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When it comes to real estate, the strength of your network can be a strong contributor to your ability to innovate. As a growing brand, we at Better Homes and Gardens® Real Estate talk to many prospective companies over the course of a given year. Beyond the brand story, tools, resources and support we offer, what I can see resonates with brokers is the chance to be part of something bigger: a culturally aligned, like-minded network of people who are looking to change the future of our industry.

As the founding CEO of Better Homes and Gardens® Real Estate, I have witnessed first-hand how our network has grown and evolved in the past eight years. This was particularly evident at our recent Owners’ Retreat. BHGRE® has had a broker retreat since the inception of the brand. The first was small, with just a handful of brokers attending the event at our corporate headquarters. Our most recent event had hundreds of attendees, and was held at a world-class resort. The common thread to all of our events is providing the opportunity for our affiliated broker/owners to learn from us, and most importantly, from one another. While we endeavor to create the most useful content—listening to broker needs and feedback—we know that the discussions they have with one another are often the most beneficial. A special event for top-producing agents was added this year to extend the best practice sharing benefits throughout the network. BHGRE takes to heart what makes our network feel most fulfilled and invigorated. We focus on enabling individual success as well as supporting the whole. The collaboration opportunities that arise from events and ongoing dialogue with peers is truly one of the most valuable benefits of being part of the BHGRE brand.

At this year’s event, BHGRE wanted to punch up the conversations on growth, strategic challenges and new innovations. To do so, we re-energized the event format with roundtables to complement our customary brand speakers and outside presenters. We began our planning process with roundtable steering committees to make sure our networks’ voice would be heard. Through these committees, we found out what the hot topics are and what is of interest to our franchisees. We call it the “what keeps you up at night” list of subjects. Some of these included: Laws of Attraction: Attracting new, middle of the road and experienced agents and talent attraction leads; Brokerage Websites: How to make the most of your online presence; Streamlining Transaction Management: Operational best practices and trends; Agent Ratings: Leveraging referrals, best practices and providing guidance to affiliated agents; Creating the Right Partnerships: Identifying ancillary revenue opportunities; among more. The thought-provoking discussions that ensued were wonderful, and the overall feedback from attendees was that the roundtables were the highlight of the learning sessions. There is nothing more inspiring—or informative—than collaborating on best practices.

With the varied array of companies in real estate—size, structure and business models—there’s always someone who has already tackled what you’re about to do. By taking the time to consult your network, you can save time, money and sometimes potential missteps. My advice is to use the connections from your network and welcome their advice. Of all the things I am most proud of with Better Homes and Gardens® Real Estate, the strength of our network is one of the brand’s greatest achievements.

Sherry Chris is president & CEO of Better Homes and Gardens® Real Estate.

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