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Looking to amp up your business this season? Consider taking it back to the basics, says Steve Baird, President & CEO of Baird & Warner, a member of Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® in Chicago, Ill. “Real estate is a people business,” says Baird. “The critical part is creating the right kind of environment that will foster success.” In the following interview, Baird breaks down critical real estate business elements, from marketing to budgeting and social media.

Baird_SteveSteve Baird
President & CEO
Baird & Warner, a member of Leading Real Estate Companies of the World®
Chicago, Ill.

Region served: Chicago metropolitan area
Years in real estate: 34
Number of agents: 1,600
Average listing price: $325,000
Best advice for real estate rookies: Do the fundamental things. Go to a place where you can get trained and be mentored on how to do the business.
Most beneficial background experience: It’s a family business, and I’ve been working with my father for a long time. Having that relationship is probably the most beneficial thing for me.

What is your biggest challenge in today’s market and how is your company taking it on?
Our biggest challenge is how to get the average agent to adopt new technologies. It starts with developing new products and then doing a ton of one-on-one training.

What tools and resources are most critical to staying successful?
It’s all about getting really good people and getting them to work with new products. Real estate is a people business. To me, the critical part is creating the right kind of environment that will foster success.

How do you determine your marketing budget and how does this break down between print and online?
Print, in terms of property advertising, is 10 percent of what it was 10 years ago. Most of the advertising we’re doing today is institutional. Together, both institutional and property advertising don’t reach the amount of money we spend on the Web.

Have you incorporated social media into your efforts? If so, how?
We post everything we do on social media. We have a person in our marketing department who handles Twitter, YouTube, all media, public relations and everything else.

How are you staying one step ahead of your competition?
Staying ahead of the competition is all about getting good people and trying to be better at everything we do, whether that’s technology or managing people or training. Our goal is to be the best in all of those things. We have a very strong culture, and for two years in a row, we’ve been a winning workplace in Chicago. That contributes to our ability to keep innovating.

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