Innovative Agent Services: A Beacon in the Storm
by Lalaena Gonzalez-Figueroa
photography by Chad Spencer
Since its inception in 2002, Innovative Agent Services has made a marked impact on the real estate communities in Sarasota and Manatee Counties and beyond. Now, more than ever, the firm’s array of services is appealing to real estate professionals who seek to maximize exposure while focusing on quality products and highly targeted marketing.
Innovative Agent Services founder Tina Darling, who holds degrees in Computer Programming and Business Administration, explains the value that her company offers to real estate agents. “We understand that agents are busy taking care of their clients,” she offers. “We’re available to provide marketing assistance that will enable them to further develop their business.” Database and website set up, broadcast e-mail, and the design and distribution of print materials including brochures and postcards have been popular services for years. A transitioning market has led to expanded agent needs, and Innovative Agent Services has diversified accordingly; the firm now offers a host of services designed for today’s real estate professional.
“Many agents aren’t in a position to commit to full-time assistants, but find that their responsibilities can be overwhelming,” notes Tina. “Our virtual assistant service enables agents to delegate work that an unlicensed individual would handle.” This includes entering listings into the MLS, distributing marketing materials, calling clients, scheduling showings and obtaining feedback on listings. “We’re finding that agents really appreciate the convenience of assigning these important but time-consuming tasks,” Tina adds. “And with six full-time employees on our staff, we’re able to handle our agents’ needs in a timely and secure manner.”
In keeping with the firm’s commitment to meeting agents’ needs, Innovative Agent Services is also offering organized broker tours, which have become highly popular with area real estate professionals. “We handle everything,” states Tina. “Agents only need to show up to their listings and we’ll take care of the rest.” Organizing the neighborhood tours is no small feat; Tina and her staff arrange for catering and advertising, pitch the tours at power marketing meetings, and handle set-up and post-tour cleanup. The benefits to agents, says Tina, are numerous.
“In many neighborhood tours, there’s a division of labor and cost,” Tina notes. “Because we’re handling all of the background work, the cost is divided equally and fairly between participating agents. And they’re free to do what they do best: talk to prospective buyers and market their listings.” An added benefit, she says, is the impressive turnout the tours have been generating. “This is great for a listing presentation,” asserts Tina. “When an agent tells a potential client that fifty to sixty REALTORS® will be walking through their house in its first week on the market, that makes a great impact.”
Tina’s targeted marketing focuses on quality over quantity and that has become the mantra at Innovative Agent Services, where the key is on repetitive advertising to a select group of prospective buyers. “We specialize in helping agents determine their target audience for every listing, then help them get unique marketing materials created that are sent to that demographic,” says Tina, who notes that there’s an advantage to sending multiple mailings to a smaller group of individuals rather than a single mass mailing to a more varied audience. “People may be happy to send out ten thousand pieces and get a response,” she observes. “But they’re elated when, after sending two thousand pieces to the right people five times, they receive ten responses!” This, she notes, is as effective in inter-collegial communication as it is in advertising to prospective buyers and investors.
A longtime affiliate of the Sarasota Board of REALTORS®, Tina is committed to giving back to her community. Following the loss of her home to a devastating fire in January 2008, she has created a Charity of the Month program as a sort of “pay it forward” for all of the support she received. Each month, a client is asked to select a charity of choice. For every property that Innovative Agent Services represents in a broker tour, a donation is made to that charity. To date, the firm has made contributions to organizations such as the Humane Society, Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, Resurrection House of Sarasota, Children First Organization and this month the United Way’s REALTORS® for Kids program will be the benefactor.
Throughout the twists and turns of a turbulent real estate market, Tina Darling’s Innovative Agent Services has managed to weather the storm, providing reliable and quality services to real estate agents and other businesses throughout Sarasota and Manatee Counties. With targeted nationwide marketing in place, the firm is poised to kick off international eBlast marketing to Canada and the United Kingdom, offering clients an additional level of marketing and advertising capabilities.
Innovative Agent Services
2945 Bee Ridge Road
Sarasota, FL 34239