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Every real estate company has their own way of doing things, from marketing to networking and everything in between. Read on as H. David Benton, the owner of four California Market Centers and Keller Williams Realty, dishes on how he runs a successful meeting, stays profitable in today’s market and effectively trains his agents.

H. David Benton
Owner, Four California Market Centers
Owner, Keller Williams Realty
Ann Arbor, Michigan

Years in business: 17
Number of offices: 4 in California, 1 in Michigan
Number of agents: 450+ in California/165 in Michigan
Region served: Ann Arbor, Michigan and Riverside, Temecula, Norco and Downey, California

Best tip for getting the right listing price:
This is an unforgiving market; agents need to get it right the first time, with true comparables and realistic timelines.

Best tip for running a successful meeting:
Our leadership provides hard data and information relevant to selling in today’s market. And we always make sure to give our agents the tools and information they need to go out and win business. A sales meeting is a special opportunity to be in front of your agents, so don’t waste it by selling them on stuff they don’t need.

Key to staying profitable:
We follow the Keller Williams business model of leading with revenue. We consistently review our numbers so that we are on target for the end of the month. We simply don’t spend what we don’t have, and we don’t borrow money.

Best recruiting technique:
Making our Market Centers an environment where agents can grow and learn and opening doors for agents to get to their next best level, is our best recruiting tool. Agents are very social people and when they are happy and growing and fulfilled they tell the world about it. It has to be real or it is not sustainable.

What strategies are most effective for you in terms of training?
We keep our agents up-to-date on what’s happening in their market and offer training on industry hot topics, including growing their business, stepping up production, best practices in working with buyers and sellers, as well as how to list or buy short sales and REOs. Our agents also have access to highly focused coaching through the BOLD program, a spaced learning program that includes MAPS Coaching.

What are your best strategies when it comes to dealing with a slower market?
When I came to Southern California in 2004, it seemed that all it took to sell a house was a sign in the front yard. However, in today’s economy, every closing counts. I can’t stress enough the need to constantly review closing, gross commission income in addition to who is doing the business and keeping track of all expenses. Since we profit share every month, it keeps agents focused on staying profitable. In our current environment agents need to do more units to maintain their income and our focus is on supporting them in managing that business.

What are two fundamentals that are essential to your company’s continued success?
(1) We are fortunate at Keller Williams Realty to have a proven business model to follow. If you follow the model, success will be yours. (2) Hire great talent and pay them extremely well. You won’t be successful without top-notch talent. We’re not looking for someone who just answers broker questions, our executive team leaders have to lead and motivate, too. Be sure to reward them in opportunity as well as salary. Make sure you, as the owner, understand what each of your talented hires really wants, then go get it for them.

How do you keep your company top of mind in the eyes of prospective clients, existing clients and the communities you serve?
One thing that helps us stand out is Red Day—a day every May when Keller Williams Market Centers takes the day off and volunteers in their community. We’ve done food drives, brought entertainment and refreshments to seniors, and donated sports equipment to a local school district to help them expand and sustain their sports programs. We also work with agents who have their own individual interests such as contributing to small church groups.

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