Team building strategy drives California brokerage’s growth

The 22-office brokerage has 10 teams that include 200 of the brokerage's 700 agents

By making a powerful commitment to agent teams, CENTURY 21 Real Estate Alliance has attracted top producers and grown its footprint in California’s post-pandemic market. “We offer lots of incentives to our team leaders to bring in new agents and provide them with personalized, hands-on support,” says Romeo Aurelio, general manager and broker associate with the San Francisco-based company.

“This strategy helps us grow as a company and gives them additional revenue streams. We don’t see any downside to it.”

The company’s focus on team building began about a decade ago when broker-owner Orhan Tolu brought in top producer Bailey Cheung and encouraged him to build a team that has ranked as high as No. 2 in the CENTURY 21 system. Then, Tolu and Aurelio began identifying other potential leaders and looking at the support services they could provide. Today, the 22-office brokerage has about 10 teams that include about 200 of the company’s 700 agents.

“It’s a great recruiting tool for us to bring in top-tier agents and say, ‘Hey, not only will you have the ability to work for a great brand and take your business to the next level. But if you want, you can, down the line, choose to start a team, build a team, grow a team, and have that additional incentive as well,’” says Aurelio.

Building a team-first brokerage

The first step in the process is finding agents with the skills and desire to build their teams, either now or in the future, according to Aurelio. “We are very careful in determining who will be a good fit for our organization,” he says, noting that non-compete clauses are included in the company’s agreements. Team leaders do receive financial incentives for recruiting new people, as well as for their closed transactions.

Once a new professional is on board, the management team listens closely to see what kinds of support agent leaders might need. “We let them direct us,” says Aurelio. “We don’t have a cookie-cutter setup for the teams. Instead, we leave that up to the team leaders to determine how they want to set it up and we’ll work around that.”

Aurelio emphasizes the importance of one-on-one training and regular conversations with team leaders to keep them moving forward toward their goals. “Our broker, myself and all our managers are extremely hands-on, working with our agents as well as our team leaders on a daily basis,” he says. “It all boils down to building and fostering those professional relationships.”

For CENTURY 21 Real Estate Alliance, the team-building strategy is a measure of growth, as team leaders become ambassadors for the brokerage bringing in productive new agents.  It’s also a differentiator in the company’s markets. “There are still some brokers who don’t embrace the team concept, so actively building these teams in-house is a smart approach. But you need to be actively involved in the day-to-day operations or could get away from you really quickly. It’s definitely not for everybody.”