How the Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Brand Is Redefining Relationships
At Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate, collaboration is more than simply working alongside agents and brokers to increase transactions. It’s about building relationships—an element at the core of everything the brand accomplishes.
For three Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate brokers, collaboration across the brand has trickled down into their respective business cultures, and even further down into the day-to-day of managing real estate transactions and providing an exceptional experience for everyone involved—most importantly, agents and the consumers they serve.
“With the Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate brand, it’s an awareness thing,” says Mark Woodroof, managing partner for Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Gary Greene, which recently merged with Heritage Texas Properties, becoming one of the top 50 real estate firms in the U.S. “It’s all about the value proposition—the fact that from a consumer standpoint, there is hardly anyone that hasn’t interacted with the brand in some way throughout their lives.”
That immediate recognition of a brand that stands for lifestyle, family and homeownership stems from a culture of collaboration. At the top, it begins with nationally recognized partnerships that even those outside the world of real estate can appreciate. Most recently, these include teaming up with Amazon for TurnKey and Agent X—a home-buying incentive program and real estate virtual assistant, respectively—as well as working alongside the iconic Better Homes & Gardens® magazine.
“I feel that with our company being able to announce to everyone in our community that we have a relationship not only with Better Homes & Gardens® magazine and Meredith Corporation, but also with a major online company such as Amazon with Realogy, is a big statement for our brand,” says Dana Hall-Bradley, owner of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Fine Living. “No other real estate companies can touch this.”
This type of brand-wide collaboration heavily influences agents and consumers on the ground level, as well. According to Jeff Martel, broker/owner and director of Marketing at Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate 43° North, he’s seen the most impact on the relocation segment of his business.
“The relocation component, which is making up a large percentage of our business, is really influenced by the brand,” says Martel. “There’s an instant trust formed with our agents because these consumers don’t know anybody and don’t have any connections in the area. But they are relying on trust built from the brand—that instant familiarity to the magazine or to seeing signage.”
With inter-office collaboration, agents and brokers know how to foster these consumer relationships so that they are more than a transaction—they become a client for life. But first, brokers need to fill one of the largest gaps in the industry: a lack of training. That’s why Martel created a mentorship program that is doubly productive for both new and veteran agents.
“We built a mentorship program around giving agents a good launching pad, even if they already have access to systems and tools because they often don’t understand how to use them,” says Martel, who pairs up new recruits with top producers. “It instills in agents the habits and skills they need to run a business, and is also designed around mentorship for life. After the term ends, we are watching them continue on, becoming co-collaborators who can rely on each other for different things.”
Hall-Bradley also prioritizes agent-to-agent collaboration, stating that she always has a trainer available at the office should anyone need assistance.
“I am very hands-on with planning the training that is provided to our agents and staff,” she says. “I am constantly reminding agents that I am available if they need me, whether it be support with negotiating a contract or going with an agent to a listing appointment.”
For Woodroof, this type of collaborative approach is what helped him land the title of Most Admired CEO in 2018 by the Houston Business Journal. “By working together, the brokerage is able to expand its philanthropic efforts to make a difference in the lives of people they regularly touch, such as agents, staff members, the community, etc.,” he says.
Where does it all connect? A built-in culture of collaboration ties these brand brokerages together.
“The mentoring program has strengthened our culture and has helped us form deep and true relationships with people who rely on each other and know each other’s strengths. It builds a bond within the organization,” says Martel.
This culture is brand-wide, Martel explains. “By creating this strong collective as a whole, we can thrive rather than trying to compete with each other. There are enough challenges outside of our brokerages that we need to be worrying about,” he adds.
Woodroof follows this same mindset, keeping the brand’s collective strength at the forefront of his brokerage’s goal-setting.
“We are very collaborative. We get better because we have a goal of getting better together,” says Woodroof. “Even today [at press time], we’re sitting here at one of our agent fairs, putting on panels for other agents so they can listen and learn and collaborate with each other.”
And with the future in mind, these brokers are certain that the Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate brand will not only help them maintain a competitive edge, but also lead to further collaboration within the brokerages and, in the process, to more bountiful benefits.
“I think more recognition and trust is gained when you can walk into a listing appointment and mention names like Better Homes & Gardens® magazine and Amazon,” says Hall-Bradley. “I think moving into the new year, this collaboration will assist us even more with growth in our real estate market. We are very excited about it.”
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Liz Dominguez is RISMedia’s associate content editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at firstname.lastname@example.org.