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Net gain: it’s all about connections

Rookie Spotlight on Sharon Nobles
"The clientele I attract – young working singles and couples – they expect someone to know about the technology. Palm Pilots, GPS, using a cell phone to open lock boxes -- they're blown away when I do that. I like knowing what the technology can do for my career." All her technological wonders connect to her Web site, www.lifeonbayshore.com, filled with updates on construction in the downtown Tampa area, home and condo listings, and an updated calendar of events. "I wanted this to be a community online newsletter, a place where people will want to come back." She plugs email addresses gathered from information forms on the Web site into MySpace to see who potential customers are. "Read my blog!" she will message, making a communal connection.

Kathleen Wingate, president of Wingate & Associates in Tampa, appreciates Nobles' unusual approach. "It's a changing business," she said. "Sharon is very creative when it comes to marketing. She's on the fast track to becoming my office's top producer."

Nobles also puts her mark on the ground itself. "Any big event, I'm out there stenciling my Web address on Bayshore Drive (according to Guinness, the world’s longest unbroken stretch of sidewalk), every 50 feet for six miles. It's crazy kooky stuff – and it takes all day – but it works. Right after I'm done, there's a big jump in hits on the site."

Nobles comes from a family of real estate women. "My mother worked in real estate for a while," she said, while her grandmother, Olga Najman, was known as "The Condo Queen" in North Miami Beach. Sharon graduated from the University of Central Florida with an eye on the corporate ladder. "Then I realized, I don't have the corner office, I'm in a cubicle. My Mom told me I should try real estate.

"I said, you're crazy!" Nobles took a breath. "But Momma knows best. I got the training, and I never looked back. I love it, I love the influence I make on people's lives."

Nobles went full-time in mid-2005 for Wingate & Associates. "Just in time to watch the decline," she said. "Sales are down for me since last year. But when the wave comes back up, I'll be standing right there where I want to be. This business is everything I never knew I wanted."

Recently, a woman walked up to Nobles while she was waiting in line at a restaurant. "I know you," she screamed. "I'm one of your Friends on MySpace!" And another connection was made.
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