J. Rockcliff REALTORS® was recently named the No. 1 real estate company in the East Bay by the San Francisco Business Times. In the following interview. RISMedia’s Barbara Pronin chats with Jeff Sposito, the company’s president, about retaining top agents, expanding the company footprint and plans for future growth.
Executive Vice President, Manager
J. Rockcliff REALTORS®
Barbara Pronin: How would you describe your footprint in the marketplace?
Jeff Sposito: I am thrilled to say that we have been named the No. 1 real estate company in the East Bay by the San Francisco Business Times. We are headquartered in the Blackhawk area of Contra Costa County, one of the East Bay’s most prestigious communities, and we have nine offices in the upscale communities of Danville, Walnut Creek, Orinda, Lafayette, Pleasanton, Montclair/Piedmont in the Oakland Hills and Livermore. We’re seen as a quality company and we work hard to retain that standing.
BP: How is the company adapting to changes in the marketplace?
JS: We must be doing something right, because we started with five offices at the height of the market, and we’ve grown to nine offices and 600 agents, even through the recent market downturn. I think that’s because we are always evolving. Nothing is cast in stone. We’re a manageable size and we can turn around quickly to adjust to changes in the market.
BP: What’s your strategy for retaining top-performing agents?
JS: We don’t necessarily offer the best commission splits, but our agents know we knock down the hurdles so they don’t have to jump over them. I know the company is not successful unless our agents are successful, so we take care to provide the best industry tools and to nurture the kind of office culture that rewards excellence and encourages success in every way. As a result, I’m delighted to say, our agent turnover is nearly zero.
BP: How do you help agents stay at the top of their game?
JS: Most of our agents are seasoned sales professionals who know how to stay on top of the market. We provide high quality, in-house training, as well as webinars, podcasts and video on a regular basis for both new and experienced agents. We also offer ongoing training in effective use of technology and social media because that is often the best means of connecting—and staying connected—with clients.
BP: How do you stay current on technology?
JS: Our roots at our former companies were in the Silicon Valley, so we know how important it is to have cutting-edge technology. I personally am not a techie, but I surround myself with people who are, so we always know what’s current—and that’s one reason we make great use of social media. Also, we’ve done away with a lot of transaction-related paperwork—in fact, some of our offices are completely paperless. Additionally, we have the most innovative agent productivity software and mobile property technology. We use electronic keys at our offices, so our agents can work from any of our branches. Our clients can search properties from their cellphones (we even have an app available in iTunes) and get the most current and reliable real estate and market activity news just by checking our website.
BP: What are your plans for future growth?
JS: There may be some more consolidation in the industry over the next year or two, and we may consider expanding through additional acquisitions. But our main concern is always whether they are a good fit for our organization. At this moment, we are looking into the possibility of franchising our name and techniques in other markets. But our main focus is here, and we are optimistic about 2012.
For more information, visit www.Rockcliff.com.