For Jenny Ames, CEO and license partner at Engel & Völkers Chicago, encouraging agents to build relationships that reach beyond transactions is as important a focus as sales. “It’s responsibility and a different mindset,” she told Chicago Agent earlier this year, explaining the unique business philosophy of Engel & Völkers. Now, she and her team have been recognized for just that.
At the company’s annual EVX ceremony, held in Las Vegas on March 8, the Engel & Völkers Chicago shops received a special, surprise honor: the Global Network Award, one of four Pillar Awards bestowed for accomplishments beyond sales. The Global Network Award recognizes the shop which most successfully embodies the collaborative Engel & Völkers concept: effectively utilizing Engel & Völkers marketing platforms while working to promote the brand, not only in their market but nationally and internationally within the referral network.
“Essentially, it’s about leadership within the larger global network,” Ames said in a recent interview with Chicago Agent. “We are a truly global company and we have a very active referral business going back and forth. Also, our shops are iconic.” The original Engel & Völkers Chicago shop, on Fullerton and Clark, is a recognizable storefront with clean white architecture. And while it’s a unique sight locally, the shop adheres to the company’s strict European style guide. “We make sure that our shops are very elegant and embrace the brand standards of the company,” she said of the look.
But of course, there’s more to it than aesthetic. “[It’s] also the quality of the brokers who joined our firm. It’s about the caliber of people,” Ames said. “It even comes down to their messaging on Facebook. We’re a really enthusiastic group … and the more enthusiastic we are on social media, the more referrals it generates.” Relishing in the role of brand ambassador, Engel & Völkers Chicago helps those who are moving away by matching them up with high-caliber brokers in other markets. Their recent Pillar Award honors those collective networking efforts — a particular feat for a shop which opened just three years ago.
“The fact that we were selected as one of the top four companies among 275 is really astounding,” Ames said. The EVX event in Las Vegas included Engel & Völkers partners and advisors from around the world, with award-winners hailing from both the Americas. And though the team at Engel & Völkers Chicago knew they were eligible for multiple sales decorations, the announcement that they’d won the Global Network came as a surprise. The prize was then passed out on the main stage in front of all 1,300 attendees. “We were all blown away,” Ames said. “We, the leadership of the Chicago company, really feel so blessed to be in this network and with this great group of people.”
Moving forward, Engel & Völkers Chicago plans to continue expanding their outreach methods. In June, the shop is hosting a pride summit for LGBTQ license partners, advisors, allies and guests from around the Americas, and in August, they are hosting a Midwest leadership summit for other Engel & Völkers shops. Efforts like this are, in part, what earned the shop its recent recognition. “Some people work in their bubble and don’t think outside their neighborhood or sphere. But as a company, Engel & Völkers really encourages [reaching out] — and it’s paying off,” Ames said. “This award is an acknowledgement that we really are finding ways for our advisors to grow business exponentially in the long term.”