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I’ve had the great pleasure of working with Mark Spain and his team over the past couple months, so I jumped at the opportunity to pick his brain and share a recap of our conversation below. As the No. 1 team within the Atlanta Board of REALTORS® for 11 years running, Mark Spain Real Estate truly has its finger on the pulse of the industry.

Seth Kaplan: You recently switched from a dial-for-info to a text-for-info system. What shaped this decision?
Mark Spain: We noticed that the volume of leads on our dial-for-info system were declining. In addition, our conversion ratio had decreased. In talking with consumers and our customers, the experience wasn’t perfect for the end user. While the dial-for-info system provided price and other important data, the consumer had a difficult time getting additional information and photos. With over 65 percent of real estate searches taking place on mobile phones, we made the decision to switch to a text-for-info system that would provide a better overall customer experience, while also driving more traffic to our website.

SK: With a large, growing team—and over 300 listings—what role does technology, in particular mobile, play in managing your business?
MS: It’s huge for us! That said, I don’t think our size plays that important of a factor. Consumers are getting more demanding in terms of what they expect from real estate agents, and any agent that wants to remain competitive has to stay on top of the current trends. For us, we use systems like REthink for our CRM to give us visibility into our business, Clicktools for customer surveys, and now, Win Local® for lead generation. We have to remain on the cutting edge at all times.

SK: What tool(s) do you find most effective for marketing to prospective buyers and sellers?
MS: Win Local® has proven to be a great tool for our lead generation efforts. We also use some online portals and spend a lot of time refining our own company website to provide a killer client experience. At the end of the day, though, the biggest secret is to just call people back. In my mind, that is the piece most agents miss.

Final Thought: There’s no debating that technology has led to major changes across all industries, and real estate is no exception. That being said, buyers, sellers and prospects are human, too, and there is yet a technology to replace a good, old-fashioned, quality phone call.

Headquartered in Alpharetta, with a sales team serving all of metro Atlanta, Mark Spain Real Estate is in growth mode. The team has rapidly grown to 80 agents and is currently adding about an agent a week.

Founder Mark Spain is an Atlanta native and a University of Georgia graduate from the Terry College of Business. In 2013, Spain broke the $2 billion sales mark for lifetime sales—he is believed to be one of only 50-100 REALTORS® out of well over one million real estate agents in the nation to achieve this.

Seth Kaplan is president of MRE – Win Local®.

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