By Barbara Pronin
Does your company employ a “people-first” philosophy? Your business might reap many benefits if it did. In the following interview, read how Rei Mesa, president and CEO of Prudential Florida Realty and Florida Real Estate Services, keeps his company successful by putting the people first.
President and CEO
Prudential Florida Realty and Florida Real Estate Services
Barbara Pronin: Your firm is the fifth largest Prudential brokerage in North America with more than 40 locations and 1,700 sales professionals serving 18 Florida counties. How much of that growth do you attribute to your Real Estate Services component?
Rei Mesa: Several years ago, we entered into a joint venture with Wells Fargo Home Mortgage and created the Florida Home Finance Group, an affiliate of Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, together with our title company, Florida Title and Guarantee. This elite family of services, along with our award-winning real estate company, is our answer to the consumer-driven demand for a full-service real estate experience. It is a critical component of our growth and strength in the marketplace and provides a platform to help us establish long-term customer loyalty.
BP: How did you come to be a believer in the people-first strategy?
RM: We understand that what happens at work impacts your home life and what happens at home impacts your work. So it was a short step to adopting the people-first philosophy—reinvesting in our people, giving them the tools, the learning opportunities and the support to master their own lives and then become “purpose partners” in our mutual objective to perform at the top of our capabilities. It’s the kind of company culture that leverages potential and puts everyone at the top of their game.
BP: What are today’s consumers most concerned with?
RM: Job security, primarily, because consumer confidence is largely tied to income and employment prospects. That’s why we’ve had to adapt to a climate of distressed properties in the region over the past few years. On the other hand, consumers also realize the tremendous opportunity that Florida real estate offers today. The affordable prices and rock-bottom interest rates are a boon for those who want to live here or are ready to invest in a piece of paradise in Florida.
BP: How do you recruit and retain your top-producing people?
RM: By making it very evident by word and deed that we care about them, that we are committed to their personal and business success, and that we will continue to provide the tools, the knowledge and the support they need to achieve it. People respond to authentic acknowledgement and appreciation, which is something we are very focused on, and we find that the kind of self-confidence and passion that attitude inspires translates not only to high performance and profitability, but also to career satisfaction and a desire to do even better.
BP: How have you managed to keep a lid on expenses and still provide the needed tools and technology to your sales force?
RM: By being judicious in how we right-size in order to remain profitable. We’ve created efficient branch office designs, like reducing square footage as we re-negotiate leases, by easing back on print media advertising in favor of increased e-commerce marketing and by leveraging the economies of scale created by our real estate family of services. At the same time, as I mentioned, we are bullish on e-commerce and technology that saves time and maximizes productivity and we continue to invest in our people.
BP: Rei, how do you expect the overall market to shape up in 2012?
RM: I see a relatively flat market compared to 2011, with opportunity for an upside depending upon job creation and some loosening of the current tight credit requirements. There will always be consumers who need to sell and others who want to buy, and I am confident that our company is well-positioned to capitalize on those opportunities.
For more information, visit www.prudentialfloridarealty.com.
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