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By Paige Tepping

RISMEDIA, Sept. 20, 2008-Even if you have the most innovative tools on the market, if you don’t know your customer, you won’t get very far in your business. For Fran Broude, president & COO of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, one of her favorite things about real estate is watching people work up to their potential, all the more reason she makes a must to first define who their customer is.

Fran Broude
President & COO
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
Chicago, Illinois

Region served: Chicagoland, Northwest Indiana, Southeast Wisconsin and Southwest Michigan
Years in real estate: 20
Number of offices: 62
Number of agents: 4,100
Average sales price: $384,000
Average time on market: 150 days
What is your best tip for time management: Prioritize. Determine which things can only be handled by you and then surround yourself with talented people who are empowered to handle the rest.
One tech tool you can’t live without: My BlackBerry.
Most rewarding aspect of working in the real estate industry: One of the most rewarding things about working in the real estate industry is being able to help and watch talented people realize their potential and achieve different levels of success.

With overseeing so many agents, how do you keep them motivated?

Constant communication from both me and the entire leadership team is one of the key components. Information is empowering and we focus on sharing market and industry trends, company successes, achievements and initiatives with the entire company. All of these things make up our commitment to success, so sharing them with the agents keeps everyone focused on our goals.

What strategies have you found to be most effective for your company in terms of recruiting?

In a business that is largely based on relationships, it is important that we never forget that the agent is at the very core of the transaction. We support this philosophy by providing the best tools and education to all of our agents in order to ensure their success.

How do you effectively communicate with your customers?

In order to effectively communicate with our customers, we must first define who our customer is. The 4,100 sales agents that make up Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage are my customers, as well as all the buyers and sellers they work with.

What are two fundamentals that you feel are essential to your company’s continued success?

Our company’s success depends upon our direct and timely response to changes and opportunities that arise in the marketplace, as well as our unmitigated support of the agents’ efforts. In addition, it is crucial to promote a company culture that provides career growth and success within a respectful environment. These are the most important aspects of a complex management challenge that is continually changing.