Jen Ortman, Managing Broker, Prudential American Heritage, Barrington

What was your first job in the realty industry? A real estate agent. I started in Phoenix, Ariz.

Where did you grow up? Chicago, and then Barrington.

What is your favorite free-time activity? Renovating and then flipping homes.

What do you do to relax when you’re stressed? Shop.

If you weren’t an agent, what would you be? A developer or investor.

If you could have lunch with a well-known figure (living or not), who would it be and why? Donald Trump, to learn how he got started and how he gets himself out of debt and continues on.

What do you love most about the industry? When I find buyers the perfect home. It’s great to see how their faces light up.

How do you distinguish yourself from the crowd of agents? I am relentless. I keep going until I find the perfect home for my buyers. I constantly work to change it up and get my listings sold. My mind is always thinking, “how can I help the people who are actively in the market right now?” Anyone who knows me knows I will work harder than the next for all of my buyers and sellers. I get rewarded with lots of referrals and word of mouth.

What is the most difficult aspect of your job? Managing the emotions buyers and sellers have in the process. The negotiations can be such a hard thing to go through for a seller or buyer you are really working hard for. Sometimes it is hard not to get caught up in their emotions and continue to be the “voice of reason” in the situation. You have to stay emotionally disconnected, which is not always easy to do.

Where do you go to network and meet new clients? I focus on this as a business. I still feel the tried and true ways of open houses and FSBO calls work wonders, especially as others are no longer doing these things. I find social networking, such as Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter and FourSquare, is starting to bring personal referrals my way and my office’s way, as well.

What has been your greatest accomplishment? My first year in the industry, I went from being a new agent to No. 5 in a Coldwell Banker office of 250 people with 25 listings and over 25 sales.

What is the last good movie you saw or book you read? “The Go-Giver” by Bob Burg and John David Mann.

What is your favorite restaurant? Coast Sushi Bar in Bucktown.

Architecturally speaking, what is your favorite building in Chicago? The old Marshall Field’s building.

What kind of car do you drive? GMC Acadia.

Smartphone or paper? Smartphone, definitely!

What’s your favorite real estate iPhone/Blackberry app? FourSquare.

What is your favorite city after Chicago? Barcelona, Spain.

What is your advice to someone new to the industry? Work, work, work! Treat it like a business, not a hobby.

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