Innovative idea in businessman hand concept design.
In the following interview, Phillip Romero, president, and Joshua Robertson-Tucker, executive vice president of Business Development and Relocation, at CENTURY 21 Award in San Diego, Calif., discuss disruption in real estate, their reintroduced value proposition, and more.
Region Served: Southern California Years in Real Estate: Philip: 30; Joshua: 4 Number of Offices: 17 Number of Agents: 1,000 No. 296 in Sales Volume in RISMedia’s 2017 Power Broker Report
Your company is one of the highest volume performers in the CENTURY 21 franchise. What goes into reinventing an established brand once you’re already known as a leader?
Philip Romero: It’s important to understand that being established as a leader in the past won’t necessarily carry you into the future, a notion that’s been at the forefront of our reinvention. For us, the process began with a heavy dose of self-reflection in order to understand where we are in the industry, our strengths/weaknesses/deficiencies and to honestly assess the needs of our consumers. Whether you’ve been in the business many years or are just getting started, you need to examine these areas before you jump into rebranding or reinventing yourself.
How do you keep the company innovative and positioned as a leader in the marketplace, rather than resting on the past and the status quo?
PR: Resting is obviously the much easier choice…until it’s not. And resting is not an option for us. Part of our strategy for remaining innovative comes in the form of realizing a new leadership team. In fact, we’ve transformed our leadership team into a bunch of creative types—those who have an energy like Josh . With four years of experience under his belt, he brings a fresh set of eyes to the things we’ve maybe taken for granted over the years.
What will success look like once you’ve achieved your goals?
PR: Marketshare growth. Simply stated, this is telling us that we’re aligned correctly with our clients’ expectations and that they find value in the approach that we take as a company.
Joshua Robertson-Tucker: Success is culture, too, so we’re focused on creating a thriving environment of innovative thinkers. And this doesn’t just include our staff. In fact, we want agents who are looking to grow and turn real estate into a career they can grow into. This comes from energy and enthusiasm, in addition to educating each and every agent as to how to grow their business in today’s environment.
Can you provide any specific examples in terms of what you’re doing?
JRT: One area we’re currently focusing on is new licensees. In fact, we’ve created a training program called Accelerate that’s set up to infuse one’s business with adrenaline through coaching, activities and instruction by immersing our new licensees into business generation from the get-go. The program, powered by tools such as FiveStreet, Market Snapshot and Top Producer that we’re purchasing from realtor.com®, is instrumental in teaching new licensees how to engage and activate their sphere of influence while springing in contractual items along the way. It’s all about getting new licensees talking to people, creating their database and moving quickly.
What will change from the perspective of buyers and sellers as we head toward the future?
PR: The No. 1 thing buyers and sellers will notice is the responsiveness we’re bringing to the process. Consumers expect an experience with the search process that’s as efficient as buying something on Amazon. They also expect a response time that’s no longer than it takes to order a pizza.
Do the agents at your firm understand what you’re doing, and why you’re doing it?
PR: A large percentage of our agents understand exactly what we’re doing, and while others may not fully understand it, they feel it in their own business. For those agents that may not necessarily be up-to-date with the latest technology, they understand that they need to catch up.
JRT: To that end, we’re a realtor.com advantaged company, so we receive our leads back on our realtor.com listings. Our agents are able to respond to inquiries through FiveStreet before cultivating and nurturing those leads with Market Snapshot and Top Producer.
Are there any early success stories you can share?
PR: Our biggest success story to-date stems from our leadership team establishing a Salesforce.com platform for our managers and internal leadership, which allows us to clearly communicate these new initiatives. In doing so, we can track feedback related to what’s resonating with the agent population, and what might be missing the mark. This feedback loop is instrumental in providing information we can use to continue to innovate our processes/systems to make sure we’re offering the most comprehensive tools in the industry. By getting this feedback, we’re able to establish where we’re getting our marketshare from and where we still have room to grow. This has given us the ability to be very quick in our changes and our responsiveness.
JRT: We’re also fresh off our Disruption Tour where we boldly stated that instead of being a company that continues to be disrupted, we’re going to take charge and be the disruptors of the industry. In unveiling all the initiatives we’re working on, we’ve been met with nothing short of excitement, total buy-in and a willingness to be nimble and flexible.