Real estate sales professionals want to work for a company that has people, policies, and programs that matter for them. That’s why my mother, Jan Hauck, who ran this company for 13 years until 2018 when I purchased her stake in the company, taught me. Plus, she stressed that to enhance agent per-person productivity (PPP), recruitment and retention, a brokerage should always be innovative, and never underestimate the magnitude of empathy, camaraderie and a building they can call home.
My parents’ mindset remains a big differentiator for us at CENTURY 21 Signature Realty, and I would argue serves as a lesson many brokerages should consider, especially at a time when the rest of the real estate world downplays the importance of having an office for agents to succeed and grow their business under. In fact, it’s integral to our mergers and acquisitions (M&As) growth strategy.
Since 2005, we’ve completed seven M&As, the last one taking place in 2018 when we expanded into the Genesee County market. With each acquisition we complete, we ensure not only the financial viability of the deal but also that the office can integrate into our growth-oriented culture and matter to our new family of agents.
In real terms, we leverage tech to communicate and act as one team, albeit in separate locations. This provides a greater value to every agent and every staff member of that existing company than what they already have.
Coaching and training
There’s more to our growth than having working offices and a supportive leadership team. Much of our success comes from coaching and training. Every month, we offer our agents a tech lab and a sales meeting where we focus on learning through demonstrations and involve top producers who use the knowledge and technology to drive sales. That way, they see others like them using it and being successful.
At the beginning of the year, the leadership team also chooses 10% of our agents who show, day-in and day-out the potential for having the largest growth opportunity, i.e., the ones who are in the office, giving 121%, working full-time, and are willing to be held accountable. This eight-to-10-week coaching is an investment, but it returns a significant ROI as agents learn from each other and share experiences and grow their businesses. The intention is to do it with every single agent who shows an interest in participation.
Lastly, one of the biggest ways that we can provide value is by having our eight different offices work together. It’s our admin and management team of about 20 paid professionals who are behind the scenes providing support and processing deals so agents can spend the bulk of their time building relationships and taking care of client needs. It’s very much like an administrative assistant for the agents. We also employ a full-time graphic designer to help with their marketing needs and social media content. This also helps to ensure that we go to market with a consistent brand standard.
We see all of this as a re-investment; money others don’t spend but it’s in the best interests of our agents and our organization’s continued growth. And the numbers bear that out.
Over a three-year span, through 2021, agent income is up 29.7%, company adjusted gross commissions increased 41%, and volume rose 42%. From December 1, 2020 to November 30, 2021, our team has grown 8.23% to 263 agents. Of those, total sides rose from 3,115 to 3,546 or a 13.84% increase.
Like any business wanting to stay relevant with its clients and customers, each office is also highly active in the communities that they serve. It’s a differentiator for us because it shows we care about our neighbors. We spend a great deal of time and resources to be involved in the community sponsoring numerous charitable organizations and events that take place throughout the town.
Our agents rally behind all of them. And, if any of our agents have a passion for, and commit their own money to a charity or philanthropic organization, we match those dollars. Of course, putting a focus on building relationships with the people and the community helps with retention, our recruitment efforts and closing more deals.
Creating positive experiences
It’s all about creating positive experiences. That’s how this company was founded and will remain as a thriving real estate brokerage. Real estate is a relationship-based business, not a transactional one, and our past, present, and future will thrive on that premise. By establishing relationships with consumers, our collective spheres of influence, and the community, business will follow. If we don’t build those relationships, then we’re never going to achieve the success that our agents want and deserve, and that we need to reach our highest ambitions.
That’s our process. We want to continue to take everything to the next level.
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