I had a great conversation with a terrific woman by the name of Evelyn Johnston recently. Evelyn is the Premier Short Sale Realtor in Elkhart County, Indiana—a busy niche during this challenging economic climate. I met her through a connection with Dave Woodson, a.k.a. “The Mad Mortgage Machine.” Evelyn and I compared life stories and learned that we had more than a few similarities…

Evelyn is an agent with Prudential; she began her career in real estate after spending 1993-2006 travelling the country in a motor home with her husband Larry Johnston. Larry is an artist and they attended art fairs all over the country so he could exhibit and sell his work. She and Larry now work in real estate together.

Evelyn credits much of her current success to her ability to embrace and effectively utilize social media marketing in her business. In Evelyn’s company of 130+ agents, she is one of the few who use these tools. They seem to be serving her well, as she was one of 17 Indiana Realtors named to IAR’s Leadership Academy. Evelyn claims she had no prior computer or Internet knowledge and is completely self taught. It was evident from my conversation with Evelyn that she has the flexibility and the determination to win business, even in the less-than-optimal market conditions.

Evelyn had good things to say about Real Estate BarCamp Indiana. It’s a free educational seminar for Realtors that helps them learn social media. It looks like Evelyn and I both plan to attend the event coming to downtown Indianapolis on Monday, January 25, 2010. You can learn more about REBarCamp Indiana by visiting their web site or using Twitter hashtag #REBCIN. (Send me a message if you’re reading this and will be in attendance–maybe we can meet up.)

I was a Realtor with Coldwell Banker from 2003 until 2008. I left the industry due to a challenging health crisis with my sister in Detroit. Like Evelyn, I had come to the industry from another career and was also new to the geographic area where I was selling. I sold close to $4 million in my second full year–then an office record for a new agent. I relied heavily on Internet marketing strategies to help me achieve success.

Tools like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and blogs are changing the way we do business. I have spoken to several local real estate offices to advise their agents on how they can use these tools. I look forward to working with more agents this year.

If you are looking for a home in Elkhart County Indiana, I’d like to recommend Evelyn Johnston and her very comprehensive web site of the area’s subdivisions.