Attendance at the National Association of Realtors Conference in Florida proved valuable to SA agents

The Rawson Property Group sent 42 delegates to the 2012 National Association of Realtors expo and convention held over two weeks in Orlando, Florida in November last year. This making them one of the largest parties attending – including those from the US.

“At the Rawson Property Group we believe that we can benefit greatly from being at the National Association of Realtors (NAR) convention every year,” said Nancy Todd, Regional Sales Manager for the Rawson Property Group in the Western Cape. “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, said Todd, was that the top 10 to 20% 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,” said Todd, “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.”

A highly successful agent selling luxury homes in Cape Cod, said Todd, had emphasized that too few agents really listen to what the client is saying.

“We were reminded strongly that success depends on understanding what the client needs – and giving it to him.”

“In addition,” said Todd, “agents were reminded time and again that their success depends very 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.”

Another lesson learned, said Todd, is that top agents should all regularly carry out honest SWOT (strength, weakness, opportunity, threat) exercises on themselves and on their companies.

As at previous conventions, said Todd, the importance of networking in the agent’s community and of having a lively but very 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 are vital in our work,” she said.

Also important to the success of any agency, said Todd, is the increased use of the internet and e-marketing. 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,” said Todd, “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.”

Another lesson learned from agents at the convention, said Todd, 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,” she said. “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 said that 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”.

© Property Wheel

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