MP: What led to your decision to focus on agent support?
AG: In 2005, we were in a “high growth” mindset. At the time, the top two things agents were asking for were more commission and more offices, so within three years, we added nine full-service offices, all run by separate managers and employees. I had nine different office groups and philosophies. There was very little synergy for the company as a whole.
As the sole broker/owner, my days were spent managing office space, equipment and employees. I spent my days calling copier and computer repair people, plumbers, electricians and building managers.
I was spending no time helping my agents directly. I hated it!
One day in 2009, I was looking at my company roster of agents and noticed that there were agents I had never met or talked to, yet they were working in my company. There were other agents on the roster that I had not talked to personally in a few years. I did not like my business anymore. I had lost focus on what I loved to do as a broker. So later that year, I decided it was time to refocus on service because my passion is to personally help my agents. I want to be an integral and permanent part of their success.
MP: How did you restructure the company to ensure this level of service to your agents?
AG: First, I made sure we had the systems and technology in place to service our agents anywhere at any time. My goal was a complete virtual solution for convenience with direct live support, seven days a week and almost 24 hours a day. When everything was in place, I decided not to renew eight office leases. I created one main headquarters where I was stationed along with all of our office support in order to focus on one common goal: our agents.
My goal was to be at the head of all our agent support. I personally bring on and train every new agent. I will never have a manager do that. I have two managers and two support people that handle much of the day-to-day support. My operations manager, Brenda Mandel, manages all income, expenses, commissions and compliance of agents and contracts. Our system is so efficient and organized that we close an average of five homes every day and can get agents their commission checks the same day.
Our manager of agent support is Ashley Kuenzig. Ashley handles all incoming calls from agents and makes sure they get the support they need. The three of us have two other support assistants who help with day-to-day duties and follow-up.
I am very happy to say that I have finally created the real estate company I have always wanted. Many companies talk about their great support. To me, great support is personal service that is available seven days a week, 24 hours a day online, almost 24 hours a day for calls, emails, video chats or text messages…and from anywhere in the world.
MP: What most differentiates CENTURY 21 HomeStar in the marketplace?
AG: Our online and mobile agent platform, www.21online.com, which offers amazing features, tools and technology for our agents. Our online university has won several awards. Our database systems, Lead Router system and our online solutions help agents stay connected and drive leads to them. Our complete online marketing for our listings gives our agents an undisputed edge over the competition. Our listings are enhanced on more websites, have their own unique property websites, their own videos posted to YouTube, and are enhanced on Google search results. We can create complete reports of all Web traffic on all of our listings.
Plus, our listings are marketed online all over the world through century21global.com. Century 21 Global is advertised in more than 72 countries. This makes it easier for international buyers to purchase property in our area, in their language and their measure of unit and currency.
We also have the CENTURY 21 Social Xchange, which combines Google search and social media marketing tools, plus a powerful video creation app to empower CENTURY 21® agents to build their sphere of influence, manage social media communications and enhance their presence on the world’s largest search engines, Google and YouTube.