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JB: What are successful REALTORS® and brokers doing to ensure success?

SB: The broker who has built his/her reputation on the basis of service, consistency and fairness is a broker who can continue to grow his/her client base. Brokers who are doing the right thing for both their agents and their firm’s clients, helping them become successful and profitable through intelligent business choices, will receive the financial benefit as well in the end. Service and fair-mindedness must be the center point of what we build our businesses on.

JB: How should brokers approach expansion—whether through growing their teams or acquiring other firms—in 2014? Is it time to start growing again?

SB: Yes, absolutely. If you ever become lax and think you’re big enough or good enough, someone else will come along who is willing to challenge your place in the market. If you’re in business, you have to continue to grow. Some opportunities are in acquisitions, but when there’s no one worthy in the market or akin to your company’s culture, you must build from your own base and open a new office. But either way, you must do it.

JB: How can brokers best recruit and retain both new and veteran talent?

SB: Today, new agents are coming into the business better prepared to learn technology. This itself is a challenge for the broker to be at the front edge of providing the right technology. Brokers need to invest in new technology to attract and retain agents. Secondly, brokers need to be held accountable for providing educational opportunities to ever improve the professionalism of their agents. Third, buying and selling real estate is a human experience—so is operating a company. The broker must be there to listen, guide and protect his/her agents.