This month, we profile Garry Adams, current president of the Georgia Pest Control Association. We were intrigued by his title at Atlanta-based Northwest Exterminating: director of Realtor Relations and Market Development. For the record, when Adams isn’t answering pest-related questions, he enjoys hanging out with family and rebuilding classic cars.
1. What are the responsibilities of the director of Realtor relations and market development at a pest control firm?
The Northwest Realtor Relations team is all about relationship building. We build relationships with real estate brokers, attorneys, agents and more with our continuing education (CE) classes, termite letters and sponsorships. The hope is that the people who come to Northwest’s School for Continuing Education will see our team as a resource in our field, and will choose our team for any pest, termite or wildlife questions or recommendations.
Not every relationship is going to bring in a sale, but we hope our classes and resources help our connections with their questions, concerns and recommendations.
2. When and how did this position come about?
After working in pest control since 1994, I joined the sales team at Northwest in 2001. I started helping with the one CE class we had at the time, and I really enjoyed it.
After a few years, I made my official transition to director of Realtor relations, and later, director of Realtor relations and market development. I wanted to continue to grow the program, the CE classes, and the department.
It’s been an incredible opportunity that has taught me something new every year. I don’t think I could have told you this is what I wanted to do when I grew up, but I’m glad it is what I get to do every day.
3. Can you give an example of when having this role has given Northwest a competitive advantage?
I probably get a few phone calls a week to help on a letter discrepancy; that is part of what we’re here for. We’re a liaison for Northwest sales and the real estate market, and we’re here to help however we can to resolve an issue. There is a more specific story that comes to mind with that question, though:
A few years ago, we held a CE class that only four people were able to attend. Normally, we prefer at least 10 attendees, but because of bad weather, we decided to teach the class anyway. Well, from that three-hour class and a short meet-and-greet afterward, I got a call the next day from a facilities manager for a large business in Atlanta. He told me he was the husband of one of the women who attended the class, and that she highly recommended Northwest for a pest issue his company was having. The trust we were able to build in that class resulted in a sale that benefited Northwest — and hopefully benefited that company.
4. Has the job evolved from when you were first appointed to today?
The core has not changed; there still is a focus on educating, being an industry resource, and building quality relationships.
What has changed within my job, though, is having a team. When I first started, it was just me. But now we have a Realtor Relations team of educators who can be trusted in our industry.
The job also has evolved with our connection to the real estate industry. Northwest has been asked to join several different real estate boards over the years. The boards are a great place to build better relationships and see where we can help our communities.
5. What advice do you have for pest control firms that want to appoint a director of Realtor relations and market development?
Remember that relationships take time and effort. You need to be committed to working the market and focused on building relationships. Yes, it may be profitable down the road, but that should not be your main goal. Instead, focus on the people, on how you can help, and on what is unique about you. The rest will fall into place if your intentions are to be a valued resource.