Rookie Spotlight Teamwork and technology: A winning combination
Jason Coley began his career at Ray's Real Estate Services in Ft. Pierce in January 2006, but he already sounds like an old hand. "I don't pick and choose the deal, or the client, I treat them all the same. People always complain that Realtors never call back – I do."
Deborah D. Ray, co-owner of Ray's, calls her star agents Team Coley. "Jason has a great freshness and exuberance. Renee started with us about two years ago, and she talked Jason into joining her. Now he is the selling person in the team, and Renee handles the paperwork." Jason is a former FedEx driver and part-time investor who needed a trustworthy agent. Convincing Renee to become a Realtor, he saw prices skyrocket and saw an opportunity to leave a job he hated.
And then the market fell.
"Jason has never known a good market," Ray said. "He never had time to pick up any bad habits. We could stress going back to basics." Her independent agency "handles everything, land, investments, residential", and she welcomed Jason's resolve. "He's like a little bulldog."
"The market is off, and there's an over-abundance of homes," Jason said. "You can't show people just two houses and expect a sale; they need an opportunity to make the best decision."
Opportunity also comes from new technology. "The agency has a strong Internet presence," Jason said. Ron Ray, Deborah's husband and partner, acts as full-time Webmaster for the agency's Web site, floridawaterfront.com. "Ron has a little cubbyhole in the office, and he sits there and watches every search and information request. He's always getting the names and sending them out to everyone." Jason and Renee have their own Web site, jasonandreneecoleyhomes.com, that also offers property searches. Working Internet leads has become a primary source of business for the Coleys. "Most of our business, all our clients from the Northeast, come from the Web site," Jason says. "We have a client in the UK that came from an Internet lead, we've handled all the contracts through email."
According to Renee, Jason is one of the few people in the company who use a Blackberry for instant email and contact, and he habitually responds to every lead within two hours. Quick response is part of Jason's litany of The Basics.
"Follow up. Do what the customer asks you to do. Respect them. Give the buyer and seller someone they can trust. I don't look for just really big deals … they all add up at the end of the year." The end of the particularly difficult year of 2006 saw Team Coley as Ray's top agent, and in his first year in the business Jason was responsible for sales approaching $10 million.
Team Coley's division of labor seems to be a successful formula. "I'm terrible," Jason admits. "She's organized, I'm not. People always ask me if it's hard working with your wife, but I'm never in the office, I'm not always with her. It's not bad at all."