Inman is exploring what the future of real estate leadership should look like through a series of articles, Q&As with industry pros, and an upcoming 5-part series called Leadership Week. Please send your feedback to email@example.com. If you’re a leader who wants to join us for our exclusive Disconnect in The Desert event on March 26-28, or want to recommend a colleague, send a note to firstname.lastname@example.org explaining why.
Lion & Orb’s founder Audie Chamberlain manages all aspects of a public relations firm that specializes in tasteful and effective publicity specifically for real estate companies. Their clients have been recognized as category leaders around the world and are regularly featured in The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Inman and many other national and international media outlets.
A recent international media blitz included placements in over 35 top-tier media outlets that featured a Hawaii Life listing, reached approximately 1 million high-net-worth individuals and was shared on social media over 16,000 times, resulting in a record-setting +$20 million sale on the Big Island.
We had the opportunity to sit down with Audie and find out where he sees real estate leadership going in 2018.
As a leader, what keeps you up at night?
Scaling. Building a platform and recruiting talent that can take us to the next level.
If you could change one thing in real estate, what would it be?
If I could change one thing in real estate, it would be the broker’s and agent’s belief that their client’s address, sales status and photos is data that belongs to them.
As a consumer, the photos and description of my home are not your data, and I am not a lead. As a consumer, the whole thing is a huge turn-off. I started my career in the music industry and became somewhat knowledgeable of how record deals, publishing, copyrights and digital distribution work.
This is a long-standing grievance in the real estate industry that consumers (backed by technology) will remove from the conversation. Eventually the consumer will get what they want — we’ve seen this in other industries. No sacred cows.
I would also love to see people’s perception of real estate agents as just salespeople change. Real estate agents have a comprehensive knowledge that straddles multiple disciplines and isn’t understood by the consumer as much as I’d like it to be.
How have your expectations of your management team changed over the past two years?
We were in our first year back then, so expectations have changed a lot. Today, we’re not only expected to perform at a high level, but we are also expected to manage teams and build a system that makes it easy to replicate consistently.
How do you keep your team competitive?
We stay competitive by always trying to break new ground. We believe that competition is good for innovation and business. Staying focused on our customers and emotionally invested in their success is another way we stay competitive.
I tell my clients that it’s not enough to tell people you are the best at something, you have to figure out what makes you the only one who’s doing it the way you are.
With so much disruption in real estate, what’s your best advice for managing change?
For us, it starts with extreme flexibility. The way you did business yesterday may not be the way you do it today or tomorrow. Apps like Venmo and DoorDash and services like Clear have changed some of my behaviors as a consumer almost overnight, and they have changed how we navigate the world from small tasks to big adventures.
The idea of having to go to an ATM changes dramatically once you move that functionality to your phone. Some things don’t change like building and maintaining relationships and focusing on your customer.