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With the market on the move, it’s often hard to tell what consumers are most concerned about. “These days, everyone has access to a lot of information, but market conditions can change so quickly that buyers demand instant and constant communication with their agent,” says Steve Spencer, a broker/owner with Gateway Realty. To learn more about what consumers are looking for, read the following broker spotlight, a column dedicated to bringing you business-building insights from members of RISMedia’s Real Estate Information Network® (RREIN.

Steve Spencer
Bev Dorsett
Gateway Realty

Barbara Pronin: How would you characterize your position in your marketplace today?
Bev Dorsett: I’d have to say we are the oldest and most stable realty company in northern Solano County, Calif.—and we’ve been the market leader here for more than 20 years. There are larger companies around, but we top the list in terms of sales volume and customer satisfaction. Our company has been voted “Best of Solano County” for seven consecutive years.

BP: The marketplace has changed mightily over the years. How has your company adapted?
Steve Spencer: One of the things Bev and I are good at is assessing what the market is like today and looking down the road at what’s coming. So we’ve been able to prepare for change in most cases, to make some timely investments in programs and systems and provide our agents with the things they need to do their best work in any market.

BP: What is your competitive differentiation?
BD: Our customers know from experience that we can help them accomplish their goals. We hire extraordinary people who are as committed as we are to providing service above what’s expected. People know they can rely on our agents, that we will live up to and exceed their expectations. We offer all the benefits of some of the largest companies, but with the added bonus of personalized attention and support to every buyer and seller.

BP: What are today’s real estate consumers most concerned with?
SS: These days, everyone has access to a lot of information, but market conditions can change so quickly that buyers demand instant and constant communication with their agent. They want to know they have our full attention and that we will never waver from our commitment to help them find just the right property in a timely and hassle-free manner.

BP: How do your sales associates best serve consumers?
BD: By working harder and longer than the competition. By paying attention to detail. By staying on top of market conditions and communicating that knowledge to their customers. The agents we have now have come through the worst of the down market. They have a real understanding of this business, and they know what their customers want and need—and how they can provide that.

BP: How are you retaining your top producing agents?
BD: Steve and I work very hard to be sure our business is totally transparent to our agents. Our books are open, and everyone has equal ownership of the company’s goals and transactions. When you have that kind of ownership—when you know your input is wanted and valuable, and that your hard work is critical to everyone’s success—you simply want to stay. We’re proud to say we have agents onboard who’ve been with the company for more than 30 years.

BP: How have you kept pace with changing technology?
SS: We have two tech specialists in the company whose job it is to research and recommend new and improved technologies that can help our agents do better or more efficient work for their customers and get them up to speed on using it. Technology is wonderful, but it can be distracting. We try to strike a balance. That’s why we recently joined RISMedia’s Real Estate Information Network® (RREIN), as it provides a constant feed of the most current market news and information to agents and customers alike.

BP: In your opinion, what do today’s agents need to focus on in order to succeed?
BD: They have to be available and responsive, with the right tools to meet the client’s goals and the ability to utilize them to their advantage. They need to be knowledgeable and service-oriented at every stage of every transaction. That is the formula for success.

BP: What are your plans for continuing to grow the company?
SS: We are always open to the right merger and acquisition opportunities. We’ve completed six or seven over the past several years, and each one has expanded our service area or contributed something unique and valuable to the way we do business.
BD: Solano County is one of the larger counties in the state, so we have many competitors out there. But growth for growth’s sake was never our goal. Our ambition to grow remains firmly rooted in our commitment to being the best.

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