Read Compass CEO Robert Reffkin’s year-end email to agents, in which he provides insights into the privately held company and lays out his plans for 2020.

Compass CEO Robert Reffkin hasn’t lost sight of one of the company’s most ambitious goal: to own 20 percent of market share in the nation’s top 20 markets by the end of 2020.

As vague as that has often felt – Compass has, in the past, declined to reveal exactly what markets those are – it’s clear the deadline is getting close and follows a year in which the company, once again, more than doubled its total sales volume, according to Reffkin in an end-of-year letter to Compass employees obtained by Inman on Tuesday.

In 2019, Compass put the brakes on expanding geographically and instead honed in on already existing markets, a promise Reffkin made at the beginning of the year. Compass, overall, helped 111,976 buyers, sellers and renters, and the company’s agents closed $88 billion in sales, up from $33 billion in 2018, Reffkin said, in the year-end email to agents.

“Compass agents have earned close to or exceeded 20 percent market share in some of the most important markets in the country (eg, Manhattan, San Francisco, Marin, Danville, multiple Silicon Valley sub-markets, Beverly Hills, Malibu, Santa Monica, Cambridge, Washington D.C.) and earned 10 percent market share in many more markets, which is major progress towards our 2020 by 2020 target,” Reffkin wrote in the email. “Let’s get there together by the end of 2020.”

Early in the year, that growth continued to be fueled by acquisitions, but the company shifted its focus to recruiting either entire indie brokerages to join the company or luring away top producers from rivals.

The company spent much of the year focused on tech development, opening three new tech hubs and growing its tech team from roughly 170 employees to more than 440. The company also launched new services, including its bridge loan program.

In total, Compass’ marketing center, collections platform, tour platform and open house platform also saw an increase in usage of more than 200 percent, with the latter topping 300 percent, according to Reffkin. The company also completed 787 percent more agent requests for technology features, Reffkin said.

“We focused on depth over breadth with our technology as well,” Reffkin said. “Since Compass agents are free to use any tools they want, we measure our technology progress based on how often agents choose to use the Compass platform. And on that score, it was a very big year.”

In 2020, Compass will seek to improve its communications and storytelling while addressing an issue with font size being too small on the company’s tech platform, Reffkin wrote in the email. He also addressed an issue with the company’s concierge program, which was used for $8.5 billion worth of listings.

“We didn’t expect sellers and agents to be quite so interested in Compass Concierge from day one, so we didn’t put some obvious support in place pre-launch like a hotline to answer your questions or people to do the paperwork for you,” Reffkin said.

Reffkin also gave a preview of areas on which Compass will focus in 2020, including better prospecting tools, preparing homes for market for clients, better newsletter technology, tools to find buyers more efficiently, financial and transaction management, automated follow-up technology and better mobile technology.

“It’s clear that the next decade will define the future of real estate — and a decade is a very long time when you care as much and move as fast as we do,” Reffkin wrote. “I believe that the work we’re going to do together is going to improve the lives of agents and the experience of your clients so much that in the future we won’t be able to remember what life was like before Compass.”

In the 2020s, we’re going to prove that any technology being used to disrupt agents can be better used to empower them instead,” Reffkin added. “In the 2020s, we’re going to demonstrate that the company who creates the most value for agents is going to create the future of this industry. In the 2020s, we’re going to help the world see real-estate agents as I do: as entrepreneurs, as CEOs of their own businesses, as dreamers and as doers, as full-service advisors, and as pillars of their communities.”

Read Reffkin’s entire letter below:

Looking back and looking forward by Jotham Sederstrom on Scribd

Email Patrick Kearns

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