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Collaborating for Success in Southern Luxury

Morar_SpearsIn the following interview, Destin, Fla.-based Scenic Sotheby’s International Realty Founder/Co-Owner/Broker Blake Morar and Top 250 Agent for Sotheby’s U.S. Jonathan Spears discuss marketing luxury, including through social media and video, and more.

Number of Offices: 3
Number of Agents: 42
Region Served: Destin, Fla.

How did you first get into real estate, and what led you to Scenic Sotheby’s Intl. Realty?
Blake Morar:
I graduated from college in 1996 and explored various sales positions in pharmaceuticals, but I always loved real estate. My first closing was in 1997. I bought the company in 1999—the owners were looking to get out of the business, but I believed in it and continued to grow the company. Sotheby’s approached us in 2010, and we were curious to learn more. As our market became more sophisticated, and developed, the Sotheby’s brand became relevant. We became part of the Sotheby’s brand in January 2014.

Jonathan, when did you join the firm?
Jonathan Spears:
I got into real estate right after the BP oil spill, so I was knee-deep in the recession here focusing on the foreclosure side. I wanted to get more focused on luxury real estate and have the opportunity to help customers in a way that I hadn’t seen before. I really wanted to tap into a firm and a market that could help me grow my business and my customer base. I joined the firm in January 2015.

What sets your firm apart in the marketplace?
JS:
One way we set ourselves apart is our investment in videography. We tap into our local producers and parlay it through the brand exposure that Sotheby’s provides. Through our YouTube page alone, we’ve got videos with 200,000 views. Our ability to take a property and tell a story is so important, and having that channel to leverage is everything.
BM: When we met with Sotheby’s, we could tell they had that marathon mindset versus a sprint mindset. The power of their marketing exposure and how that translates to qualified leads and happy sellers exceeded our expectations.
JS: We have a pretty incredible buyer database. I’ll bring a property to a sales meeting pre-market and find a buyer for it.

What’s your unique value proposition for agents?
BM:
We support our agents’ marketing efforts and treat our agents like clients. We’re arming them with the ability to handle their own clients, and part of that involves our collaborative culture. We provide a very engaging, very interactive environment, and our agents and their peers help advance that scenario.

What are the particular needs of your clientele?
JS:
My customers require 24-hour service and constant availability. A lot of them become like family because of the constant communication. Meeting their demands and being available is so important.
BM: When dealing with the upper end of the market, we’re the boots on the ground for them. Ultimately, they’re looking for results, and we need to make sure our marketing machine is in shape, along with our systems and processes.

How do you creatively market the firm and its listings?
BM:
We’re always looking for opportunities to leverage video, as people will give that a lot more attention than something static. We also publish a comprehensive market report in digital format, which we leverage through social media.

What are your plans for growing the firm path forward?
BM:
We’re always looking for seasoned agents who are interested in collaborating with professionals and tapping into the platform we’ve established. For us, growth means bringing on the right people.

Maria Patterson is RISMedia’s executive editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at maria@rismedia.com.

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