In advance of the brokerage’s second annual BeCorcoran event, the president and CEO spoke with Inman about her thoughts on Corcoran’s past, present and future and how the brokerage is meeting a shifting market head-on.

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BeCorcoran kicked off on Monday as brokers and agents from the New York City-based brand rolled into Nashville to network, learn, be inspired and celebrate the brokerage’s 50th anniversary.

President and CEO Pam Liebman got the group of real estate professionals revved up on Tuesday morning with a keynote that highlighted the brokerage’s success in the last year — it was named the No. 1 brokerage in Manhattan by The Real Deal for the third consecutive year, as well as No. 1 brokerage in New York City for luxury townhouse sales and No. 1 in new development sales across the city — and the Corcoran Affiliate Network’s significant growth since launching in 2020.

Liebman also shared some goals for the Nashville event, including that agents grow their skills in some way, leave the weekend with a fresh perspective on any part of their business and acquire a few new referrals from their colleagues across the network.

Pam Liebman at BeCorcoran 2023 | Courtesy of Joe Fairweather of Corcoran Reverie

Celebrating Corcoran’s history, Liebman also detailed some of the brokerage’s industry firsts, including becoming the first New York City brokerage to launch its own market report in 1981 and becoming the first Manhattan brokerage to launch a website in 1990.

The brokerage’s future holds a lot more growth, Liebman also suggested, particularly in its Affiliate Network, across the globe where the right people will become new partners to further the brand in strategic markets.

In advance of BeCorcoran, Inman spoke with Liebman to learn more about her thoughts on Corcoran’s past, present and future and how the brokerage is meeting a shifting market head-on. Here’s what she said, edited for brevity and clarity.

Inman: What do you have in store for Corcoran’s 50th anniversary?

Liebman: We have a lot of fun events that we’re planning around the 50th anniversary and people are really embracing it. Everyone has shown a lot of love for the brand, which I really appreciate and makes me proud. I’ve pretty much spent my career here at Corcoran, so it has been a great ride for me, starting when we were a company that’s 30 to now being several thousand people with affiliates all over the world.

It’s quite a milestone and it’s also fun to look back at how much the industry has changed. Whether we look at the rise of technology to the changing needs of our clients, the breadth of information that’s out there, the shifts in the way we do our business. We moved two years ago, and in cleaning out our offices, it was crazy to see so many of these artifacts of the past, whether it was old shopping bags or old awards or scripts.

We were looking at how we used to give awards in the old days and it was a big deal if you did a deal for $4 million or something, and now we’re talking about deals in the $50 and $100 millions and even a deal we did for over $200 million.

I always like to look at every year — what was the smallest deal we did that year and what was the biggest — because often we might have a studio sale in one of the outer boroughs for a couple hundred thousand, and then we’ll always have something that’s really large. So it’s a company that just appreciates all people.

This is our second BeCorcoran. Last year, we had an incredible celebration at The Breakers in Palm Beach. This year, we decided to go in a totally different direction because it’s hard to beat The Breakers. So we came up with the idea of going to Nashville, having a little music, country Western kind of theme and we’re super excited about it.

When people ask me what it is, I say it’s not just a networking event. It’s really an opportunity to learn, celebrate the brand and to exchange great ideas with like-minded agents across the country and around the world. When top-performing agents come together, they learn from each other and everyone around them. To me, that’s what BeCorcoran is all about — it’s a celebration of people, a learning opportunity and it’s energizing yourself, your brand and your business. So I’m psyched about it.

An old Corcoran ad on top of a taxi, date unknown | Courtesy of Corcoran

Sounds like a fantastic event. As you said, a big part of Corcoran’s evolution has been the growth of your franchise network, and one of your most recent big moves was into Italy. Can you share any more about where you’re looking to grow next with the network?

We’ve got quite a few things in the works domestically. I think we have our next announcement coming the next couple of weeks. Then internationally, we have a team traveling and we’ve got some meetings while we’re over in Italy [for Corcoran Magri Properties’ opening celebration]. So we’ll see where this takes us. We want to be where we can find the right partner and the market that will allow the Corcoran brand to really thrive.

You mentioned that real estate technology has also played a big role in Corcoran’s growth. Is there any specific kind of technology that you’re especially excited about today?

I think the most exciting parts of technology are twofold: 1) What makes the agent’s life easier? People are very mobile now. They’re not so much at their desk. So we’ve really changed the mobile experience for our agents and they can do everything on their iPhone or Android. So it’s a whole different world — you don’t have to be at your desktop at all. And the agents really appreciate that.

And 2) The way we communicate with the customers and the information, the photos, the videos that we can give them has really changed and their expectations of what they want to see has changed.

Then also with social media and how important that has become to real estate. That has been a big difference to see these superstar agents on TikTok and Instagram. I had something on Instagram not that long ago, a client saw it, and he ended up buying a $10 million apartment [because of what I posted]. He didn’t end up buying in that building, but he bought something else, which was pretty cool. And that happens to quite a few of the agents where they’re just really creating a good stream of business through their social media.

In the old days, we walked around with notebooks and had to take notes on every single apartment. So if you had a good memory, you tended to be a great broker. Today, every piece of information is at your fingertips, which is great. So I always tell my agents they have to be smarter than their customers and clients, because everybody can have access to the same information. You need to be the ones to bring that information to life and really explain it and become a value-add to all these transactions.

Technology is great, but it doesn’t take into effect the emotion of a real estate transaction, which tends to be pretty large for most people. So we think our brokers have a high EQ and they have really empathetic genes. This is not an easy business, and I have such respect for anybody in this business who works so hard.

As we think about the market today and how things have been normalizing, cooling more so in some areas than others, how are you coaching Corcoran agents? What are you telling them as we gear up for the busy selling season?

Keep your eye on the ball and get ahead of everything. We want to make sure that listings are presented in their most flattering way. So whether they need to stage these apartments, get the terraces planted, get the houses and the pools open, that’s an easy one. But you’d be surprised how different agents tackle that. We’ve taken over listings from other agents where they don’t even open the shade when you go for a showing. So it takes a lot of care to make sure they’re on top of their game.

And then of course, very important, is pricing. In a market that’s more challenging and there’s inventory growing, you need to have these discussions with your sellers ahead of time. You can’t wait until it’s too late to tell them to lower the price, because you miss the excitement of these listings first coming on or something has been on and overpriced.

So they really have to focus on everything, and with their buyers, they need to make those phone calls. Find out if there are any off-market deals. So the job of the buyer is to find the right agent and the job of the agent is to make sure that they’re well-networked with their fellow agents.

I always coach my brokers: It’s much less crowded on the high road, so be nice to everybody. And then you’ll be the ones invited in first and that way you can better service your customers and clients.

Get Inman’s Luxury Lens Newsletter delivered right to your inbox. A weekly deep dive into the biggest news in the world of high-end real estate delivered every Friday. Click here to subscribe.

Email Lillian Dickerson

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