There was a time when Felicia Hengle was working in the restaurant and entertainment industry, leaving her mark as director of Operations for the Hilarities Comedy Club in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, when a chance meeting with a commercial real estate agent changed her life forever.
Hengle was convinced to give real estate a try, and in no time at all, she was on her way to becoming a member of the Mega Million Dollar Club for sales—seven times over. In 2016, she became president of Ohio Operations for Coldwell Banker Schmidt Family of Companies (CBHR).
“I’ve been in this business 20 years and it never gets old,” she says. “We are ‘dream makers.’ It is a gratifying business on many levels. Helping people achieve the dream of homeownership is one side, but the other is helping agents by tying them to a business plan designed to get them to live their dreams.”
Hengle’s firm believes in organic growth by adding agents who are a “cultural fit”—those who are collaborative, professional, prideful and have a servant heart.
“We believe growth is at the heart of everything we do, including recruiting and retention, and helping agents grow their businesses,” Hengle says. “Whether as a solo agent, or when it’s time to hire an administrator or you’re ready to launch a team, we have the platform to help you succeed.”
The firm is focused on increasing agent count and mergers and acquisitions, primarily within its marketplace.
“We are under new ownership with the Schmidt Family of Companies and that is a great success story to share,” Hengle says. “We brought on 100 new agents in 2016 and already have brought in 73 year-to-date as of July. Agents want to be part of a winning team and we are offering that platform with all of the state-of-the-art innovation that the Coldwell Banker brand has to offer.”
The outlook in 2017 has been strong. The Northeast Ohio region of Coldwell Banker is up 23 percent and is outpacing the MLS.
“We are seeing multiple offers, below-average market time, escalation clauses and a continued shortage in inventory,” Hengle says. “Aggressive agents need to be at the top of their game to win in this market.”
The biggest opportunity for success right now, she believes, is in establishing builder programs and target-marketing to high-demand neighborhood sellers.
“In addition, I would say it is a time more than ever to get back to the basics: calling your sphere, working the FSBOs and expireds, and establishing yourself as the local economist of choice, truly educating the consumers on the market and how to position themselves in this market,” Hengle says. “We educate consumers on why they need an experienced agent to guide them through this process, whether they are a buyer looking to get the best value or a seller looking to optimize their ROI on their home sale.”
One way the firm stands out is by being paperless, a huge advantage when time is definitely of the essence.
“Using digital signature technology can make the difference between sealing the deal and losing the deal,” Hengle says. “In addition, we are positioning our agents in a way to showcase the Coldwell Banker proprietary technology every place we can—ZAP, CBx, CBExchange, Facebook target marketing and digital presentations—to make certain that we have the competitive advantage.”
Vitals: Coldwell Banker Schmidt Family of Companies
Years in Business: 90
Size: 66 offices, 1,300 agents
Regions Served: Michigan, Ohio, Florida
2016 Sales Volume: $2.8 billion
2016 Transactions: 15,000
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