The economy may not be strong, but the numbers coming out of Keller Williams Tampa Central office certainly are, officials there say.
"This time last year, we were the 37th office in total sales," says Dallas Coffield, the office's team leader. "At the end of the second quarter of this year, we were 10th.
"Not bad for an office that opened a 1½ year ago in a market that wasn't the best we've ever had. And we've opened a successful office in a challenging location. We're in the Channel District."
Although the location didn't turn out quite as expected, Coffield says it has proven to be a real benefit.
"We're not wedged into any one neighborhood," he says. "We cover everything - all of Hillsborough County from South Tampa and Brandon to Apollo Beach to Lutz and Wesley Chapel."
Coffield says his group's success can be attributed to several factors: leadership, Keller Williams' educational programs, knowledgeable and experienced agents and customer service.
"The success of our office starts with our broker/owner. Chris McLaughlin is a real estate attorney and an incredible leader,'' Coffield says. "His guidance is tremendous. Under his leadership, we've focused on short sales, foreclosures, a lot of areas that were previously untapped."
Coffield says today's changing real estate market has forced agents to learn different techniques as well as focusing on different areas such as short sales.
"Any agent today who is not learning how to handle short sales and foreclosures is doing a disservice to himself and his clients. He's not working the market.
"Those types of sales are about 50 percent of the market today.''
The educational programs that Keller Williams offers its agents also are extremely helpful, Coffield says.
Agents aren't required to take them, but most do, he explains, adding that seminars, workshops and classes cover many topics, including networking, computer training and marketing.
"During any one week we have anywhere from three to five classes or workshops that people can take,'' he says. "And agents in the office - who are experts in the area - teach the classes so they're available to answer questions as they come up.
"We foster an environment that promotes sharing knowledge between agents. That shared experience, along with our education, helps agents price their properties properly, which is key in this market,'' he adds.
"No one benefits from a listing that will not sell. Proper pricing and effective marketing is both a vital part of an agent's job and another form of good customer service.''
Coffield says many agents who started in the last market upswing never learned the value of client service.
"Simple things, like customer communication, and product knowledge, fell by the wayside. Our goal is to build customer satisfaction, in turn building our productivity and continued profitability."
Coffield says he's proud of the monthly reports his office generates.
"Each month has been better than the month before. We're constantly recruiting agents - we have about a hundred in the office now. And our numbers have consistently improved.
"It's obvious that we're moving up in the ranking.
"We have an all-around approach to our business. A leader who's a real estate attorney and agents who are extremely successful in sales. A company that works hard to educate agents and that works to retain them. A goal to teach our agents how to work in this new market, rather than trying to wait it out.
"The numbers tell the story. We're constantly improving. We're proud of our success."
To find an agent or learn more, contact the Keller Williams Tampa Central office, 1208 E. Kennedy Blvd., Suite 232, at (813) 865-0700, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.kwtampacentral.com.