Donna-Norton Vickrey Is Awarded with the Bonnie Drewel Good Neighbor Award!

Donna receives the 2013 Bonnie Drewel Good Neighbor Award!

Donna receives the 2013 Bonnie Drewel Good Neighbor Award!

It’s always nice to see your hard work and efforts recognized in some way, shape, or form. You strive daily for a smile, a pat on the back, or an encouraging word, which then gives you the motivation and perseverance you need to get the job done.

A few weeks ago, our own Donna-Norton Vickrey attended the East Central Board of REALTORS Awards Luncheon on Tuesday, April 2. While there, she was recognized for all of her hard work and was awarded the Bonnie Drewel Good Neighbor Award, which is essentially the equivalent of a realtor receiving the REALTOR of the Year Award and is a very big honor for the recipient!

Donna was awarded the Bonnie Drewel Good Neighbor Award for her dedication to excellence, personal leadership, service qualities, and her great involvement in the real estate industry and in the community.

153788526If you don’t know who Donna is, she is part of the greatly successful Lisa Coose-Burkemper Team, the #1 residential agency in Lincoln County who, in 2012, averaged a home closed every four days! Donna’s office in Troy, MO is also the #1 real estate office in Lincoln County and closed over 300 transactions for over $37 million in 2012!

A resident of Troy, MO, Donna is ecstatic and honored to receive this award from the ECBR, and we are so very proud of her and happy to see her efforts recognized and rewarded!


Storm Damage and Altruism

storm damageAs I drove around the office the past 24 hours I am amazed at how quickly things can change. On the way into work I saw groups of people standing around in their pajamas drinking coffee and looking at the war zone they are faced with. Talking with one another, pointing, telling animated stories of what they have been through. Driving home last night, I see these same people working in each other’s yards, helping each other clean up the trees, the debris. It is about the younger helping the older, about neighbor helping neighbor. While I would never wish these types of disasters on anyone, it always reminds me how much good there is in a community, in an area, among families, among neighbors, among friends. It is not about being rich or poor, it is not about being black or white – it is about being part of a community that cares.

storm damaged homeAs you may have heard one of our own, Donna Tull, experienced part of this disaster. While in her basement during the heart of the storm she heard what she thought was the door blowing open and rustling up stairs. When she went up to see what was going on she noticed that it was raining in her living room; her roof had been blow off her house. When Josh and I got there that night it was just like the pictures you see in the movies, The Wizard of Oz without the cow blowing by. A clean sweep and you have a convertible house.

Donna and her family are doing fine; many of you asked if she needs anything now, and we can’t think of anything at the moment. She is staying with us, and we came home to a nice home cooked meal, compliments of family friends who wanted to do something for the Tulls. This led Josh and I to encourage Donna to play this whole thing up when people would offer food. It was the first home cooked meal either of us had in a while so we were happy for the surprise.

storm damaged signOn the wall, where I went to high school there is a big mural which states the motto of the school – “Men for Others.” If it were an all-girls school it would have said, “Women for Others,” or co-ed “People for Others.” These past few days remind me once again why I got into the real estate business. We are here to serve our community, help people provide shelter for their families, help people create wealth. While the market and sales have picked up tremendously, I think the past 48 hours is once again a reminder to us to stop, look around and show us what is truly important in life, what we are put here for and bring us back to our core values of serving others.

As of late last night we still did not have full electric at the office but it is workable. We have Internet and wireless; we can scan and copy in black and white. I will have make-shift lighting today, and the front desk calls are coming to my cell phone. Hopefully when I get there this morning we will be back in service. I will let you know when I get there.

If any of you are in need, let me know. We have a whole office and a whole company of people who are willing to serve you.


Who’s behind the curtain

Stuck for an idea the other night I asked my 8-year old daughter what I should blog about.  (By the way, I find most of life’s questions can be answered by asking my 8-year old). 

“Just blog about what you do, “she responded.

Which was just the reminder I needed.  The reason I started this blog in the first place was to pass along to you what we are doing and why we are doing it. And then I wondered if you knew who ‘we‘ were? I thought I might want to write at least one post about who we are in the marketing department.  The team is made up of myself, Jana Rice and newcomer, Nancy Logan. 


Nancy joined us just a few months ago. She’s learning the ropes right now which for her includes putting together the St. Louis Post Open House ads and Your Next Home ads, updating the Resource Center, adding agents to our systems and assisting in general Help Desk and marketing duties. She is responsible for nasty things like deadlines and numbers in excel sheets. . . and she does an exquisite job of keeping things timely and orderly.

Jana really needs no introduction.  She’s definitely a familiar name and face to you.  If you don’t know her from your office meetings or company training sessions than you probably know her as the person who always answers the phone with a smile on her face. Jana joined us back in 2004, in the same month we introduced our current website system.  She’s evolved with the system from aid, to trainer, to the authority on what the system can do and how to do it.  I even go to Jana with questions. She’s been involved every step of the way on creating eBusiness policies and web-marketing strategies. 

And I’m Sarah. I introduced myself last year, promised you blog updates and disappeared for another year into obscurity.  Anyway, I joined Prudential Select Properties in 2003 just 11 months after they opened their doors. I had worked at a St. Louis RE/MAX office while working towards my Graduate Degree in Digital Media at Lindenwood.  After graduation it seemed an easy step to combine the marketing principles I’d been learning in class to the field of real estate I was already in.  So here I am, 8.5 years later. And goodness we’ve come a long way. Back in 2003 I stepped into a department that didn’t exist and needed to be built from the ground up.   There was no Resource Center, no website system, no marketing materials or tools.  And while I’m thrilled with the progress we’ve made in putting together the tools and technology you use today I still feel like there’s so much I still want to do for you. The rest of the year these projects are near and dear to my heart: 

  • Evaluating and updating the tools and marketing materials we offer you
  • Seeking out the best ways to distribute your listings online and push more leads to you
  • Positioning Prudential Select Properties as the local choice for St. Louis real estate

As always your ideas are welcome; email me anytime at

Talk to you soon,  


P.S. Jana’s been working on a list of events in and around St. Louis this summer.  An eCard is in the system that links to this list and is available to send to your clients.  She’ll be sending out step-by-step instructions today in her Tuesday Tech Tip. I’ll be sending out a complete marketing update next week with new materials! 






Marketing Department Update (4/18/11)

Happy Monday all! As you may know, the Marketing Department was pretty swamped earlier this April as we prepared for our annual Awards Gala. (For more about the event click here). However, last week we started playing catch-up and are now rolling out a few new additions to you:

QR Code Labels
If you’ve been wanting to go sticker-crazy with QR codes you can now download these customizable labels from the Resource Center.  Stick them on the back of business cards, on flyers or pretty much anywhere. 


QR Code Signs
These 8×5 x 11 QR Code signs are now available on the Resource Center.  Download, customize and place them on Flyer Boxes at your listing.  

QR Code PREA eCards
You can now generate a QR code for each PREA eCard you create.  These can be placed on any printed materials and will take the user directly to the eCard on their mobile device.  While I haven’t yet determined the full scope and intent of this addition, a few top-of-mind thoughts include directing visitors to a J.D. Powers video eCard or the PREA newsletter eCard.  

QR Code Just Listed Cards
Out within the next week or two, the Just Listed cards through Xpressdocs will have the option to include a QR Code that can direct to the listing detail page.  I’ll shoot out a sample to you when available. 

Six Flags Client Discount
Back by popular demand is the Prudential Select Properties Six Flags discount for your clients which gives $45 off a season pass and $31 off a one-day pass. This eCard is now available in your website’s letter library.




Open House Survey
This open house survey is now available in a customizable Publisher format on the Resource Center. 


What makes a ‘not to be missed’ experience?

We returned from the Prudential Convention 2011 in San Diego the week before last.  God, never take a 6:35 a.m.. flight back from a trip. Especially if it’s the morning after Fat Tuesday.  After three days of non-stop classes, presentations, sight-seeing and team-building activities (read that as bar hopping ) I was ready to collapse. George, of course, managed to spend the afternoon in the office.

Have you been to a Prudential Convention?  This was my second.  Last year, my first, was in Austin.  (Music, Mexican food, craft beer, and hole-in-the-wall bars; I was in heaven). But if you haven’t been, the Convention is simply something you need to experience.

As you would expect it offers you classes, introduces you to new tools, updates you on trends and presents networking opportunities.  The presentations are usually over the top.  Fireworks, smoke machines, light shows and big name speakers.  This year found us partying at PetCo Park one evening (by the way stilettos and in-fields do not work) and entertained by Jay Leno another.  Although my favorite presentation had to be Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy, subjects of the motion picture The Blind Side.  They combined the perfect mix of comedy and purpose. 

However, it’s the intangibles that really make the experience.

For example, I think the convention is one of the best ways to renew your energy for the business. You get to look at what you are doing (and what you are not) with fresh eyes; it’s motivating.   I don’t think you can walk away without at least one new idea. Here’s a handful: 

·   Use your email signature to connect, especially in regards to social media. Seek out companies like WiseStamp, or connect to online profiles such as, Dooid, Google Profiles or Follr

·   Dive into social networking.  Prudential is even on board with a new online social networking site ( It rolled out on the 18th of March.  I’ll let you know more as I experiment with it. 

·   The person you just walked past is the one who can change your life.  So every once in a while stop and turn around.  

·   Ever just wished you could avoid talking to someone by leaving a message?  Try Slydial, a free online service  for going straight to voicemail.  Or if you’re like me and hate listening to voice mails, use a free voicemail to email converter from Google Voice, Phone Tag, YouMail or Jott.

·   Review your website and make a game plan.  Try Amy Chorow’s “5 Critical Elements of Your Website” for the best practices for 2011 below.


Download this file



I have to admit though, my favorite part of the convention is the opportunity to connect with your collegues. Oh the stories I could tell!  But don’t worry my convention buddies, my lips are sealed on most accounts and I’m only sharing these few pictures.  And Seeger, I’ve even resisted the urge to include the one of you on stage at the dueling piano bar. 


I want to thank George Bruns, Maryann Vitale, Deb Colburn, Angie Ignatowski, Jana Rice, Jim Von der Haar, Sarah Seeger, Ann Cordeal, Jim Dillas, Betty Urban, Pat Sobelman, and Laura Wilburn for such a wonderful time.  Hope to see you next year in Orlando. 


Sarah Grobe, Director of Marketing
Prudential Select Properties, Your local choice for real estate |





That small black and white box

When we recently offered a ‘Select Circle’ class on QR Codes, the level of interest forced us to create two sessions.  I think the newest marketing craze has fully hit St. Louis real estate.

QR codes – that small black and white box –  allows a user with a smart phone equipped with a QR application to view a webpage when the user holds the phone over the QR code.

I know a few of you have been experimenting with code providers, namely Scanlife.  The PSP Help Desk ( been attempting to help you navigate through the difficulties you’ve encountered, but it’s been hard to trouble-shoot on platforms that we don’t control.  

However, this week our website system will launch an application that automatically generates a QR code for every listing. The application allows you to print the listing’s QR code (small, medium, or large versions) for wherever you want to use it.


Additionally the Print or Email Flyers section of the listing manager provides a flyer with the QR code built onto it.




Below provides an example of how the listing appears after scanning the QR code with a smart phone.



I’m hoping this enhancement not only helps you in your marketing efforts but allows us to support you better since it it though our website provider, Reliance Network.  This is one of several enhancements that make their debut this week.  If you’re into that type of thing there is a full technical brief here:

Download this file


But if you want the 5 second version:

  • QR Code Generator (discussed above)
  • Mailing Labels, now generate mailing labels from your website contact list
  • eCard Stationary


  • Listing Management Enhancements.  For example you can now use a niffty report to find out which of your listings do not have a seller’s report set-up. 
  • Frame for Custom Websites. If you don’t have a custom website, hosted outside of us, then this doesn’t apply to you.  If you do, now you can frame the full Reliance search to integrate their mapping capabilities and contact management tools. 


This release should be out today.  If you experience bugs or issues please email the Help Desk (   



Sarah Grobe, Director of Marketing
Prudential Select Properties, Your local choice for real estate |




It’s only been a year. . . .

I’m pretty much expecting a call from Rick Colburn the second I publish this blog. He’s been teasing me that he’s tried pushing ‘refresh’ on my blog page in anticipation of my second entry. . . for a year now.


Last year, about this time, I spoke to you about a new marketing plan based off the familiar “You know you’re from St. Louis when. . . “ phrase.  In 2010, we rebranded our website and placed ads in the St. Louis Post Dispatch, Your Next Home Magazine, and Feast Magazine discussing what makes St. Louis unique.  If you missed this one in Feast, it was one of my favorites. 



(For a full view, click here


Our campaign focus has been how well we know and love our city.  To truly capture this we created a ‘You Know You’re From” Facebook Fan Page and gave away Cardinals tickets and Ted Drewes concretes to consumers who shared their favorite ‘you know you’re from StL ‘moments with us.   And today, we have over 2,280 Facebook fans.  Visit us here and if you haven’t already, please share it with your friends.


In 2011, we’d like to continue branding ourselves as the local choice for St. Louis real estate. In the next few months we’re going to be delivering to you an eCard campaign, updated PowerPoint Listing Presentation, a PSP Marketing Plan brochure and new website enhancements, including QR Code marketing integration.  So stay tuned.


Just for fun here’s a brief look at the fans of other real estate companies and St. Louis institutions.


134 RE/MAX Properties West

287 Prudential Alliance

516 Crown Candy Kitchen

637 Coldwell Banker Gundaker

1,152 Boat House Forest Park

1,608 St. Louis Homes & Lifestyle Magazine

2,280 Prudential Select Properties ‘You Know You’re From St. Louis When. . . “

3,240 Blueberry Hill

4,554 St. Louis Magazine

5,074 Soulard Farmers Market

8,464 Riverfront Times

9, 083 St. Louis Post /


Sarah Grobe, Director of Marketing
Prudential Select Properties, Your local choice for real estate |


Prudential Select Properties & Prudential Patterson Realtors Join Forces

St. Louis, MO – December 12, 2010 – Prudential Select Properties and Prudential Patterson Realtors announced today an agreement to create a St. Louis real estate leader. The combined company will be the #1 locally owned real estate company in St. Louis and operate as the largest Prudential affiliate in Missouri and one of the top Prudential affiliates in the nation. The new Prudential Select Properties will offer residential and commercial real estate services to the greater St. Louis area.  

The agreement is expected to expand the market coverage and stimulate continued growth of Prudential Select Properties. The new company will have operations in St. Louis, St. Louis County, Jefferson County, St. Charles County and Lincoln County with over 650 sales associates. The company is headquartered in Des Peres.

George Bruns, president and chief executive officer of Prudential Select Properties, will be president and CEO of the new Prudential Select Properties. Maryann Vitale, Deb Colburn, Angie Ignatowski, and Sharon Huber are owners of Prudential Select Properties.

“We are very excited about the combination of Prudential Patterson Realtors and Prudential Select Properties,” said Bruns. “Because we are locally owned and operated, we focus all of our attention on delivering the most professional real estate service to St. Louis area homeowners. St. Louis is our home and our sole priority. ”

What exactly is a ‘manly’ city?

Over the past few years I’ve watched St. Louis rank in a number of national lists as one of the ‘best’ or ‘top’ cities in some category or another.  Our hometown has achieved a lengthy number of accomplishments including being noted in 2010 as having two of the best places to live (O’Fallon and St. Peters) and having one of the nation’s best housing markets.  

However, a new survey by Mars Snackfood rates St. Louis as perhaps one of my favorite things to date.  This year, St. Louis has been named the 6th manliest city in the United States.

I know what you’re wondering. What is it exactly that makes us so manly?

The study looked at the “. . . number of professional sports teams, popularity of power tools and frequency of monster truck rallies. Cities also lose ranking points for emasculating characteristics like the abundance of home furnishing stores, high minivan sales and subscription rates to beauty magazines.”    

So, take pride, men of St. Louis! Today, not only are we considered as having one of the ‘great streets in America’ with the Delmar Loop, the 4th top music venue with the Pageant, and the 3rd best zoo in the country. . . we can now proudly add to our list that we are #1 in the most sports bars per capita.    

By all means let’s grab a brew and some chicken wings to celebrate while watching the Carindals wipe the floor with the Cubs. . . .. . . who ranked significantly below us in the survey I might add. 

Sarah Grobe, Director of Marketing
Prudential Select Properties, Your local choice for real estate |


Just take a look at St. Louis’ accomplishments. . . . 



Forbes Magazine ranked St. Louis #8 on the list of the nation’s Best Housing Markets.

Forbes Magazine ranked St. Louis #22 on the list of  Best Places for Business and Careers.

Money Magazine ranked O’Fallon and St. Peters as two of the Best Places to Live

Bicycling Magazine ranked St. Louis #38 of Top Places to Ride in the United States.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation ranked St. Louis as one in a Dozen Distinctive Destinations.

Convio ranked St. Louis #8 in the nation’s Most Generous Large Cities.



The League of American Bicyclists ranked St. Louis the 15th Bicycle Friendly Community in the United States.

Relocate America named O’Fallon one of the Top 100 Places to Live.

Forbes Magazine ranked St. Louis the 16th Best City for Singles

Art Fair Source Book named the St. Louis Art Fair in Clayton the #4 Top 25 Fine Art Events.

The Los Angeles Times named St. Louis as one of the Most Underrated Destination of the World.

Central Connecticut State University named St. Louis as #2 in America’s Most Literate Cities.

The Corporation for National & Community Service ranked St. Louis as #13 in Highest Volunteer Rate in the nation. 

Parenting Magazine named St. Louis one of the 100 Best Places to Raise Kids.



Forbes Magazine named St. Louis the 15th  Best Cities for Young Professionals

The National Association of Home Builders named St. Louis the 2nd Most Affordable City.

Best Life Magazine named St. Louis one of 100 Best Places to Raise a Family.

Money Magazine named St. Charles, St. Peters and O’Fallon as some of the 100 Best Places to live.

HomeVestors of America Inc. named St. Louis No. 8 in the nation for Real Estate Investing 

Pollstar ranked the Pageant #4 on the Top Club Venues in the World.

Pollstar ranked  The Fox Theatre ranks # 11 in the Top 100 Theater Venues in the World.

Pollstar ranks Verizon Wireless Amphitheater # 9 on the list of Top Worldwide Amphitheaters.

Money Magazine ranks Arnold #13 in Most Affordable Communities. 

Parents Magazine names the St. Louis Science Center #5 on the 10 Best Science Centers for Families list.



Forbes Magazine named St. Louis the 7th  Most Affordable U.S. Real Estate Market.

Forbes Traveler Magazine named the St. Louis Science Center one of the nations’ Top 25 Most Visited Museums

The American Planning Association named the Delmar Loop one of the 10 Great Places in America. 

Parents Magazine named the St. Louis Zoo the #3 Best Zoos for Kids.



Win Ted Drewes & Cardinals Tickets All Summer Long

You know you’re from St. Louis when. . . 
. . . you think mostaccioli is traditional wedding food. 
. . . you can pronounce the words Gravois, Chouteau & Des Peres.

Share your original ‘you know you’re from St. Louis when’ with us between April 25, 2010 – August 30, 2010 and we may just send you a prize. Someone each week will get to enjoy Ted Drewes and someone each month will be attending a Cardinals game . . . on us. 

Enter in any of the following ways: 
Fan and share at:
Follow and share at:
Register (for Property Watch) and share at: 

Weekly Drawing: Each Monday we’ll draw a winner from the entries received during the last week. Participants may have multiple entries, offering them multiple chances to win. Winner will receive a $10 gift certificate to Ted Drewes. Winners will be notified over email or contacted through Facebook/Twitter and the gifts will be sent to your mailing address. Drawing dates are May 3, May 10, May 17, May 24, May 31, June 7, June 14, June 21, June 28, July 5, July 12, July 19, July 26, August 2 , August 9, August 16, August 23 and August 30.

Monthly Prize Winners: Once a month we’ll award $125 in Cardinals Cash (to purchase the tickets and refreshments of your choice) to ther person that submits our favorite entry. Winners will be notified May 31 , June 30, July 31 and August 31.

Prudential Select Properties employees and sales associates are not eligible.