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What works: A song, a dance and a plan/Users/adamp/Desktop/fernandezpic_web

Experience, maturity, business acumen; we all imagine these things come with age. Maybe we should think again.

"I don't look at age when I hire someone," says Jo-Ann Forster, "and Jorge Fernandez is a good indication of that."

Forster, Broker Associate at Caldwell-Banker's Coral Gables San Remo office, met the young Mr. Fernandez when she was looking for a Web designer. "There wasn't anyone doing great design with effectiveness – effectiveness is the most important, otherwise it's just a picture of a pretty woman sitting in an office – and somebody told me about Jorge. He had this great energy and insight into the real estate business."

From his childhood in Miami, Jorge has gone to director of operations for "The Forster Team,” where he manages day-to-day operations for nine brokers and administrative people. In between, he gained a degree in marketing from Florida International University, and began an Internet marketing firm way back in 1998, when most people were still getting acquainted with email. And according to him, many in real estate are still floundering.

"A lot more are adjusting to using the Web," said Fernandez, "but not a lot are doing it the right way. Self-branding," he ticks off, "quick response to customer needs, and communication."

After selling his design business, Fernandez got his license in 2006 and joined Coldwell Banker, where Forster hired him in sales. "Now, he oversees the technology, manages my team; he's me out in the field, since I can’t be everywhere at once, from presentation to closing." 

Jorge is keen to point out the hurdle of impersonal contacts, and the difference between the walk-in and the Internet client. "A guy walks into an open house, he's already made up his mind about things, he's making contact. The Internet buyer has a different incubation period, he has lots of options, there's 200 other realtors with Web sites."

Using the term “Content Is King,” a favored mantra of Web journalists, Fernandez points to key requirements of an effective Web site. “Making the information worthwhile is important … but the next hurdle is follow-through."

His concept of "self-branding" is aimed at the plethora of buyer options. "Make yourself different from everyone else. We're within Coldwell Banker, but stand apart. You have to put your best foot forward."

It must be a pretty good foot: Jorge's design for Jo-Ann's site, uniquehomesofmiami.com, has won many awards, including "#1 Website" from Florida Realtor® Magazine, and according to Forster, accounts for more than 30 percent of her sales.

Forster takes every opportunity to rave about her young associate. "I don't really know how old he is – 27, 28 – but he has this great aesthetic, he is so wise, so mature. I mean, how old could he have been when I met him, eighteen?

"But he had a song and a dance and a plan."

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