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In the following interview, Tonya Callies, a broker with Windermere Group One Tri-Cities in Richland, Wash. discusses the importance of building relationships with her agents, her clients, and more.

Tonya_CalliesRegion served: Greater Tri-Cities Area
Years in real estate: 18
Number of offices: 2
Number of agents: 65
Favorite relationship-building strategy: Authentic face-to-face time with clients
Top strategy for closing a transaction: Constant contact with all parties involved in the transaction
One thing people don’t know about you: I have a strong passion for the youth in our community. I take a group of youth to Honduras every year to help build clean water systems and housing.

What is one of the challenges your market faces, and what are you doing to overcome it?
Our market is moving very swiftly because buyer demand is high, which means buyers have to be far more resilient and aggressive as they make their way through the buying process because homes are moving quickly. This is the best kind of problem, because it’s one that reflects the amazing growth we’ve had.

How does your company work to make its agents’ jobs easier?
Group One is all about education and support. In fact, we have a weekly schedule of training opportunities that take place within the office, and we have the best support staff in town to assist us in all aspects of our business. We are truly a team.

How do you use technology to better serve your clients?
At Group One, the most important thing we use technology for—that I think is best for our clients—is training. We have our very own online training site that our agents can access at any time in order to stay sharp and better serve our clients. In addition, we also use technology to better display our listings and to facilitate convenient signings.

In what ways are you working to prepare your agents for the future of real estate?
Other than constant training, we’re trying our best to create systems and support so that our agents can get up every day and focus on what’s most important—relationship building. With the way we use technology, and how busy this work can be, we want to take away as much of the desk work as we can. This allows our agents to focus on building relationships with clients and the community at large. When our agents are doing what they love, we thrive.

You use an integrated marketing strategy, including print and, specifically, The Real Estate Book. How does it benefit you?
When it comes to advertising, The Real Estate Book has provided me with the best bang for my buck. I love that I can give clients a tangible little book that they can always refer to. It’s highly effective and easy for me.

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