Inman is profiling leaders in the real estate industry. Here’s Brandon Green, Managing Partner at Keller Williams Capital Properties in the Washington, D.C. metro area.
What’s been the biggest obstacle your business has encountered, and how have you dealt with it?
The biggest challenge we face is in successfully calling people into leadership. Success in our business is often measured in terms of production, which for most people is a very individual exercise and it doesn’t necessarily require a lot of personal development.
So much of leadership is about self-knowledge and understanding the gifts you bring to the world and how to use those gifts to positively influence others. This is not easy and requires an entirely different way of thinking. To deal with this challenge, Keller Williams Capital Properties will be launching a Leadership Academy in the coming months.
What puzzles you most about the industry?
I’m often puzzled by how much energy it takes to get people in our industry to stop long enough to be thoughtful about themselves, their businesses, the industry and the community they live in and how the choices they make impact these things.
Perhaps it goes back to the fact that our business is highly transactional, and yet there is also a desire we all have to find meaning in the work we do. I underestimate and am sometimes puzzled by how much time it takes to get someone to engage in that level of thoughtfulness.
What’s your favorite activity outside of work and why?
Travel, particularly abroad. It resets my perspective, clears my mind, keeps me focused on what’s important in life and reminds me what is possible.
What’s your favorite classic piece of literature and why?
“A Christmas Carol.” I started watching the Disney television version as a little kid and now every year we find a local playhouse in Washington to watch the magical performance.
Are you the first entrepreneur in your family?
No, my Grandfather on my Mom’s side was an entrepreneur. He launched and grew a very successful business in Southwest Wyoming supplying the coal and trona mines with equipment.
Though he did not live long enough to see my success in business, to this day I feel a connection with him in my business. My Mom and my Grandma often say I remind them of him.
Why’d you decide to join your company?
I believe agents are entrepreneurs and I was inspired by the possibility that the brokerage business could empower agents as entrepreneurs rather than hold them to functionary roles in a broker-controlled business model. I knew that I wanted to be involved in that movement and so I decided join a company that believes what I believe.
Describe a time when you felt particularly insecure about the future of your company. How did you bounce back?
In 2010, I lost a contract with a major REO provider, and in an instant more than 300 listings were gone and I was left holding more than $1 million in receivables with no guarantee of getting paid. It was my first real business crisis that threatened to not only close the business but also to bankrupt me personally.
After feeling sorry for myself for about 30 minutes, I knew I had to take action, and I realized quickly that there are moments in business where entrepreneurism means making fast, difficult choices, and though I had no idea how I would climb out of the mess, I had better start.
With the counsel of some great attorneys and business coaches I deployed a strategy to realign my business. Tactically, I got back in my car with buyers and worked quickly to close the financial gaps. It took me several years to work out of that mess, though I’m proud to say every dollar was paid back and accounted for in the end.
What would you describe as your company’s biggest victory since you joined it?
We had a huge tactical victory in taking the number one position in agent count market share in Washington, D.C., in just a few short years. We’re very proud of that.
Though I think the biggest victory is that The Washington Post recently recognized us as No. 2 on its Top Workplaces Report, across all industries. People come to us for a variety of reasons, though they stay with us because of our culture.
What is the most important lesson you’ve learned about building a business?
That my ability to succeed depends entirely on my mindset. I used to think success was about access, capital, ability, skill — and I have realized though those things are important, the most important thing to make sure stays on track is the conversation happening in my head.
Empowerment starts inside and expands out to other people only if the internal dialog is sorted out successfully.
What’s the most overrated real estate technology?
Databases — in terms of thinking there is a perfect one. The best database you have is the one you use.
How will the role of the real estate agent change over the next five years?
Over the next five years it will be increasingly difficult to be a casual agent and expect to make a living. The consumer is demanding a higher degree of professionalism and engagement, and fundamentally, I think we will be left with two business models.
One business model will be formed around the idea that the brokerage is the entrepreneur that provides the service proposition to the consumer and that the agent plays a role in the broker platform.
The other model will be that the agent is the entrepreneur and the driver of the engagement with the consumer and that the agent will choose and control and own the platform of services provided to his or her client.
What motivates you more: power or money?
Power. Power to influence people to think in a way that can cause them to get what they want when they want it.
What is your biggest professional fear?
That’s a tough one, I really had to think about that. I’d say right now that we’re not doing enough to assess and manage the risk side of the business.
What is your biggest personal fear?
That I’m not living in the moment enough to appreciate what’s happening now.
Who do you respect most in the industry?
Can I choose two? My business partner Bo Menkiti. And Gary Keller. Both for their business brilliance and human compassion.
Describe what you do in one sentence: I’m responsible for growing Keller Williams Capital Properties into a regional network of offices focused on world class education and training, wealth-building for our agents and staff partners, all with an awarding-winning culture of leadership and care.
Degree, school: Tw0 years of community college
Location: Washington, D.C.