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How to leverage culture for growth


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A monthly dinner with your top performers. The annual office barbecue and volleyball tournament. A quarterly offsite with your managers.

While some owners and brokers may see these simply as ways to get people out of the office and boost morale, the truth is that the benefits run much deeper. Setting the right top-down culture at your brokerage can ultimately drive new levels of company growth.

We sat down with Tom Gallagher and Michael Litzner, broker-owners of CENTURY 21 American Homes of Long Island, New York and some of their top managers to learn more aboutthe company’s key ingredients to building a successful office culture.

Recognize that people are the foundation of your business

“One of the fundamental threads of our company is that, at the end of the day, we don’t get paid to sell houses, we get paid to help people,” says Litzner. “When talking to a potential client, we want to find out the reasons as to why they’re doing what they’re doing. We want to truly understand their motivations. That same thing holds true for understanding our affiliated agents.”

An agent coming over from a competitor may not necessarily be looking to just make a higher commission. Oftentimes, they are looking for a place that’s the right fit. The most sought-after brokerages create a team atmosphere where members feel supported, are able to learn from one another and can be celebrated for their successes.

“Our company’s motto is ‘work hard, play hard and give back’,” says Steve Wueizel, manager of the CENTURY 21 American Homes Farmingdale office. “We make sure to host regular office get-togethers that include moments of celebration, recognition, fundraising, and most importantly, the chance to interact. That is the type of culture our company has. It builds camaraderie among the group and over the years we’ve seen people stay because they don’t want to leave behind friends or the environment we’ve created.”

Leverage camaraderie for recruitment

So how do you use this to your advantage outside of the office? In today’s world of sharing, these company events are rich with content that can help you attract new agents. Make sure you capturethe experience via photo and video and encourage your teams to share out on both their business and their personal social media platforms. This serves as a visual look at who you are as a company — a visual look at your culture that entices outsiders to want to learn more.

During the interview process, Gallagher often takes the opportunity to invite prospective agents to attend functions as a way to showcase his company’s culture. By immersing them in the experience, they get a full picture of the world they’d be joining and how they fit.

Create a culture of coaching

When thinking about the culture of your office, education may not always be the first thing that comes to mind. However, it can be one of the most important. In the ever-evolving world of real estate, there is always more to learn.

“Being at the forefront of knowing your business is key. Knowing your affiliated agents and your consumers, the ins and outs, that’s paramount to any success in this business,” says David Kasner, a manager for the company’s Long Beach office. “You have to be on top of it, willing to share your knowledge and guide people along the way.”

For the CENTURY 21 American Homes team, agent coaching begins right at the prospect interview. Oftentimes potential agents come in with preconceived notions of what it is like to be a part of a brokerage team. It is important to set expectations from the get-go. Give them an idea of what to expect – and what it takes for them to grow in their career – today, tomorrow and in the next 10 years. Once they are ready to make that commitment, agents are offered a daily plan of action which helps keep them accountable for their goals and on track to deliver excellence.”

“The consumer experience is directly correlated with the ongoing education of the agents,” says Litzner. “It’s important to recognize that almost every interaction can be treated as a teachable moment. We make sure that coaching and training are priorities set from leadership on down.”

Whether it’s instilling your company’s values and priorities through coaching or creating memorable team-building moments throughout the year, the positive culture you set forth as a leader will distill down through your affiliated agents and ultimately into the extraordinary experiences they create for their clients.

©2019 Century 21 Real Estate LLC. All Rights Reserved. CENTURY 21®, C21® and the CENTURY 21 Logo are registered service marks owned by Century 21 Real Estate LLC. Century 21 Real Estate LLC fully supports the principles of the Fair Housing Act and the Equal Opportunity Act. Each office is independently owned and operated.

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