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Creating a Culture Club

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An interview with Broker DeDe Edmondson, Prudential Georgia Realty, Woodstock, Georgia

By John Voket

Why is a healthy office culture essential to productivity?
In my experience, I've found that most Realtors work as individuals and are very protective of the methods they utilize to procure business. I, on the other hand, feel it important to insist on a team-oriented office environment. The agents in my office share with each other what works. By doing this we have built a team of approximately 100 agents who have managed to take the market share in our county. I know that real estate is an individual sport, but I feel if you want to be the best you have to work as a team.

What are today's agents looking for in a real estate office environment? What's important to them?

I think agents are looking for a company that really cares about them individually, providing them with quality training, accountability and the tools to excel above the rest in the business. Personally, I love all of my agents and genuinely care about their business; they feel comfortable calling on me at any time for help and know that I will be there to support them. New agents struggle in the real estate business because they aren't sure where to begin, so I try to provide them with the activities-such as the Buffini & Company 100 Days To Greatness® program-that will help them build their databases and maintain quality relationships with their sphere. These are the keys to obtaining referrals and therefore increasing their
business.

How have you built a positive office culture at your firm and how do you ensure its longevity?

Working for Prudential Georgia Realty, it's easy to maintain a positive office culture. The support of our CEO, Dan Forsman, is definitely something our agents are aware of because of the agent-centric approach he takes. The Mission Statement of our company includes important things like being grounded in faith, having integrity, having a "we-care" spirit, providing quality brokerage services, striving for balance in life, and much more. Following these guidelines really makes it easy to gain the loyalty of the agents. I don't know anyone who doesn't appreciate working in a productive environment that is also fun.

How do you get agents to buy into your office culture on a consistent basis?

I feel like the only way for a leader to get agents to buy into anything is by example and by setting the expectation. Everyone in my office has a very clear understanding of what I expect from them. We have to be able to help each other along in order to build momentum in our market. Our office is like a family that works together, plays together and helps each other in tough times, whether professional or personal. When recruiting agents, the office speaks for itself. There are always several people in the office and they are always talking, laughing and helping each other-the synergy is unbelievable. I have been in this business all of my life and I have never seen an office like this. I have every single person involved to thank for that.

How do training programs like 100 Days to Greatness help build and maintain this culture?

100 Days to Greatness is awesome. It gives the agents an opportunity to spend time together in a motivating environment. These agents tend to bond during the 100 days as they hold each other accountable for their activities. They work together personalizing their CAP (Client Appreciation Program) letters and have a great time coming up with fun Pop-By items. I enjoy this program because it helps agents become successful while encouraging them to have fun building their social skills. During 2006 we incorporated 100 Days into a post-licensing course, and also offered the post-licensing class without 100 Days, allowing agents to choose which class to attend. The agents who chose to attend the class that included 100 Days produced over 300% more as a whole than those who took the traditional post-licensing class. I have several agents in my office who have been an amazing success and attribute most of that success to 100 Days to Greatness.

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