4 Steps for Brokers to Harness the Power of Diversity in Their Business

by Alexander Chaparro


Alexander Chaparro is the director for multicultural and growth markets for Century 21 Real Estate.

Real estate brokerages across the country understand the demographic base of real estate practitioners is rapidly evolving. ADP recently published that for the first time in U.S. history, we have four generations in the workforce adding to the multicultural mix. Today’s successful brokerages understand the need to be inclusive, to attract and retain a multicultural, multi-generational and international sales force.

Ask yourself one question – are you ready to meet the consumer needs of the largest emerging buying segments of the real estate market? In 2014, the Hispanic population totaled 55.4 million, and is up 2.1 percent as of 2015. Those numbers are expanding, and that means more household formations. Statistics across the board are showing that the multicultural and Millennial markets are growing, and will soon dominate the marketplace. It’s important to take an inventory and determine if your office is ready to attract and retain a sales force that can serve a market that is becoming more and more diverse.

As a subject matter leader in the diverse market space, here are a few tips that you may find useful.

1. Call to Action – When building a diverse sales team, it is important to have an office that welcomes fresh ideas and has an environment of prosperity and success. Century 21 Real Estate, for instance, fosters a “SMARTER. BOLDER. FASTER” agent mindset and approach. A culture of success is a critical component to attracting top sales associates from all walks of life. It is important that the messaging is supported by the culture and mission statement of your company. One of the first steps to recruiting is developing a clear call to action!

2. Know Your Stats – Trends and market conditions are constantly evolving. Position your company to be able to spot where the opportunities are. To be a top recruiter, you need to be able to identify trends and be ahead of the curve. An understanding of the stats will be one of your No. 1 tools for recruiting, merger and acquisition, and retention. You need to be ready before the market needs arrive. Do not find yourself behind the trend.  Studying the stats will enable you to be preemptive, positioning you to be ahead of the market. My advice, simply put, is to be a student of the market.

3. In Language – One of the most important aspects of serving an international or diverse market is being able to offer our services “in language.” Translations and critical marketing provided in different languages can have a significant return on revenue. Many brokers make it an essential aspect of their recruiting plan to recruit sales associates who speak the language of the markets they wish to serve. The term “in language” can mean having sales associates who speak the language, as well as marketing material that is translated. Check your local and state Realtor boards for translated forms and documents.

As part of a strategic recruiting effort, one of the offices in the Century 21 System has attracted sales associates from across the globe who speak more than 20 languages. This office is ready to serve a diverse and global market. The question is – are you?

4. In Culture – Let me share a story that paints the picture and clarifies the meaning of “in culture.” I have the privilege of being licensed as a Realtor for 22 years. My licensing instructor shared a story that opened my heart to a call to action and gave me the fuel for a successful 22-year business. This instructor was a very successful Realtor and attorney who only spoke English.  He mentioned that he was one of the most successful Realtors in Chinatown serving Asian clients. Often, he would have to hire an interpreter at critical parts of the transaction. He told me, “giving great customer service and a keen understanding of the culture is as important as speaking the language.” Being a market leader, offering excellent customer service is understood universally.

The international and multicultural homebuyer is looking for an advocate who understands the individual needs of customers. That can manifest itself within the transaction, such as the family bringing a child translator, Feng Shui beliefs and family decision making. The broker needs to be sensitive to those cultural nuances.  Many Latinos and Millennials look for their parents or friends to be a validator before they move forward with the transaction. Those consumer needs are non-negotiable; your sensitivity to these cultural nuances are what can help you be successful within the diverse markets.

Please stay tuned for my next blog on local, state and national resources and organizations you can leverage to assist you with your multicultural recruiting efforts. It’s important to stay in front of the curve and be relevant in the marketplace. Below are four multi-cultural trade organizations that can be a first step in breaking into a new market. Opening doors to diversity is smart business, consistent with fair housing and the right thing to do.

NAHREP – The National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals.
AREAA – The Asian Real Estate Association of America
NAREB – The National Association of Real Estate Brokers
NAGLREP – The National Association of Gay and Lesbian Real Estate Professionals.

Alexander Chaparro is the director for multicultural and growth markets for Century 21 Real Estate. In that role, he services over 13 states and 400 offices. Alex’s professional accomplishments include serving as a past president of the Chicago Association of Realtors, making him the first Latino to hold the position in its 130 year history; he was later elected to the nation’s largest Latino real estate trade organization, The National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals (“NAHREP”) and was named by Hispanic Business Magazine as one of the nation’s “100 Most Influential Latino Business Leaders.”

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  • Jacob "Jake" Reyes says:

    You have pretty well covered the building blocks of a well diverse brokerage, Alex.
    Once the brokerage is established, you did cover the continued education on the latest market direction.
    (Adelante Mijo…)

  • Jeff Lape says:

    That is very well put Alex. I have found that my greatest experiences with clients come from those ones I feel in tune with. It takes effort sometimes to learn where different people are coming from, but the effort always seems worth it once the connection has been made. I will definitely make more of a conscious effort to work on those skills after reading this piece. Thank you for sharing.

  • Catalina Agyepong says:

    I believe to be of service to others one must gain knowledge and experience to develop the skills to work in a diverse community. Being successful is making an impact in one’s professional field by reaching out to our diverse community in Chicago and using the necessary resources to provide quality customer service.

  • Dulce Ramos says:

    I agree with you. Because numbers are universal, I think you can really bridge with other people by showing them that you care about them and want to understand their culture.

  • Jesse gibbs says:

    Great article. This is very important in the markets we service and points out some key areas for us to focus on. Thank you!

  • Esther Sotelo says:

    This is valuable information considering there are now more minority children born in the U.S. than Caucasian according to the Census. We have an ever growing need to hire and license individuals who will become the light to their communities, focusing on educating rather than just “closing the deal”. As an investment advisor representative, I see all too well the injustice of the lack of education administered to minority communities due to the lack of diversity in the representatives of the investment industry. Thanks for the timely information!

  • earl ruthman says:

    Nice article. Having personally worked with Alex to grow my agent base I have seen first hand how developing a diverse agent base leads to developing a diverse client base. My office is home to 75 agents who speak 30 different languages. Benefit? Our agents find it easier to get listings because our diverse sales force taps into all markets, and even more than that it is an exciting and empowering environment to work in with so many diverse backgrounds all helping and working together. great article

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