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To really be seen in the real estate industry, it all comes down to marketing. In the following interview, Jeff Martel, Broker/Owner of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate 43° North dishes out details on staying ahead of the competition, making bold business decisions, and more.

Jeff Martel
Broker/Owner of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate 43° North
Years in real estate:
Region served: Boise, Idaho

Your Multiple Listing Service consistently ranks your firm No. 1 in the marketplace for per-agent productivity. What does it take to accomplish this?
Jeff Martel:
I consider our company more of a marketing company that happens to be in real estate, rather than a real estate company that also markets. Not only do we do all of the marketing for our agents, but we also do the bulk of the advertising for them. This way, we control the brand image.

When it comes to marketing in real estate, I see it as a three-legged stool. The first leg is that the property has to look good, to present well, and have great curb appeal. The second leg? Agents must be competent, personable, knowledgeable and professional. The third leg is all about marketing to drive traffic. If all three legs are working, it’s great. What’s more, from a company standpoint, being a really good agent means you connect very well with people. Connecting and networking can often take all day, and well into the evening hours, leaving only the latter part of the evening to set up marketing for new listings. While time-consuming, marketing plays a huge part in our success, so we take care of this for our agents so they can focus on networking and being a great agent.

What are you most proud of as a manager?
Our culture. We do not have a revolving-door office. Split doesn’t matter—it’s how much money you’re making. We have a horizontal approach to our organization, which means no one is above anyone else. Every agent has a say in the direction of the company. It’s our tribe, our family—we work hard and play hard. At the end of the day, we’re all working toward the same goal of treating our clients well. Instead of chasing numbers, we’ve been selective as far as the agents we bring in, finding true cultural fits. There’s no backstabbing here. We’re positive and thriving. I know it’s rare, but I’ve created a place where I like to work.

How do you stay ahead of the competition?
While we have a boutique, intimate feel, we also have the ability to be a one-stop shop, which is especially important to our builders. Fifty percent of our business is new construction, and the builders we help have a huge team of people with a marketing engine behind them. That marketing component has always been our strategic advantage. Equally important, we cater to our agents. Happy agents equal happy clients.

What is the best business decision you’ve made for your real estate brokerage?
To affiliate with Better Homes and Gardens. Their focus on lifestyle and touching the consumer on so many levels, in addition to all that the brand conveys, is our secret weapon. Better Homes and Gardens is a great company. They’re never telling us to do something. Instead, they’re always asking, “How can we help?” The partnership is amazing.

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