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“Your sphere of influence is your best source of business, past clients included,” says Isabel Gonzalez, Broker/Owner of CENTURY 21 Providence in Charlotte, N.C. “These are relationships you’ve nurtured, and if you’re genuine, helpful and honest, they’ll want to use you again or refer you to someone else.” For more of Gonzalez’ sage real estate wisdom and advice, read the following interview.

Gonzales_IsabelRegion served: Union County, South Mecklenburg, N.C.; Indian Land, S.C.
Years in real estate: 20+
Number of offices: 1
Number of agents: 17
Key to staying profitable: Keep costs down while still promoting yourself. Review your advertising avenues every year and cut back on what doesn’t work and promote more of what does.
Favorite part of your job: Getting to know new people. I’m fascinated by the richness of different cultures and the history that my clients share.
Best tip for finding success in today’s market: I’m old school in that I believe your sphere of influence is your best source of business, past clients included. These are relationships you’ve nurtured, and if you’re genuine, helpful and honest, they’ll want to use you again or refer you to someone else.

What are some of the current trends you see in your market right now?
In the beginning of 2014, we saw a shortage of homes. As we pushed into summer though, buyers were getting a bit savvy. If sellers price the home to sell, it’s possible for it to sell within a week. Homes that are overpriced are sitting much longer.

What strategies do your agents utilize to stand out and achieve customer loyalty?
I’m fortunate to have a wonderful group of agents who value our customers and believe that giving a little goes a long way. Sometimes funds are limited, so we may pay for a home warranty or shave a bit off a commission to help. If issues arise, we try our hardest to get them resolved, which goes a long way toward showing our clients that we’re looking out for their best interests.

In this ever-changing market, how does your company stay flexible?
We pride ourselves on truly listening to our customers. Real estate agents are a dime a dozen, so we go above and beyond. That includes everything from showcasing a client’s home on the cover of The Real Estate Book, hiring a professional photographer when working with upscale homes, offering discounts through the Century 21 business benefits program and even scheduling inspections. Agents have often adjusted their commissions in order to facilitate a sale.

How are you preparing your agents for the future of real estate?
I encourage my agents to take as many online classes and watch as many how-to videos as possible. I also arrange for different vendors and builders to come speak at our monthly office meetings.

I’ve noticed that you advertise in The Real Estate Book and on RealEstateBook.com. Can you tell me more about how those work into your overall marketing strategy?
It’s more than just advertising in a publication. In fact, our representative, Scott, comes in and lets us know what’s going on in the market, what we should focus on and how agents can promote themselves. In addition to being a great tool to use when on listing presentations, our sellers are happy that we go the extra mile to get their home featured through as many avenues as possible.

For more information, visit http://century21providence.homesandland.com.

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