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RISMEDIA, December 4, 2010—When it comes to online marketing, creating a good first impression is more important than ever as prospective buyers continue to turn to the Internet to begin their home search. Here, Ron Clarke, CEO of Century 21 Alliance in Buckingham, Pennsylvania discusses how his company is keeping up with today’s consumer.

Ron Clarke
Century 21 Alliance
Buckingham, Pennsylvania

Region served: Delaware Valley, Southeastern Pennsylvania
Years in real estate: 30
Number of offices: 18
Number of agents: 800
Average time on market: 126 days
Average sales price: $236,000
Most effective way to motivate agents: Keep them focused on the things they can control.
Favorite thing about real estate: Helping other people grow in their careers.
Best advice for real estate rookies: Develop a personalized work plan based on your capabilities and work in an environment that fosters your individual skills.

What are two fundamentals that are essential to your company’s continued success?
The two fundamentals that are essential to our company’s continued success are our commitment to one-on-one coaching with our agents and our focus on moving inventory. We measure everything we do in regard to how successfully we are moving inventory compared to the rest of the market, which allows us to gauge how efficiently our agents are using the tools we provide.

How are you staying one step ahead of your competition?
We are spending more one-on-one time with our agents than we ever have in the past. By implementing coaching sessions into our practice, we can equip our agents with the market information they need to successfully explain the current market conditions to our customers.

What is your best online marketing strategy?
Our research has shown that rounded pricing gets more attention from prospective buyers who are searching for a home online, so we are focusing on rounded pricing ($300,000 vs. $299,500) as one way to boost our online marketing. We are also working on creating a memorable first impression by changing listing photos regularly, changing the initial wording on listings to keep them clean and timely and altering the front-loading remarks that are visible when a property is viewed. By being more aware of what consumers are looking for, we are placing the most significant information at the beginning of our ads.

How do you effectively communicate with your agents?
The most effective way we have found to communicate with our agents is by getting in front of them with accurate market information. We have been putting a lot of emphasis on group meetings as opposed to individual office meetings in order to equip our agents with the information they need.