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BP: How has your technology evolved to meet the demands of agents and customers?
BW: To begin with, we have a great tech department, always up on the newest tools and the latest industry buzz. And we pride ourselves in providing our agents with all the bells and whistles it takes to keep them at the top of their game. At the same time, our philosophy has always been that technology is not the be-all and end-all. Every customer, every deal, is unique and what works for one does not necessarily work for another. What we value most is our unique ability to build and maintain relationships. Being customer-focused is what forges relationships, and it’s relationships that power success.

BP: How has your marketing and promotional strategy changed to better connect with customers?
BW: We try to maintain a customized and diverse marketing strategy to fit a variety of needs. In some ways, we are very traditional in that we still do the kind of print advertising that resonates with buyers and sellers, especially in a time when many real estate companies have pulled back on it. We try to be innovative, with Sunday newspaper wraps that sellers—especially mature sellers—expect and really value. We also produce a quarterly Fine Homes magazine, a glossy and beautiful publication that bespeaks the luxury and quality we represent at the high end of the market. Of course, our agents are well-versed in promotion via social media, where we maintain a presence that attracts and captures younger buyers and sellers. And last but not least, I must emphasize, we are a deeply rooted part of the communities we serve. Customers know us and trust us.

BP: What do today’s agents need to focus on to succeed?
BW: In the history of the industry, there has never been a more diverse set of strategies for success. From the most traditional to the most tech-savvy, every dedicated and hard-working agent has a real shot at success—with no glass ceiling and no limit to personal achievement. If you focus on developing a strong contact base, stay on top of market conditions, and do what it takes to build and maintain lasting relationships, you are well on your way to becoming a star performer.

BP: And finally, Barbara, what are your plans for continuing to grow the company?
BW: We knew, from the time we came together as Prudential Towne Realty that we would grow the company selectively, primarily by recruiting quality agents and supporting them in every way possible as they grow to reach their full potential. I personally conduct a portion of every orientation session we have for our new people. I tell them how delighted I am to have them with us, how confident we are about their bright future, and how hard we will work to be sure they have everything they need to flourish. Then I give them all my cellphone number, and I tell them, “anytime you need me, call me.” To date, I have never had a single agent call me to complain. They call to ask a question or to kick around an idea—or to share an opportunity or a strategy—and they know I’m happy to hear from them and that I share in their enthusiasm. That’s what I mean when I say, “hire the best people, and then get out of their way.” Respect is a mutual thing, and that goes for agents, management and customers.

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