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Burke_GerryFrom improving company branding to keeping agents motivated, Gerry Burke, the managing partner with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices HWWB, REALTORS® in Birmingham, Mich., has over 28 years of experience navigating the tumultuous real estate terrain. In the following interview, she reveals several of her better business practices.

Region served: Southeast Michigan
Years in real estate: 28+
Number of offices: 2
Number of agents: 87
Average time on market: 40 days
Average sales price: $269,907
Best tip for finding success in today’s market: Get back to the basics and practice good time management.
Best tip for dealing with a difficult customer: Be patient. Really listen to what the person is telling you, ask open-ended questions, then see if there is something that can be done to correct the situation.

What is one challenge your market faces today and what are you doing to overcome it?
One major challenge we’re experiencing today is a lack of good inventory. To overcome this, we are using proven methods for increasing our inventory, like postcards in combination with the Every Door Direct Mail® system from the U.S. Postal Service. We also encourage our agents to share their successes with one another.

How do you keep your agents motivated?
The first step toward keeping our agents motivated is making sure they have clear goals. Once their goals have been defined, we work closely with each agent to ensure they stay focused. One way we do this is by having weekly sales meetings.

How do you use technology to better your business?
We use a combination of high-tech and high-touch so that we stay on the minds of our clients and customers. We also have a support staff within the office that is responsible for making sure agents are using the tools that are available to them.

What is your best tip for company branding?
We are fortunate to be associated with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, so it’s really important that we listen and follow the lead of the experts hired by the most popular brand in real estate.

I’ve noticed that you advertise your brand and your listings in The Real Estate Book and on Can you tell me more about how you work this into your overall marketing strategy and how it benefits you?
The Real Estate Book and fit our needs for several reasons. First, since it’s available in a printed, digital and mobile format, it serves our entire marketplace. The online aspect allows our listings to be seen without us having to load or change the information, and the local magazines have a long shelf life since they are not dated. Overall, it’s a cost-effective advertising investment and a real time-saver.