Marketing

Warren Buffett’s franchise sees coaching as key to growth

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices' new leader reveals 2015 goals

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LAS VEGAS — After an expansive 2014, Warren Buffett’s new national real estate franchise, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, will employ coaching to help the brand mature and grow.

The brand’s new leader, Gino Blefari, outlined the brand’s targets for the year at its first-ever stand-alone sales convention in Las Vegas today in a keynote speech in front of thousands of BHHS brokers and agents. Blefari took the reins of BHHS’ parent company, HSF Affiliates Inc., from Earl Lee in January.

Berkshire Hathaway’s brokerage company, HomeServices of America Inc., is a majority owner of HSF Affiliates.

Gino Blefari

Gino Blefari

Blefari, who was addressing the troops for the first time, said the brand would begin to implement a culture of coaching to help the brand meet some specific improvements in 2015 over 2014:

  • Up per-agent total annual sides from seven to eight.
  • Up the average sales price of homes BHHS affiliates and company-owned offices sell by 8 percent.
  • Increase agent count by 10 percent. (BHHS ended 2014 with more than 34,000 affiliated agents in 47 states.)
  • Increase the BHHS affiliate base by 10 percent.

Using a series of sports analogies — as well as former NFL star wide receiver Dwight Clark as a live prop — Blefari emphasized the importance of coaching in reaching goals.

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BHHS is working out the specifics of a new coaching program, but the details have yet to be worked out, Blefari told Inman. For example, the brand has not decided yet whether the effort will involve independent contractor coaches or ones it develops in-house.

Blefari emphasized that the BHHS network will refine its operation using four principals:

  • Narrow the list of goals to a focused few.
  • Have specific targets to meet along the way to the big goals.
  • Measure the progress made toward reaching the goals.
  • Create sustained accountability.

Readers of Inman will recognize the importance of that last principal from our survey on coaching earlier this year. Coaching works, it found, primarily because of the accountability it infuses in those who use it.

As BHHS looks to mature in the U.S. and expand internationally, it will face formidable competition among its large, global franchise competitors, particularly Realogy-owned brands like Coldwell Banker Real Estate and Century 21 Real Estate.

Unlike Re/Max and Keller Williams Realty, which are more agent-focused, BHHS and many of the Realogy brands focus on supporting franchisees at the brokerage level.

Email Paul Hagey.

Editor’s note: Blefari did not specifically tie BHHS’ plan for coaching to the four business principles he outlined in his speech, as a previous version of this story incorrectly stated.