In the following interview, Sheila Rice, president of Virginia Cook, REALTORS®, a member of Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® (LeadingRE) in Dallas, Texas, discusses adapting to the changes in the industry, communicating with consumers, the firm’s future, and more.
Region Served: Ft. Worth, Sherman, Plano, North Dallas, Park Cities and Uptown
Years in Real Estate: 51
Number of Offices: 6
Number of Agents: 300+
Top Tips for Staying Ahead of the Competition: Diligent work, industry involvement, constant learning and loving the challenge of solving problems
How do you stay flexible and relevant in today’s ever-changing real estate landscape?
By embracing innovation and welcoming positive change. As an example, we adopted digitally signed documents early on. We’ve also embraced technology as a tool that enhances customer relationships, rather than as a barrier to human interaction.
What are your best strategies when helping homebuyers who are relocating to your area?
North Texas is easy to sell. Other than terribly hot summer days, we offer a rich cultural life, affordable housing, superb sporting venues, friendly people and excellent schools. We tailor our introduction to the DFW area to each client and their needs. Additionally, we provide buyers an overview of the process, which leaves them feeling empowered.
How do your agents stay in touch with their clients?
Our marketing department provides four agent-branded emails that can be sent to clients monthly. These include a real estate overview by area, what’s happening in the city, unique seasonal events and what’s trending in multiple areas. Additionally, we have a variety of printed templates that can be mailed. However, the very best way to solidify client relationships is with face-to-face interactions or telephone contact.
What were some of the biggest obstacles you overcame going from a manager to opening Virginia Cook, REALTORS®?
There really weren’t any significant obstacles for me and Virginia [Cook, chief executive officer] when we opened the company. We each had more than 20 years of experience, and we had both served as president of the MetroTex Association of REALTORS®.
Challenges come from left field when you’re busy working home plate; we adapt, adjust, change and collaborate.
What is the most significant trend positively impacting your business today?
Collaboration at a national level between brokers with shared values. We’re members of LeadingRE, and through that partnership, we were introduced to Larry Kendall and his Ninja Selling program. That’s just one of the significant values that’s derived from our membership in LeadingRE.
Where do you see Virginia Cook, REALTORS® five years down the road?
Since we began the company, it’s been our goal to significantly enhance our business skillsets and agent education every year. In the past three years, we’ve offered 50-60 hours of approved continuing education each year, free to our agents. We’ll also be continuing our KickStart program for new agents, which consists of eight days of intense training on everything from the Code of Ethics to cloud computing.
For more information, please visit www.leadingre.com.