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Ken Crowley, the broker/owner of RE/MAX Realty Group, certainly knows how to build long-lasting relationships; his company recently celebrated their 25th anniversary. Read on as he chats with RISMedia’s Executive Editor, Maria Patterson, about building and sustaining relationships with clients, providing consumers with the information they need in the current market, and utilizing technology to its fullest potential.

Ken Crowley
Greg Smith
RE/MAX Realty Group

Maria Patterson: Please describe your real estate journey.
Ken Crowley: On November 6, we celebrated our 25th year as a company. I’m one of those crazy people who took a leap, quit my job, went into real estate and never looked back. My partner, Greg Smith, and I met prior to my real estate career and we eventually bought a RE/MAX franchise together. When we started out, we were only the third RE/MAX franchise in Montgomery County, Md. We grew slowly until we had 18 agents come over from another company, and then in six months, we had 45 agents come over from yet another company. Over the years, we’ve been able to maintain a decent level of growth and stability.

MP: How were you able to grow so substantially in that early time frame?
KC: It was a combination of hard work on our part and agents who believed in us. That’s what allowed us to reach critical mass pretty quickly.

MP: How is the company currently positioned?
Greg Smith: We have licenses in Virginia, Maryland, D.C. and Pennsylvania, but we primarily service the Maryland suburbs of Washington, D.C., and Montgomery County. We have three offices. We position ourselves as the home for quality agents. For people who are successful or who are on their way to becoming successful, we are, by a long shot, the leading office in our marketplace. We nearly double the volume of our closest competitor.

MP: What do today’s consumers need most from a real estate professional?
KC: What people need in this market, and any market, is a trusted advisor—someone they can turn to for the truth about the marketplace. Agents who position themselves this way will succeed in today’s marketplace. This business always comes back to “Who do you turn to?” We always tell our agents to get in touch with their clients and say, “This is what you read in the newspaper, and this is what’s real.”

MP: How can associates best build long-term relationships with clients?
KC: I love technology; it’s a tool that allows people to connect with others. But staying in touch with people means being personally involved. This will always be a toe-to-toe, belly-to-belly business. Facebook has done wonders for allowing people to reconnect, but it’s not enough. You have to take the next step and physically be in touch with people. A personal note, a personal phone call or dropping by someone’s office—those things really get my attention.

MP: How does technology help you connect with consumers?
GS: Becoming a RREIN member was a step in that direction. We always had a website and used email and a video marketing newsletter. But people have gotten very savvy about what’s good content and what’s not. There’s a lot of junk content out there and people can discern very quickly what’s relevant and what’s not. So good content is invaluable. People don’t want to know how much experience you have or what plaques you have on your wall. They want service and information.

MP: What do today’s agents need to focus on to succeed?
KC: First of all, just by being in this business today, they’ve won. They haven’t been voted off the island. They need to keep doing what they do best—talking to people, understanding technology, and not just understanding it, but knowing how to use it. I also don’t think there’s ever been a more important time for an agent to be up-to-date on the issues in real estate and the economy. Agents have to pursue real estate as if they’re on a graduate-school level.

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