them to invite their friends; it is usually more social than business, but the topic of conversation is always real estate. It has proven very successful and I would say attributed to the national ranking my buyer side sales have enjoyed the past three years.

How have you adjusted your client outreach for this market?
Clients still look to us to be the expert in real estate and to guide them through the process. We have the resources and knowledge to get them everything they may need, from handymen to make repairs, to vendors for staging, inspections, etc., as well as the technology to stay in touch with them along the way. In the past few years, the price changes have been constant, both up and down. We are not always delivering positive information, but I really tell it like it is and try to be as accurate as possible.