Here’s how one broker-owner has cultivated an inviting, approachable culture that fosters trust and confidence within the community, leading to consistent success.

It may seem oversimplified, but my approach to success is, in a word, approachability. Everything we do as a company is designed to make both our affiliated agents and their clients feel comfortable interacting with the firm.

As a guiding philosophy, this goal of “being approachable” underpins every aspect of the company, informs a unique culture and creates a consistency that supports a highly differentiated local brand.

Cultivating face-to-face interactions

Our two offices are designed to be inviting for both agents and clients. As part of the Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate brand, which has a 100-year relationship with  Meredith Corporation, publisher of Better Homes & Gardens magazine, we were fortunate to tap into the design expertise of Max Wilker, style director at Meredith Corporation.

His insights helped us create a comfortable and hospitable space to not only conduct business but help foster relationships.

Our Bentonville, Arkansas, office is located in the city’s arts section, where there is a lot of foot traffic. We are neighbors with an art gallery called The Momentary, an amazing contemporary art space that features visual, performing and culinary arts. In keeping with the neighborhood vibe, we have an art gallery in our office that is curated by the Art Collective Gallery and that encourages a lot of walk-ins.

We love that our location is part of the city’s cultural offerings, reflecting how dedicated we are at embracing and connecting with our community.

Revitalizing our reach online

People also find us very approachable online through our Facebook Live events, which are incredibly popular. We started hosting these events in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic as a way to provide safe open house experiences with more added value.

One Facebook Live video from earlier this spring included a segment at the local farmer’s market, a run down of local market stats and a walk-through of a home.

More like a weekend morning show than a walk-through, the recorded events are hosted by either myself or my partner. We kick off the program with local market statistics and other insightful community information. Then we go “live” to an “on-the-ground” agent who shares details with us about the home.

After the event ends, we post the recording to Facebook as a video, typically receiving upward of 4,000 views.

We also extend the life of these videos by incorporating them into all listing presentations, thus expanding the audience for the videos. Our agents include a page in the presentation where they embed the video links from our Facebook page and can demonstrate to clients the type of engaging videos we produce to further promote their home.

This unique marketing effort not only helps to sell the homes featured during the event, but it also leads to future listings, either through views online or as part of an in-person listing presentation.

We even discovered that new business generated through the Facebook Live program usually came with a catch — our clients wanted to be featured on the next show.

Staying true to the community we serve

Everyone at the company places our community in the highest regard, and we work hard to serve the people and causes right here in our backyards.

What we found over the past 18 months is that during times of hardship, uncertainty and fear, community is more important than ever. We rely on those around us for solidarity, support, guidance, information and empathy.

That’s why giving back is such an important part of our culture. In fact, our definition of growth is to have an increasing influence on the communities we serve.

From the hugely popular First Fridays in the Bentonville town center to Dress for Success charity events, to little libraries, we find meaningful ways to connect with our community in two-way engagements during in-person events. These are always more impactful than one-way communications like advertisements.

As part of our human resources process, we even find out what causes our affiliated agents, managers and staff are involved in and encourage anyone in the company to bring ideas to our charitable steering committee.

From leveraging the Better Homes & Gardens inviting, on-brand office design complemented by fine art, to our innovative Saturday morning Facebook Live open house broadcasts, to the company’s highly visible and extensive commitment to the community, every interaction is consistently inviting, thereby fostering trust and confidence which has consistently supported our success. It’s an approach I stand by.

Ben Fox is the broker/owner of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Journey in Arkansas.

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