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To find success in an ever-changing real estate market, it’s important to keep reliable, tried-and-true business practices in mind while also adapting to new industry trends.

Michael Russell
CENTURY 21 Signature Properties
Dartmouth, Mass.

Region served: Southeastern Massachusetts and Cape Cod
Years in real estate: 18
Number of offices: 3
Number of agents: 77
Average sales price: $303,000
No. 1 piece of advice for new agents: Be proactive. Hit the ground knowing success is just hard work away. Never expect this business to provide you with opportunity. It will and it can, but you will be as successful as you are proactive in the generation of prospects, the capturing of prospects and the closing of prospects.

How do your agents stay on the top of their field?
Through local real estate education and technology education. We capitalize on our position in the marketplace by leaning on our brand. Our successful team members and marketshare provide the confidence needed to compete. As the market improves, listings are tougher to obtain and competition is stiffer.

What is your biggest challenge in today’s market, and how is your company facing it?
The generational gap between the average homebuyer and the average REALTOR® is our biggest challenge today. We lost a generation of REALTORS® in the downturn, between 2008 and 2012. REALTORS® have stayed in the business longer than they expected, which has compounded the multi-decade average age difference between consumer and service provider. The communication methods, values and styles among the two groups are tremendously different, creating challenges in fostering strong, long relationships. We focus on bridging that gap through weekly in-house training that relates to the factors that drive today’s homebuyer and their preferred methods of quick communication.

What marketing strategies do you find most successful?
Old-school farming still works. The only way to become the neighborhood REALTOR® is to get out there and become the neighborhood REALTOR®. Visit homes, be confident in your presence and deliver helpful updates to the community. Be proactive. There is no secret, this isn’t re-inventing the wheel—this is old-fashioned hard work. There is no marketing substitute for it.

I know you advertise in The Real Estate Book and on How do these platforms work into your overall marketing strategy for your own brand and for your listings? 
Even today there is still a significant segment of print media that remains effective. People still pick up the local Real Estate Book. It is a low-cost, per-contact source and effective when it comes to generating prospects.

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