Soda sells Sarasota: Literally and figuratively

May 14, 2008

Some people might think that being number two isn’t so bad when it means that you closed $24 million in real estate sales in one year, and received your company’s highest award for ranking in the top one-percent of 65,000 agents nationwide.

Not Jim Soda of Prudential Palms Realty.

As the old slogan says…when you’re number two you try harder.

Already boasting $9 million in sales through April 2008, almost double the year-ago period, Soda is making moves to help position the Jim Soda Group when the tallies are taken at the end of 2008.

He’s doing it just the way his tagline suggests – “Soda sells Sarasota.”

When he’s not selling it literally, showing property and closing deals, he’s selling it figuratively, participating in national and international real estate conferences, passing out literature and talking up the Sarasota-Bradenton area to anyone who will listen.

“The greater Sarasota area doesn’t sell itself enough,” he said. “We are still that hidden cultural gem. People are more are familiar with Boca, West Palm and the Jupiter area – we don’t get the acclaim that our area deserves.”

Lately, a lot of his listeners have been foreign buyers, people looking to buy investment properties or second homes, and international brokers, people looking to join Soda’s extensive referral network.

Earlier this year he participated in a real estate symposium in Paris that was attended by 8,000 – 10,000 people. The Sarasota Association of Realtors and the Miami Board of Realtors were the only two U.S. entities represented at the conference.

Soda is constantly trying to expand his referral network and garner leads that enable him to grow sales even in tough economic times.

He’s also expanded his sales team, assigning each of the three new members an administrative specialization to ensure that his “back shop” is able to provide quick response, and the type of customer service that helps keep him at the top of his game.

Members of the team also focus on becoming experts on the geographic areas they concentrate on – Lakewood Ranch; Lido, Longboat and Casey Keys; west Bradenton and along the Manatee River, downtown Sarasota and Sarasota west of the Trail.

“It takes the best people to make it all work.”

He’s beefed up his Web site, adding state-of-the art features for search engine optimization, and to make sure that the site is extra user-friendly.

He’s also very strategic in dealing with clients.

“We are boldly honest with customers and potential clients. We’d do the seller and ourselves an injustice if we told them what they wanted to hear instead of the truth.

He focuses on making each transaction “A win-win for everybody.”

Soda sees hard work, excellent customer service, expert knowledge of the market, networking and continuous expansion of his network, not auctions, as the key to continued sales growth in the current real estate market.

The Sarasota-Bradenton market is still the best place in Florida to live. Period.

“And now truly is the time to buy, we’ll never see prices this low again. There are wonderful opportunities in our market. Sellers are at the bottom of their markdowns and there is a lot of inventory on the market. That’s a positive message that we’re not hearing – now is the time to buy. If we could just get the media on board with that message,” he added.

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