In 2007, Brandon Brittingham was a solo agent. Today, he is the CEO and team leader at The Maryland and Delaware Group of Long & Foster Real Estate in Salisbury, Maryland – a founding member of Leading Real Estate Companies of the World.
Brittingham heads up the No. 1 medium-sized real estate team by sales volume and No. 2 by transaction sides in The RealTrends + Tom Ferry The Thousand national rankings.
Part of Brittingham’s brand is to challenge people to pick his brain. RealTrends recently picked Brittingham’s brain on team building, coaching, management training and the keys to success.
RealTrends: What are some of the top lessons that you’ve learned in team building?
Brittingham: I spent a lot of time going through leadership training, reading, books, and podcasts every chance I could get to learn how to become a better leader. If you can’t lead people, eventually it’s just not going to work out. In my business, when I struggled versus when I made the pivot, we really started to grow. A lot of it had to do with learning to be a good leader. Then I was able to teach other people how to be a good leader. That’s how we were able to consistently grow. It’s one of the things that our industry doesn’t talk enough about or focus on. You have to learn how to lead people to grow a team to the level we have.
RealTrends: Leadership has changed over the past few years due to the Great Resignation and other factors. How has that informed your leadership?
Brittingham: Being a good leader means you have to teach people how to be accountable, but you also have to have a deep emotional connection with them. There’s two ways to lead people: from fear or from love. At one time in my life, I led from fear. Then it changed when I started having deep personal connections with people who worked for me. They knew I cared about them and their outcomes. Then you can hold them accountable without them feeling like they’re being attacked. The highest form of love is accountability. I was able to build that into our culture so that now with my agents and staff, when everybody holds everyone else accountable, it’s out of love for all of us being part of the same mission to grow together. In our industry, the biggest mistake is to just KPI everybody and tell people ‘you need to do this or you’re going to be in trouble for it’. That doesn’t work. To get people into true productivity, you have to have a culture of accountability. You also have to do it through love and not fear. That’s one of the things I learned on how to unlock peak productivity in people.
RealTrends: Tell us about the role your coaching program and management training plays in your business success.
Brittingham: Another reason why we are successful is we figured out all the pain points in the transaction for the customer and we control them in-house. Property management was one of those pain points, so we built a really big property management business. I published a book about it – ‘Converting Units to Dollars: Elite Ops Property Management’ (Amazon). Personal coaching with Jon Cheplak helped me tremendously. I wanted to give back to people to help them get there fast. We started our own coaching community about a year ago to help other people in our industry get the training from people who are in the trenches and building companies and building teams.
RealTrends: What else has been key to your success?
Brittingham: Figure out your leadership and the rest will figure itself out. It’s really important to get into rooms with people who are smarter than you. You’ve got to hire coaches and go to Masterminds with people who are ahead of you because that gives you the ability to compress time. You will always thrive in the business if you can figure out how to solve all of the customer’s problems. We’re involved in mortgage title insurance, property management, building houses – anything that touches a home sale, we have a business around it. That wasn’t focused on profitability – the focus is on if I can solve your problems as a consumer, then all of our businesses grow.
The bottom line for Brittingham: leading from love engenders positive feelings in team members who are in turn more willing to hold themselves accountable. Setting up an operation that solves all of the customer’s pain points reaps a return on investment in always being busy and in demand.