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Utilizing Every Opportunity

In the following interview, Cathy Griffin, broker of CENTURY 21 Towne & Country in Salisbury, N.C., discusses integrated marketing in her referral- and repeat client-based business.

Region Served: Several counties in North Carolina
Years in Real Estate: 27
Number of Offices: 2
Number of Agents: 18
Best Tip for Dealing With Difficult Customers: It’s not about how much you know, but how much you care. Listen first so you can gather details.
Key to Staying Profitable: Stay in touch with past clients and diversify advertising between print and online.

Please share your best practices as they relate to client retention.
I learn a lot about each client and their family, and I give a lot to their children’s schools, sports teams, sporting events and fundraisers. I also keep an eye out for family milestones so that I can send a note or gift card. I want to be utilizing every opportunity to keep my name in their mind, but I never use those interactions as a tool to ask for business. The business comes as a natural result.

What strategies do you have in place for working with diverse markets?
My philosophy has always been to care for the small deals just as much as the bigger ones. Hand-holding the first-time buyer to helping a client close on their first $70,000 condo means as much to me as it does to the client. The way I see it, these first-timers are the same people as the $70,000 buyer, and I’ve had more than a few of those first-timers come back to me over my 27 years.

How do you deal with the negative effects of the media?
Reports about interest rate increases are often scary to prospective clients, so I explain that we were buying and selling homes when the rates were 18 percent. The same holds true for when they were 7 percent, and even today with rates below 5 percent. It’s all about reassuring them that today’s rates are still fantastic. We also bring in a lender for additional support and perspective.

I understand you use an integrated marketing strategy, including print—specifically Homes & Land. How does it benefit you?
Homes & Land has been phenomenal. As an independent agent, Homes & Land has allowed me to get into more counties and reach clients I might otherwise miss—and in the two years I’ve been with them, the magazines have gotten better and better. While I try to keep a balance between my budget for print and web marketing, my online spending sometimes overrides what I spend on print, especially as more tech-savvy individuals enter the market. I’m still getting ROI from print, so I’m keeping about 50 percent of my spending there. What I like about Homes & Land is that they give me both print and online exposure.  

For more information, please visit www.homesandland.com.

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