In real estate, every decision a company makes could potentially transform into its competitive differentiator. For some, traditional business methods may suffice; for others, as shared in RISMedia‚Äôs ‚ÄúThe Evolution of the Real Estate Model: What‚Äôs Working and Why‚ÄĚ panel held last week at the 2016 CEO Exchange in New York City, abandoning conventions in lieu of fresher, more innovative approaches is the key to staying ahead of the curve‚Ä¶and the competition.
Moderated by Jon Coile, president & CEO of Champion Realty, Inc., the cutting-edge panel revealed how their firms are reinterpreting real estate to start a revolution of their own. Speakers included Leonard Steinberg, President of Compass, Chris Lim, Founder & CEO of Climb Real Estate, Dean deTonnancourt, Broker/Owner of HomeSmart Professionals, John Vatistas, Founder & CEO of Launch Real Estate and Vince Leisey, President of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Ambassador Real Estate.
For many of the panelists, it all comes down to having a sturdy foundation: coaching and culture. Leisey showed that success originates from building an environment that is full of energy and enthusiasm.
‚ÄúWe believe activity breeds activity. Learning from others and collaboration is a critical part of that,‚ÄĚ said Leisey, who believes that people are drawn to energy and excitement. His company‚Äôs space occupies 55,000 square feet and houses 550 agents, brimmed with funky colors, glass walls, and coffee stations throughout that are adorned with bar tables. It‚Äôs an open, inviting atmosphere that encourages agents to have plenty of face-to-face encounters with each other.
‚ÄúThere‚Äôs less distraction if they see other productive people there. We expect them to share, collaborate and be transparent with what they do.‚ÄĚ
According to Launch Real Estate‚Äôs Vatistas, going after top agents with a built-in following gives his company an edge.
‚ÄúWe got 115 agents in the first eight months. We turned down 94 to date. It creates a bit of an allure; we‚Äôre an invitation-only company. We don‚Äôt advertise for agents,‚ÄĚ he said.
Steinberg explained that his company, Compass, is a hybrid one, combining Grade-A technology with a traditional real estate model. It‚Äôs a collaborative culture that delivers the ‚Äúbest tools and mechanisms that allow agents to be the best they can be.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúWe are the only tech-focused real estate company who has no intention of replacing agents with machines or computers. We want to enhance agents so they can be the best ambassadors and advisors to their clients,‚ÄĚ said Steinberg.
Broker/Owner Dean deTonnancourt‚Äôs company, HomeSmart Professionals, grew like wildfire, starting with 38 agents and upping that number to 127 within its first 18 months.
‚ÄúWhat we‚Äôre doing differently is providing all the benefits that the traditional brokerage has to offer, but at a lower cost to the agents, treating agents as the true entrepreneurs that they are,‚ÄĚ he said. ‚ÄúWe are not taking responsibility for their business and success‚Ä¶we‚Äôre being a part of it.‚ÄĚ
With panelists‚Äô newfangled approaches to the real estate game in action, sustainability was a key factor of discussion. Chris Lim, founder & CEO of Climb Real Estate, explained that encouraging mobility was vital to his company.
‚ÄúOne of our offices is an air stream that takes the open house to the consumer. Waiting for someone to come to us is no longer the case. When agents come to the office, we want them to get what they want and leave. We‚Äôve mastered the mobile agent,‚ÄĚ he said.
For Steinberg, it‚Äôs his company‚Äôs full integration that keeps the cogs churching.
‚ÄúEverything we do is under one umbrella, fully integrated,‚ÄĚ he said. ‚ÄúWe have 54 full-time engineers and scientists; that level of intelligence brought into the sphere of real estate blows my mind. It‚Äôs a different level of technology that is critical to today‚Äôs agents.‚ÄĚ
Leisey looks to his unique, collaborative space as the answer. With one single location for his agents and only four managers and one receptionist, Leisey claimed his operational costs are ‚Äúconsiderably less‚ÄĚ than their competition.
And then there was the question on all attendees‚Äô minds: ‚ÄúHow do you monetize?‚ÄĚ Savvy approaches to real estate are always welcomed, in theory, but panelists assured listeners that they‚Äôve found ways to execute these ideas and make them work.
‚ÄúOur model is based on volume and we provide 100 percent commissions with a small, nominal fee. Agents are keeping more money in their pockets,‚ÄĚ said deTonnancourt, whose strategy certainly helps him retain his top-producing agents. ‚ÄúWe help them be more productive than they would be anywhere else‚Ä¶the numbers are a no brainer.‚ÄĚ
Leisey also believes in 100 percent commissions, and aims to have his agents join together to take marketshare from everywhere else. ‚ÄúWe have 27 percent marketshare, and that‚Äôs 8 percent more than we had three years ago,‚ÄĚ he said. ‚ÄúOur job is to develop and recruit the agents we do have and take them to the next level.‚ÄĚ
Steinberg agrees on creating an environment that will inspire and uplift agents.
‚ÄúKeep people happy and efficient. When you empower people, they produce miracles. If you try to become a machine, that‚Äôs where you run into trouble.‚ÄĚ
Be bold. Dare to be different. Innovate. That is the key to market domination.