Thoughts on Leadership: Explosion 2018

By Gino Blefari

This week my travels started in Minneapolis, where I had a board meeting with our HomeServices of America, Inc. leaders and from there it was off to Omaha—home of our own Warren Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway Inc.—for a great conference called Explosion 2018, held at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Ambassador Real Estate and hosted by the brokerage’s CEO Vince Leisey and his team.

With members of the National REthink Council at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Ambassador Real Estate’s Explosion 2018.

Vince’s company is the ideal place to hold an event all about exploding business to the next level of success; he’s a leader singularly focused on two key concepts: coaching and culture. For Vince, (and I agree) a strong emphasis on both will create an incredible foundation for recruiting, retention, profitability and sustainable growth. He’s set on building a culture that inspires and pushes for personal development and it’s working. His company was recently recognized as having one of The World’s Greatest Cultures and was honored on the popular television series World’s Greatest.

He also believes in creating an office environment that encourages individuality—and if you’ve ever been to his mega office in Omaha, a sleek, modern and collaborative space, you’ll know this objective is working. Vince provides his agents with built-in support and advanced training, so they’re constantly learning, constantly growing and constantly evolving with ever-changing business models, industry trends and consumer demands.

Speaking of training, Explosion 2018 kicked off Monday with an office tour and really began Tuesday morning with opening remarks from Vince and breakout sessions focused on key issues affecting real estate. Top-producing agents Adam Briley (Ambassador Real Estate) and Jeff Cohn (Ambassador Real Estate) led a session on how to build a team; Vince and Mary Lee Blaylock, president and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties, led a session on how to build a great culture for your company and Excelleum Coaching and Consulting’s Debbie De Grote and Victor Vaca led a session on how to triple your database and referrals. From team-building to culture-building to client-building, all major topics were covered to ensure attendees gained knowledge to take back to their businesses. The morning was rounded out with a panel discussion moderated by Debbie and Vince, which included top-producing agents—Tim Anders of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Michigan Real Estate; Tasha Moss of Ambassador Real Estate; Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Georgia Properties’ Tonya Jones and Greg Miller of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Michigan Real Estate—explaining their best practices and advice.

In the early afternoon, attendees could choose between three breakout sessions: lead generation, moderated by HSF Affiliates Director of Global Network Training Bob Watson; how to work with luxury buyers, featuring some of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices’ best and brightest sales professionals working in high-end markets and with high-end clients (Deb Cizek of Ambassador Real Estate, Shauna Covington of California Properties, Cindy Forehead of Ambassador Real Estate and California Properties’ Kat Hitchcock, who also serves on the national REthink Council; and a session about the importance of mental health led by Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Utah Properties’ Jake Breen, a National REthink Council broker advisor. Additional topics covered that day included: how to get listings in a low inventory market, how to use video, how to prospect, how to increase your average sales price, Facebook advertising and how to use ads to capture leads, the importance of client appreciation and managing sales expectations.

With Ryan Clark, manager at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Blake, REALTORS®; Brian McKenna, branch manager at Blake, REALTORS®; and Allan Dalton (“Mr. Say”), HSF Affiliates senior vice president of research and development at Explosion 2018.

Wednesday was another information-packed day at the conference and I was honored to present with HSF Affiliates SVP of Research and Development Allan Dalton. In our discussion, Allan was Mr. Say and I was Mr. Do.  Allan treated the crowd to the importance of what you say, and I talked about the importance of what you do.

Our presentation was followed by several breakout sessions and the event closed out with the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices National REthink Council members presenting on best practices. Tiffany Curry (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Anderson Properties); Andy Blake (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Kansas City Realty); Kyle Hannegan (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Select Properties); and Rachel Skradski (Ambassador Real Estate) were featured on the panel. The motivated and hard-working agents shared their very best advice for how they’ve been able to achieve such high levels of production (and spoiler alert: teams and team-building weighed heavily into that conversation). And I have to say, kudos to all of them for serving the council and inspiring the network.

So, what’s the message? Explosion 2018 solidified the belief that with proper coaching and a strong culture, a company can thrive. Proper coaching means having an open mind to constantly learn something new—and instill it into your everyday habits and business practices. (It was also an incredibly charitable endeavor, raising $5,500 for the Sunshine Kids.) Culture means creating an environment marked by optimism, collaboration and an inherent undercurrent of personal development. Always strive to be better. Never settle or mire in complacency. Remember what I say: Once you think you know it all, your slide to mediocrity has already begun. Explosion 2018 proved that while we certainly don’t know it all, together we can learn, grow and achieve to explode our business and enhance our lives.

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