Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage,
Q: You’ve been a managing broker for more than 30 years; what have you learned in all your years in that position?
A: That this business is all about the real estate agents, and the more you support them, the more you get back from them. You have to lead them. In the same way that you ask them to be honest and ethical, you have to be the same. It’s the one part of the business that hasn’t changed.
Q: The Lincoln Park Plaza office, which you oversee, is the largest Coldwell Banker office in Chicago, with more than 230 agents. How do you provide effective support for so many agents?
A: I made a decision a long time ago that in order to be the type of manager that brokers need, I quit selling. So I’m a non-selling broker. I spend my time with them, I give them my cell phone and I tell them they can call me 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and I’m in the office to help them as much as I possibly can. I’m constantly available and empathetic to all of their needs.
Q: How important is continuing education in your office? And how does technology factor in to those education efforts?
A: We have a calendar that we submit every month for all of the classes that we teach. It’s a constant process here. Our staff knows all of our tools, so they teach them, I teach them and we have people who come in from the outside to teach, as well. So, we keep the agents as up to date on everything as they need, and plus, when I do my bi-weekly Thursday meeting, I will ask them what’s going on and what do they need, and then we set up our next month’s calendar according to what’s happening in the marketplace and what they need.
Q: Your office has been one of the city’s top-performing and largest in the Chicago area since it opened in 2006; how do you maintain a high level of performance?
A: The performance is really done by the agents; I tell them that all the time. They go out, they do the work; I make sure I’m supporting them and walking around and talking to them and seeing what else they need. So daily, I will get up and walk around and speak to people at their desk, and try to figure out what they need, what’s happening in the marketplace, what are the hottest things, whatever it may be, so I can keep everyone going along on a nice, successful route – and one of the most important parts about that is keeping everyone’s spirits up.
Q: What have been your best recruitment strategies over the years? How do you recruit top agents?
A: Everyone has their own strategies to recruitment. Some people believe it’s money, some people believe it’s splits, I believe that people work with people that they like, they know and they trust.
The most important part about recruiting is retention of your own agents. Agents are actually your most successful recruiters. When the agents maintain a culture, which is created within the realm of the managing broker, they tell agents that they should come work at the office. So you get like-minded agents all the time.
Q: Going forward, what are your main goals for the office and its place in Chicago real estate?
My goal for the Lincoln Park office in Chicago is to be the largest office in the city, both in volume and transactions. We have a journey ahead, and we will win this journey.
“I appreciate the fact that Chuck has created a culture here at our office that is open and not competitive and conducive to sharing and exchanging information. I also appreciate the fact that all I need to do is list and sell real estate and Chuck has a staff here at the office that takes care of everything else. I feel so fortunate to have Chuck as my managing broker, and there is no one that I would rather work with. I have every intention of finishing my career with Chuck and am thrilled with everything that he does for me and for our office.”
–Ian Schwartz, Broker Associate, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage