In the following interview, Daniel Cottingham, broker of Cottingham Chalk Hayes, REALTORS®, a member of Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® in Charlotte, N.C., discusses the firm’s culture, recruitment tactics and training techniques.
Region Served: Greater Charlotte, N.C.
Years in Real Estate: 13
Number of Offices: 1
Number of Agents: 100+
Best Tip for Dealing With Difficult Customers: Listen, empathize and advise.
You recently transitioned from the sales side of the business to a role in management. How would you describe the process?
Things have gone really well, and I think that’s because we spent a lot of time planning the transition. I focused on evaluating everything we do, making slight tweaks if necessary, and intentionally avoiding any sweeping changes. Some things seemed so obvious from the sales side, but when I switched hats, the issues were more complex. The biggest challenge came on the personal front. Being in the office all day is much different than being out in the field with buyers and sellers. I was used to the highs and lows of the sales side, and I’ve had to find other outlets to feed my competitiveness.
What are the two most important aspects of your company’s culture that will propel your team to the next level?
The Golden Rule is at the heart of everything we do. Our agents understand that we’re fully committed to doing the right thing and to helping them accomplish their goals. As a result, they share that commitment among each other and their clients. It’s servant leadership at its best, and it’s why prospective agents call us, and, ultimately, why buyers and sellers call our agents.
How do you go about recruiting, and in what ways does your company culture help you qualify the best prospects?
Everyone we interview initiates the conversation. We don’t reach out to agents at other firms or students in licensing classes, so when they come in to talk, they generally have an understanding of our brand and our culture. My goal is to be a resource to help them navigate the process and find the best fit.
What sets your training program apart, and how does it position agents for success right out of the gate?
Our training program is probably the best representation of our servant leadership culture because it’s taught almost exclusively by our top-producing agents. They volunteer their time to come talk about a variety of topics ranging from open houses and staging to negotiating and community involvement. As a new agent, it doesn’t get much better than learning from the best.
For more information, please visit www.leadingre.com.
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