Why You Should Always Interview a Boutique Broker
There are a few classes of residential real estate brokerages—large national “chains,” traditional regional brokerages, local boutique brokerages, and self-serve brokerages. Clients receive a varying level of service with the first three, and the last one requires the client to fend for themselves on a number of fronts.
Before creating Powers Realty Group, I worked for two of Milwaukee’s largest regional brokerages. However, before real estate, I had a career in the pharmaceutical industry, which exposed me to different business models. Upon entering real estate, I was very surprised by the business models used. I learned about how these models operated, examined what worked well, and, more importantly, determined what I was NOT going to do.
The primary focus of traditional brokerages, both large national chains and regional ones, is on recruiting and serving agents. They drive growth through the sheer quantity of agents, so it’s the agent that is a company’s primary customer, not the people selling and buying homes. As you can imagine, this drives all types of decisions that affect the client. I decided to take a very different approach.
I could have simply franchised a brokerage; however, when I thought about what worked well and what didn’t work well for clients, there were no franchise opportunities that met those requirements. I was insistent on putting the customer first, and their models didn’t.
Really, I am not kidding.
The dozens and dozens of franchise opportunities in 2011 were about mergers, acquisitions, and agent recruitment, and they still are. I could not find the customer in their scenarios. And I was smart enough to realize residential real estate is all about the customer. Simply put, customers are the ones who pay us to sell their homes. They are who businesses should be built around, and it wasn’t about this then and still isn’t today.
So, I built a business model with the client at the center. Core to our approach is truly understanding clients’ goals and needs, both on the selling and buying side, and providing expertise and services to meet—or exceed—these needs. A boutique brokerage: it’s the exact opposite of every one of my competitors. And it’s working. I went from working out of my basement for a handful of clients to three locations within five years, and we have served more than 2,500 families.
And I discovered something magical happens in real estate when you put the client at the center of your brokerage.
When I launched Powers Realty Group with this model, my colleague Gretchen Keating, who has a long history in the hospitality industry, and I provided services clients needed and wanted that other brokerages weren’t offering locally—primarily concierge services. Then, we quickly moved to more sophisticated offerings, including home staging, online 3D interior tours, and aerial photography.
We are creating experiences that have our customers returning again and again. I like to think we are the Four Seasons of Real Estate in Milwaukee.
Our customer-centric model drives us to tailor every marketing plan to our clients’ specific home-selling needs and tailor their home searches to finding those special houses that meet their requirements, including some that may not be on the market yet. No stone left unturned! This model also means we’re focused on customer satisfaction and buyer’s and seller’s results more than a traditional brokerage.
And it means we hire and develop agents who share this perspective; we’re very selective about who we hire. We focus on top producers who are experts in the communities we serve and who know how to use our vast and deep local connections to drive a pleasant, results-orientated experience. We create a fun, collaborative environment and share ideas, connections, and insights into what gets our clients results and provides them with the best experience possible. Our smaller environment helps create a collaborative atmosphere. I work directly with clients, am available to our agents at all hours, and available to their clients for any questions.
Our goal is great service, not great volume. Our customers get a high-touch, high-service experience they LOVE, as evidenced in the feedback we get after the sale of their home or the purchase of a new one.
To ensure we are offering the best in technology and service possible year after year, we constantly implement new systems, processes, and marketing tactics, and we can do it faster than our competitors because top management has a direct line to our clients and action is swift because the customer is not going through layers of managers and personnel to get to the decision maker.
Today, placing the client at the center is all about offering more, so we do. It is that simple. Clients are busier than ever, and we have to see beyond the house sale to fulfilling deeper needs for them. It is really about helping them transition their life. How we do that and make them feel throughout the process is extremely important to our success.
If you’re considering putting your home on the market and/or buying a new one, make sure to include a boutique broker in your interviewing process. We think you’ll be very happy you did.
Powers Realty Group is a distinctive boutique real estate broker focused on the needs of customers delivering exceptional results. We are the trusted local experts. Call us today about buying or selling your home.Call Suzanne Powers