The Voice of the Triumphant AgentCreig Northrop’s team was the No. 5 team ranked by transaction sides in the LORE/Wall Street Journal 2009 Top 400.
LORE: What challenges do you face today?
Northrop: Certainly we face the challenges of the market and financing arenas. A huge challenge is getting people qualified because of stricter guidelines and the fact that appraisers are stricter on value. It’s challenging to get people confident in the economy and the housing market. Let’s face it; once they do decide to buy they have to jump through 1000 hoops for financing. We’re seeing that financing has opened up a little more. Banks went from giving everyone a loan to giving no one a loan and that was difficult. Now, we’re in the right direction, we’ve got the confidence back up but housing prices haven’t yet stabilized but they’re in the right direction.
LORE: What are you doing to overcome these challenges?
Northrop: We’ve gotten creative and worked harder. I’ve been through every market from 17 percent interest rates to now. That experience allows me to strategize and get through the market. You’ve got to be flexible enough to adapt to market conditions, you must change your ways. I enlisted the help of a great financing person who works for me to help me get things through the system. An in-house lender has been a big help. We’ve also refocused our practice to buyers. I’ve got a lead generation manager and her focus is to cultivate buyers—follow up and follow through. Sales people are good at getting the lead but not maintaining and closing it. She will massage and work through that process, gets buyers what they need when they want it. On the seller side, we’ve increased our marketing while others are decreasing their marketing. By doing so, it’s almost like a spotlight sits on all of our marketing right now. The market notices when you start cutting your advertising back, so we made it stronger, more consistent. We’ve also increased our Internet marketing
LORE: How have you revamped the business to meet the current needs of clients and customers?
Northrop: Get back to the basics by enhancing customer services. I’ve made my company leaner. I have very productive people doing a lot of things. We combined our listing and transaction coordinator positions into one position—client care coordinator. This one person takes everyone from listing to the settlement table. It’s made it beneficial on the relationship side. It’s about the future of our sales, not just today.
LORE: What do you see as the successful sales associate of the future?
Northrop: There are three different types of buyers: old school, new school and echo boomers. In order to maintain, you must adapt to all three types of buyers. Old school still reads the newspaper. With the new school, you better be all over the Web. They’re very information oriented. They gather information and they want results. The echo boomer is about instant gratification, such as texting. You must respond to texts. All of my properties have text riders on them. The agent of the future has to learn how to deal with all sets of these three generational buyers. I think putting yourself in one market is not the wave of the future, Teams are the wave of the future. One person can’t do what is required anymore. Knowledge is confidence, confidence is trust and trust is the sale. Learn it before you sell it so you’re confident and can earn trust. You can’t just jump in to real estate or a market niche; you must know every house on every street in your area. Source: LORE Magazine, Tracey Velt (7/7/2009)