Brandon Brittingham // Long & Foster
Why Real Estate Teams are Outperforming Brokerages
Brokerages claim massive resources. They have supporting personnel. And they certainly see more transactions. So, how did a real estate team like the Maryland & Delaware Group of Long & Foster perform better than their counterpart? Today, we look at Brandon Brittingham’s strategy and success story.
Defending Against Competition
Competition in real estate is always focused on one thing: Who gets the lead? And it’s always done through one, primary tactic … “by being the best.” Brokerages, real estate teams, and even individual agents are all familiar in this fashion. They create a zero-sum war, where someone has to lose.
Brandon Brittingham chose a different strategy. His is a case-study as to why real estate teams are dwarfing brokerages (at their current pace), and why there’s disruption in the industry. To begin, you need to understand where Brandon put his priorities.
Where Real Estate Strategy Begins
Strategy explains how an organization, faced with competition, will achieve superior performance. It’s not a competition to be the best. Here’s the reason: How do you define “best?” Everyone — even your clients — have a different interpretation (based on their needs). Fighting to be #1 cuts into profits and value. It reduces innovation when your particular market continues to evolve.
As an example, look at the airline industry. All year long, each company tries to one-up each other, forcing them to battle on one thing: ticket prices. Now, America is looking for new modes of fast-transportation, like the Hyperloop.
Compare 1996 to 2016. How do people find homes for sale today? The journey of the homebuyer sits online. Brokerages and real estate agents compete for leads via websites, digital ads, and social media. Nothing is particularly different in the strategy. They purchase good-looking websites. They post on Facebook. They advertise on Google.
So, how do you beat a brokerage, who typically has a bigger budget and more resources? Brandon Brittingham did it by wrapping those activities with a different process. He built a different chain-of-activities around the usual tactics (i.e. to generate and convert leads).
It’s not just generating leads anymore. It’s about the process. How you handle the lead and the process to them becoming a client is what becomes different. This is how Brandon separated his team from the competition in Maryland. He made the process more efficient by partnering with technology. The differentiating key for him was data-insights on leads. He then tweaked his lead follow-up process to fit that.
Hiring the Right Agents for the Team
Brandon Brittingham had a clear goal: Close 500+ deals and surpass $100 million in production volume. His strategy was to adjust his business model to the evolving consumer experience. This meant re-defining the value of the real estate agent.
Brandon analyzed his market. Everyone was competing to be the “local area expert.” The opportunity he saw was doubling up and making his agents become the “consumer expert” with the help of data and technology. He wanted his agents to know the client better than they knew themselves. So, he adjusted the process on how a real estate agent handles a lead. To rally people behind this model, he began hiring.
Seal Team Six — it’s the title Brandon’s real estate team likes to refer to themselves as. To them, culture is everything. It aligns people based on core values. It sets the right expectations and prioritizes their actions. When hiring a new agent, if they don’t fit the culture, Brandon doesn’t hire them.
“I really train my agents on the difference between service and hospitality. We take the hospitality route because we want to leave a lasting impression on the client. Our goals, our culture … they’re all focused on the consumer experience.” — Brandon Brittingham @ BoomTown Unite
Hiring based on culture maintained Brandon’s team synergy. Having the same goals with the same attitude to getting there kept them together, creating a supportive environment where they could thrive.
Creating Greater Performance with Culture
In a recent study, done by BoomTown and Real Trends, 1,300 real estate professionals were asked about the benefit of being a part of a team. The word “leads” was used only a handful of times. Instead, responses like synergy, accountability, knowledge, and support were more frequent.
So, how does culture create better performance in real estate agents? If you strip away the systems and tools, the name of the business, the identity of the city, and even the stature of the office space — the only thing left is people. Those individuals create the culture, and when it’s based around a goal, it sets the guidelines on how to act.
With like-minded people, you find a support system. Real estate teams benefit agents because they offer continued training, leads, and assistance with tricky situations. But most importantly, when there’s culture, there’s accountability. Everyone is held to a standard and it makes it easy to measure against it.
“Stepping in for one another on a team is distinct from individual sales associates who support each other, because teams depend on their shared culture to provide a fluid consumer experience.”
With a supportive structure and culture, agents can focus on selling because others are handling the marketing and administrative work. And when everyone is aligned with culture, you suddenly have a brand to market.
How to Multiply Business with BoomTown
Technology created a shift in the consumer experience, according to Brandon. How they shop for houses, how they find market statistics — it’s all online. Brandon wanted his agents to experience a similar shift … through technology designed for them.
As we mentioned before, Brandon’s core strategy wrapped around hospitality — how an agent will handle a lead. But as you know, spending quality time with leads takes up bandwidth and increases workload for the agent. To alleviate this, Brandon partnered with BoomTown.
A real estate agent spends large chunks of time following up with leads, getting people to look at new houses, and so on. Brandon purchased real estate software to minimize this work, freeing up time and mental-stamina. The next move was to leverage the data BoomTown was providing him.
Because the website and CRM are tied together, Brandon’s team had unique insights into their leads. They could see what homes they were looking at (sometimes repeatedly). They could tell which types of real estate and what price points mattered. Lastly, they could identify what “buying” phase the lead was in, based on their behavior. With all this information, conversions came easy.
Not only did technology reduce the workload on agents (so they could spend more time with clients), it also helped increase conversions.
Why Teams Succeed When Others Fail
Throughout the article, we’ve shown how a strategy, coupled with culture and core values, can create a strong real estate team. The success of it lies with trust. The connectivity of trust and purpose imbues teams with an ability to solve problems. Teams can react quickly. They’re flexible to the market. And they can adjust processes to fit the current economy.
The speed at which teams can help and change is what put them at the forefront of the industry. It’s why they can cater to new client needs, which continue to evolve with technology/innovation. Getting ahead of their competitors, and of brokerages, Brandon Brittingham didn’t seek out a secret weapon to seize control of Maryland’s market. He simply tweaked, revised, and edited his process to be different than the rest (i.e. providing more value without driving up costs).
Here are some final words from Brandon Brittingham:
“Brokerages, who have a couple hundred people, are being out-done by teams of 8 or 10 agents. Real estate teams can do this because they’ve committed to a belief. They’ve bought into a system. And they’ve created a culture that aligns to their goals. When you pair that with technology, that’s going to change the landscape of real estate as a whole.” — Brandon Brittingham
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