Blanche Evans is a writer/editor and CEO of evansEmedia. Formerly, she was a senior editor with Realty Times, where she was named by REALTOR® Magazine as one of the most influential people in the real estate industry.
Atlanta Broker Certifies Her eAgents
Jenny Pruitt & Associates builds salespeople's computer skills in order to provide better service.
December 1, 2001
It usually isn't news when a broker graduates a class of new salespeople. But when a prominent local broker certifies her own salespeople in Internet-readiness, it signals an important trend worth watching in the industry. Brokers are exerting more control over service quality, and using Internet training as a basis for upgrading their salespeoples' skills.
Recently, Atlanta brokerage firm Jenny Pruitt & Associates, REALTORS graduated over 100 residential real estate salespeople from their technology training program, where the salespeople earned the company's "eAgent" designation. That represents over one third of the sales force from the brokerage's four sales offices who now have mastery in e-commerce-friendly utilities such as e-mail and the Microsoft Office productivity and presentation suite of programs.
"Being proficient in Power Point helps us communicate to the customer the benefits of listing their home with us," Pruitt says, "Our marketing services are planned and concise. They are best explained using this visual and interactive tool."
But isn't certifying one's agents in Internet-savviness an unusual step? Not if it is part of an overall plan to get more committed salespeople, says Pruitt. The $99 training program isn't free, but neither is it required. By that standard, a one-third staff compliance could be considered exemplary.
Explains Janet Humphrey, spokesperson for the brokerage and program co-designer, "We wanted to provide the salespeople with something hands-on where we could give them tools to get them up to speed with their customers. This teaches them those skills in the right place. We have our own instructors so they have follow-through and people to call if they have questions. We also have a technology coordinator in each office, and then two main people on the staff that do the wiring, cable and those things." Internet readiness could also be a good offensive measure for a slowing market. "There's been a slowdown but it is picking back up," says Humphrey.
Says Pruitt, "We aren't the largest company in the market so we have tried to stand out in other ways. We want to let customers know that we can work with them in any way that is comfortable for them, but we also don't want to leave anyone behind. We want the salespeople to be comfortable, too."
"It could lead to further dividends," says Humphrey, "There will be a special marketing section on the Web site for the eAgents, and we will supply them with postcards for their client base. We have a plan in place for more tech-savvy salespeople."
(c) Copyright 2001 Realty Times. Reprinted with permission.
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