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steve_hudsonIn the following interview, Steve Hudson, managing broker, The Hudson Company, a member of Leading Real Estate Companies of the World®, in Winnetka, Ill., discusses client relations, negotiation and more.

Region Served: Lake Bluff to Evanston, Ill., along the North Shore
Years in Business: Since 1981
Number of Offices: 1
Number of Agents: 20
Best Tip for Getting the Right Listing Price: Always list as close to the selling price as possible. In a softer market, a property will sell close to the listing price, while in a hotter market, buyers will bid up the price.
Best Time Management Tip: Do the hard work first.
Key to Running a Successful Meeting: We hold meetings to exchange information and learn, but I often incorporate a fun YouTube video or engaging TED Talk.
Can’t-Live-Without Tech Tool: Google. Google Apps provide the most collaborative set of tech tools available.

As a boutique agency, do you find that you have a unique way of motivating agents?
For the most part, motivation is internal, and agents work hard because they want their clients to succeed. Helping agents develop their marketing plan and stay on track does influence their positivity, which, in turn, helps them stay motivated in spite of setbacks.

How do you counsel your team members when it comes to handling difficult clients?
Some customers are difficult, but most of the time, customers are simply under considerable stress. The stress is heightened when values are declining. Buying or selling a home is an emotional and stressful time, so much of what we do is help people manage their emotional response to the situation at hand and help them make rational decisions. There’s no easy way to deal with situations made difficult by stress, but trust is key. If the client doesn’t trust you, it’s not going to be easy.

What are your best tips for getting buyers and sellers to work together during negotiations?
Negotiations aren’t easy much of the time because the parties involved can take things too personally. Our job as brokers is to keep everyone focused on the goal of getting to acceptable terms for both the buyer and seller. The seller’s first offer is already on the table—the listing price. The buyer’s offer, if unacceptable, is simply a starting point. It’s important to focus not on where one starts, but where we can go.

How has being a member of the Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® network helped you grow your business?
We joined with Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® (LeadingRE) about 10 years ago, and I believe our partnership has played a role in keeping us in the top three positions in our market. LeadingRE gives us a global reach, so it’s a perfect place for us to be. And, through Luxury Portfolio International®, our luxury markets feed other luxury markets, so our networking in those areas is greatly enhanced. I think we have a disproportionate share of business in the luxury markets against other luxury networks because of the reach LeadingRE and Luxury Portfolio provide our team.

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