Becoming a top real estate resource takes dedication and commitment to not only your business, but your client. “Today, real estate is all about the client; it is not about us. I always try to keep top of mind what will best serve the needs of the client,” says Priscilla Toomey of Julia B. Fee Sotheby’s International Realty. Continue reading to glean Toomey’s top tips, as she discusses relationship building strategies and more with RISMedia’s Lesley Geary.
Years in business: 25
Region served: Southern Westchester County, N.Y.
Time-management tip: You can’t do it all yourself. I have a terrific webmaster, and when I need additional expertise in other areas, I learn what I need to or involve someone who has that expertise. You also have to be selective and focused, of course.
The one thing you can’t live without: My BlackBerry.
What do today’s real estate consumers expect from their agent?
Today, real estate is all about the client; it is not about us. I always try to keep top of mind what will best serve the needs of the client.
Take my website, for example. I have tried to build it from the outside in because what matters most is what the client wants. So I make sure I have information and resources that are useful to people visiting the site. I am constantly tweaking it to make sure the site is fresh, easy to use, and a resource the consumer can go back to again and again. One person has been back to my website 88 times.
Why is it essential to build this type of ongoing relationship with clients?
Real estate sales are often looked at as transactional. My background, however, is in relocation, where the relationship goes on for 20 or 30 years. So I look at clients as clients for life and I want to be there as a resource for whatever they need, whenever they need it.
How do you position yourself as a true resource, not only on real estate but to the community at large?
People call me with questions years after their transaction. I provide them with ongoing information about real estate in their market. What’s more, I produce the local equivalent of an Angie’s List—a resource that is complete with buyer and seller recommendations for the best local services—from electricians and pool help to lawn services and locksmiths. People know that I am happy to provide this information.
How do you serve as a resource for home sellers in today’s market?
I make certain they understand that the minute the house goes on the market, it becomes a commodity, so steps must be taken before then. I almost always bring in a stager. I teach sellers to turn over the house to the agent and let the agent do the job. It is true that consumers can do a great deal on the Internet, but it is very important that they understand that REALTORS® do a great deal of work that cannot be learned or gathered on the Internet. I provide context to what they may find online.
Why is providing relevant content and information critical to succeeding in today’s market?
Everybody starts their home search on the Internet today. They may also hear a lot in the media about real estate. One of the reasons it is so important to provide relevant content is because real estate is local, but what they may be seeing or hearing is not local. I provide important context.
How does positioning yourself as an information source allow you to build relationships and grow your business long term?
I write about a million different real estate topics. I also teach how to maximize the investment you live in. Your home is your sanctuary. I want people to feel comfortable with what they do with the house, but I also feel very strongly that it is crucial they understand that everything they do to their house affects that asset.
Why did you become a Member of Top 5?
For the information and the networking. I learn so much from working with Top 5. The articles all go up on my website, which has helped my search engine optimization tremendously.
What is the key to a successful life in real estate?
Most of the time it actually energizes me. I read a book recently and one of the things it talked about was “passionate curiosity,” and I think that is really essential to have in the real estate business. I also think you have to be interested in a lot of things. What’s going on in the world and how does it impact my immediate world? I also believe in doing those things that make you whole as a person. All of the things you do help you to understand your clients better. I love seeing people realize a dream because I have helped them.