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Pearson_GretchenIn the following interview, Gretchen Pearson, president of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Drysdale Properties in Danville, Calif., discusses the firm’s approach to acquisitions, culture, recruitment, and more.

Region Served: Northern California and Northern Nevada
Years in Real Estate: 33
Number of Offices: 37
Number of Agents: 1,031
Average Sales Price: $495,553

What is the first thing you do when you arrive at the office each morning? To start my day, I make birthday calls to all my birthday agents.
What is your personal philosophy for real estate success? Be personally responsible, surround yourself with accountability and have fun.
What is your key to staying relevant in today’s shifting industry? Read a lot, talk to a lot of smart people and be willing to make mistakes.

What sets your team apart from other brokerages?
The culture is to work as partners to focus on the experience we provide consumers. Many brokerages refer to their agents as their customers, creating B-to-B models. We believe the consumers’ expectations are increasing at a phenomenal pace, and the only way we can maintain and grow raving fans is for the agents and brokerage to work together as partners, so our focus is B-to-C. The brokerage is the backend on SOP functions of real estate so the agent can be free to provide white-glove treatment.

How do you attract top talent to your team?
I align with agents who understand that brokerages are a vital part of their success. With the dynamic changes in our industry, top agents are looking for a brokerage to help lead them. Most recently, top agents are reaching out to us because of the success they’re seeing from other experienced agents who have joined us in the marketplace.

I understand you recently completed a good-sized acquisition. Can you offer any insight into how to facilitate a smooth acquisition?
Be open, transparent and empathetic to the agents receiving the news. At our roll-out meeting, the entire team is there to answer questions and concerns openly and honestly. We then provide agents with a follow-up of training and one-on-one opportunities to help them transition all that needs to be transitioned and learned. We’re in the trenches with them until they feel they’re getting value from the relationship. This can be 30 days of intense training or 60 days—whatever is needed. We’re cognizant that most agents do better with one-on-one time.

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Zoe Eisenberg is RISMedia’s senior content editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at

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