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Can you believe September is here?! It seems like Memorial Day was just yesterday and our fall season schedule of events were in the distant future.

My first major post-Labor Day event is the RISMedia CEO Exchange, taking place in New York City on September 18-19. I’m looking forward to attending and spending time with many industry influencers. This is an amazing event because everyone in the room is in a leadership position and are all so eager to share ideas and learn from each other. Conferences, by their very nature, evoke collaboration. We attend these events to connect with people, products and ideas that we can leverage to fuel growth for our companies.

But collaboration should not stop and start in the hallways of the Marriott Marquis or any conference we attend. We are seeing it happening everywhere and we should learn from some recent partnership announcements that came at the highest levels of the industry:

  • In late July, Realogy, Better Homes and Gardens® Real Estate’s parent company, announced a ground-breaking, exclusive collaboration with Amazon called Agent X, which provides affiliated agents with voice-activated access to productivity and coaching tools.
  • That announcement came on the heels of another major collaboration with Amazon called TurnKey, which opens the real estate doors to Amazon visitors and provides those who work with Realogy-affiliated agents a move-in benefit valued between $1,000 and $5,000.
  • And earlier in the month, Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate (BHGRE®) introduced an exclusive BH&G Insider offer to our affiliated agents for them to share special design and lifestyle offers with their clients. This was just another example of the ongoing collaboration we have with Better Homes and Gardens magazine and its publisher Meredith Corporation.

We can all learn from these types of relationships and come up with similarly-themed programs that can work at the local level, including concierge services, cross-promotional activities and traffic-driving sponsorships of local events.

Collaboration should also occur inside the brokerage, and two BHGRE brokers are incorporating such models into their companies as a key component of their growth.

Dana Hall-Bradley, owner of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Fine Living in Celebration, Fla., has grown her business based on a commitment to coaching, a tenet which drives her recruiting strategy.

“It’s more about who you are as a person,” she shared.  “I am very hands-on with my agents and they have to be comfortable with me working hard to help them grow. I push them. You have to be collaborative to work with us.”

Dana’s approach is paying off, as her company is in the top 10 of all Osceola County companies despite its modest count of less than 35 agents.

Another broker who is tapping into the power of collaboration to compete in a crowded market is Myron Kiriu, CEO and owner of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Advantage Realty in Honolulu, Hawaii.

He recently explained that while his major competitors are down between 10-25 percent on volume, his firm is up over 20 percent. Myron attributes much of that gain to attracting and mentoring the right talent. He employs a “shadowing” system where new agents learn the ropes from the vets for a six-month period.

“Most companies hire bodies and hope the agents produce,” he said. “We invest a lot of time and energy in training and look for a collaborative, driven, honest person with a strong moral center who has strong ethics. It’s been this way since the beginning and my wife (Ambur) is a driving force in creating this type of culture. If you aren’t collaborative, you won’t do well with us because you won’t want to share best practices, which is critical to becoming a leader in our company. We realize we are not for everyone.”

Myron’s last point really hit home for me. It made me realize that it’s easy to be all-in on collaboration, but in order to be effective, the right partners need to come together to drive success.

And while I don’t expect Myron to travel to New York from Honolulu, I’ll be certain to share what I learn with him. That is the spirit of collaboration. See you in NYC.

Sherry Chris is president and CEO of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate. For more information, please visit