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Solomon_ShellThere is no one essential element for real estate success. Everyone seems to have their own recipe. However, according to Shell Solomon, the Broker/Owner with CENTURY 21 Solomon Properties in Tybee Island, Ga., growth and reach are important tools of a successful real estate business. “Embrace change and think globally while earning trust locally,” says Solomon. Read on for more of his top tips regarding improving exposure, finding the right affiliates, and more.

Region served: Tybee Island, Bloomington Island and Greater Savannah
Years in real estate: 25
Number of offices: 2
Number of agents: 18
Best tip for dealing with difficult customers: Customers aren’t difficult. It’s important that you listen to their wants, needs and concerns, and not waste their time and energy on something they aren’t interested in. When you understand their goals, exceeding their reasonable expectations comes more easily.
Best tip for running a successful meeting: Agents have to get something useful out of a meeting or it can actually be counter-productive to the effort. We only hold meetings when there’s important news to discuss.
Key to staying profitable: We build long-term relationships with clients based on caring and trust so they continue to return and send us referrals.
Best recruiting technique: Promoting our 28–35 percent marketshare in combination with being a new, independent franchisee of the iconic CENTURY 21 brand.

How do you determine your marketing spend between print and online? Has this ratio changed more recently?
Up until this year I was contributing a substantial amount of money toward print marketing and helping agents market their clients’ properties. Now our marketing efforts are strictly focused on the Internet and various social networking platforms.

What are your best strategies for working in non-traditional property markets?
We have a huge second-home/vacation-home market and a separate first-home/starter-home market, and many of the premium properties in the area have coastal or waterfront exposure. Our Tybee Island office draws a lot of attention because the office is physically visible to every visitor as they come on the island. The Wilmington Island area—with 30,000 full-time residents—has enough diversity of home stock that people can begin with a starter home and move up to a larger home while remaining in the same community. No matter where folks settle, to an extent, we’re promoting a really laid-back, beachfront lifestyle.

What are two fundamentals you feel are essential to your company’s continued success?
Embrace change and think globally while earning trust locally. As a new franchise affiliate of the CENTURY 21® System this past September, we are now experiencing national and international exposure like we’ve never had before. Promoting our established name on a local level will be a key component of our success. As we expand our listings exposure, people want a familiar company that has well established roots and a team that’s deeply embedded in the community. That’s who we are.

Is there some program, activity or other development going on at your office that is keeping your company top of mind in the eyes of prospective and existing clients or in the community?
We are moving from a boutique model to leveraging the support of the CENTURY 21 brand, from capitalizing on national programs at the local level, like the company’s sponsorship of the U.S. Men and Women’s Soccer teams, to advertising on family-oriented programs like the Little League World Series and Scripps National Spelling Bee. National advertising like this ties in nicely with my company’s ongoing commitment to do everything we can to assist consumers in Chatham, Effingham and Savannah counties to realize an amazing real estate experience and to ensure that we continue to be identified with professionalism, honesty, integrity and service. It is important that we can keep our name and the legacy we have in the local community while running the company the way it should be based on our long-term track record of success.

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