07 Jan 2013
Nancy Todd, regional sales manager for the Rawson Property Group in the Western Cape says at the Rawson Property Group they believe that they can benefit greatly from being at the National Association of Realtors (NAR) convention every year.
She says the reason is that this association is at the cutting edge of the international real estate industry. “What we pick up at the NAR is the best and latest information and technology available to the real estate sector worldwide.”
One of the facts which became increasingly evident to her, Todd says, was that the top 10 to 20 percent of the USA’s estate agents have come through the worst downturn in the country’s housing sector in decades stronger and better connected – while among the rest there have been heavy casualties.
“Much of what I learned at the convention explained why certain agents continue to remain so successful and, as one would expect, it all boils down to giving a superior service and adding value.”
She says a highly successful agent selling luxury homes in Cape Cod had emphasised that too few agents really listen to what the client is saying.
She says they were reminded strongly that success depends on understanding what the client needs and giving it to him.
Agents were reminded that their success depends largely on their credibility, in other words the accuracy of the information that they present. They have to work through all of the data available to them and then present this to clients as an easily understood, comprehensive comparative market analysis for their area but also taking national trends into account, she says.
Another lesson learned, she says, is that top agents should all regularly carry out honest SWOT (strength, weakness, opportunity, threat) exercises on themselves and on their companies.
Todd says the importance of networking in the agent’s community and of having a lively but personal identity in the community was brought home. Social media again emerged as a prime factor leading to success.
“Several speakers explained that social media can be a highly effective tool for building and maintaining relationships. They back up and support the one-on-one relationships which is vital in our work.”
Also important to the success of any agency is the increased use of the internet and e-marketing, she says. She was told more than once that the ability to work in this way is what separates the professional from the less professional agents.
“In addition, a further message which came through from the convention was that creative advertising is now essential. “We were shown that those who continue to advertise in the same old way will lose out to those who are inventive and dazzling in their advertising.”
Todd says another lesson learned from agents at the convention, was that, as in South Africa, national property statistics are not always relevant to regions.
“Certain pockets, some of them extremely large and extensive, are still bucking the trend and seeing house prices increase.
“However, it is also true that many of the top agents in the US have been surprisingly successful in areas where prices have taken dramatic drops. After speaking to these agents it became apparent that their success had been the result of their ability to get today’s sellers to accept market realities.”
Todd says many of the Rawson Property Group’s delegates who had attended the convention had come home well equipped with computer-related marketing and advertising tools, which they believe made the whole trip worthwhile, however, the creative and intellectual stimulation was beyond price.
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