When I founded my own real estate firm, I knew it was essential to keep my team at the forefront of the market. Ensuring my agents are supported is my primary goal as a broker, and the process of running a firm as a cohesive unit has broadened my understanding of leadership.
My agents succeed because I treat them like my front-line customers. Leaders often get mired in the details of running a firm, forgetting the importance of interacting with their agents — it’s easy to get lost in the numbers and the process. But I need to be a cheerleader, a teacher, and a manager. Connecting with my agents every day helps them achieve their goals.
First, I made conscious choices on how best to support my team. That meant equipping them with effective tools. This involved bringing in an absolutely fantastic sales manager, whose regular sales meetings keep our agents up to date on the local market. Company-wide “Lunch and Learns” teach new tools and best practices. The market is moving so fast, and critical tools surface on a daily basis, so we take it upon ourselves to filter and present the leading options to our agents. It’s no secret that today’s buyers and sellers are highly educated themselves; effective training is the difference between success and failure.
Second, I also invested in relieving my team of a lot of the repetitious activities that real estate agents have to deal with. Our back office support staff handles data input, automated marketing, and other small tasks so our agents can concentrate on developing new leads and servicing their clients. We take care of data entry, we set up and take down signs. We have a lot of automated marketing tools that are sent out on the agent’s behalf without the agent even having to be involved. It’s been an ongoing process to do as much as we possibly can for the agents so they can concentrate on developing new leads. Putting the right support team in place has made all the difference in our agents being able to effectively serve a competitive market.
The final piece I’ve always focused on is making the firm feel like a unit. Lenihan Sotheby’s International Realty isn’t a loose collection of disparate agents; we’re a team made stronger through our differences. We recruit a wide variety of individuals from diverse age groups and social circles — and that diversity helps our team serve a variety of different markets.
I want every agent to feel at his or her best all of the time. Achieving that goal is a daily effort: we enhance each agent’s strengths and improve their weaknesses. This involves collaborating as a team and empowering agents to support each other whenever necessary.
And we’re connected outside of our direct sphere of influence. The Sotheby’s International Realty brand gives our buyers and sellers a direct line to anywhere in the world, no matter which agent they work with. Agents aren’t climbing all over each other for the same listings. We want to compete with other agencies, not each other, so each agent is encouraged to foster their own unique customer base, all of which enjoy our high quality of service and stellar reputation. Because we’re all Sotheby’s International Realty agents, we represent a standard of quality. That pride is evident in my agents, whose collaborative spirit underscores the firm’s success.
Encouraging my team requires me to be an active listener, a strong support system, and a smart strategist. By gathering a wide variety of agents from different backgrounds, we created a tight-knit team that’s determined to be — and stay — an agency that meets and exceeds our client’s expectations.
John S. Lenihan is the Principal Broker and sole owner of Lenihan Real Estate LLC, dba Lenihan Sotheby’s International Realty, specializing in a unique market of residential sales. John opened Lenihan Sotheby’s International Realty to meet and exceed the expectations of his clients. John strongly believes his firm encompasses the standards and dominance of a world market which is greatly needed in Louisville.
About Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates LLC
Founded in 1976 to provide independent brokerages with a powerful marketing and referral program for luxury listings, the Sotheby’s International Realty® network was designed to connect the finest independent real estate companies to the most prestigious clientele in the world. Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates LLC is a subsidiary of Realogy Holdings Corp. (NYSE: RLGY), a global leader in real estate franchising and provider of real estate brokerage, relocation and settlement services. The Sotheby’s International Realty network currently has more than 22,000 affiliated independent sales associates located in over 960 offices in 72 countries and territories worldwide. In 2017, the brand achieved a record global sales volume of $108 billion USD. Sotheby’s International Realty listings are marketed on the sothebysrealty.com global website. In addition to the referral opportunities and widened exposure generated from this source, each brokerage firm and its clients benefit from an association with the Sotheby’s auction house and worldwide Sotheby’s International Realty marketing programs. Each office is independently owned and operated.