Every week, we ask an Atlanta real estate professional for their thoughts on the top trends in Atlanta real estate.
This week, we talked with Bill Rawlings, the vice president/managing broker for Atlanta Fine Homes Sotheby’s International Realty in North Atlanta. Bill is on the ABR Board of Directors, Executive Committee, and also served as the 2013 Vice President of Administration and Finance and 2013 Chair of the Multi-Million Dollar Sales Club. In 2014, he served as the Vice President of the ABR. A graduate of the Leadership Development program at ABR, Bill has previously served as Chairman of the Trade Show and Education Committees.
Atlanta Agent (AA): A New Year is nearly upon us; what kinds of things do you go over with your agents, to prepare their business?
Bill Rawlings (BR): It’s critical that they plan ahead. In this business, for any prospecting or business development that an agent does today, they will not reap the rewards for 90 days, so if they are not marketing themselves to their sphere today, they will not have a closing three months from now.
My priority right is to create a sense of urgency in my agents. I stress the importance of connecting with clients through multimedia. Agents needs to be communicating via the telephone, via the postal mail, via email, and finally, via face-to-face interaction. The most successful agents are the ones who take that approach.
AA: New data shows that mortgages in the Atlanta area are twice as affordable as rents; how can agents explain that value to prospective clients?
BR: It’s important that the agent educate the consumer on that value, because many consumers do not realize that value, to begin with. It’s all about asking the client if they would be willing to speak to a lender about what the difference would be between owning and renting; then, the lender can put those numbers into spreadsheets and show how the amortization of a mortgage differs from a monthly rent payment, and how beneficial the tax advantages are to owning a home, versus a rental payment that has no deduction.
AA: Finally, what is your advice for struggling agents?
BR: The first thing I would have them do is go back and look at what they’ve been doing to market themselves. In most cases, the answer is that they have not been doing that enough, or they have not been doing it consistently – so in the end, they have nobody to blame but themselves.
The problem some agents run into is, they only market themselves when they’re not busy, but then when they’re busy, they also need to be marketing themselves so that they do not have any slow times; unfortunately, that’s not always the way agents see it.