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Success comes in many forms. In the following interview, Shirley Gary, License Partner with Engel & Völkers Buckhead Atlanta in Atlanta, Ga., gives us the methods behind her 20-plus years of real estate success.

Gary_ShirleyRegion served: Metro Atlanta
Years in business: 20+
Number of offices: 2
Number of agents: 40
Best strategy for dealing with a difficult customer: Listen and understand exactly what they’re saying before you speak or respond.
Best time-management tip: Plan your time strategically and stay on point. Never let yourself fly by the seat of your pants.
Most creative way you’ve marketed a property: I used a blimp to advertise a new subdivision, but some kids cut the tether cord and it flew away five minutes after it was launched.
One thing people may not know about you: I was a semi-professional country dancer. I even danced at the Grand Ole Opry!

What tech tool can you not live without?
My go-to tech tools are my E&V platforms. These customized, Web-based platforms can touch every event and marketing tool that company associates around the world have access to on a daily basis. Not only does the referral tool help capture marketshare, but through our “Brand Central” marketing platform, I’m able to put everything in one place so that I can set up campaigns for specific audiences. With just one click, I can set up an interactive e-marketing system for an entire year. The ability to access and use these tools is one of the main reasons I came to work for Engel & Völkers.

When it comes to client retention, what strategies have you found to be most effective?
My model is not typical since I started in the business by way of running a new subdivision program for several agencies and builders. Today, Engel and Völkers Buckhead Atlanta has more than 50 subdivisions we’re marketing, and last year, we posted $120 million in new-home sales between subdivisions and luxury properties. Since I’ve been in this market my entire career, I’ve retained relationships with people who continue to refer me to other builders and buyers. Keeping these relationships active is the key to not only having ongoing opportunities to serve existing clients, but a way to become the go-to broker for all of their contacts as well.

What are your top tips for working with international buyers?
First and foremost, educate yourself prior to your first meeting so that you understand a client’s culture before you start doing business together. When it comes to selling a home, you’ve got to be able to serve the client while going above and beyond their expectations—a concept that applies to all cultures.

Let’s talk about what’s new and exciting at your company. I understand there’s some big news regarding Engel & Völkers Buckhead Atlanta.
We are strengthening the brand’s resale division and we’ve also brought in a top recruiter who is helping us actively recruit some of the best resale agents in the market. When we open up our Buckhead Atlanta boutique office, our goal is to have 80–100 agents, with 40 dedicated to resale homes. My objective is to bring this new, exciting brand to Buckhead—Atlanta’s Rodeo Drive. I’ve learned that to truly become more successful, you have to diversify, so this will be the company’s first dedicated effort to capturing the Atlanta resale market.

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