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I’ve spent a considerable portion of my real estate career focusing on professional development for our agents. Not only is it critical in supporting their continued success, but it has been very rewarding to witness their individual accomplishments from a business perspective.
We often focus on increasing sales volume or number of units or moving from tiers of performance levels. We recognize top-performing agents by their output, usually in financial terms.
And this approach makes sense when thinking about an agent’s performance as a business. But we can often lose sight of how a business fits into a community, how it becomes part of the fabric by providing a valuable service to people. As real estate professionals, we offer so much more than simply handling the financial aspect of a transaction.
That’s why I made a conscious effort to shift how our company recognizes agents. Rather than focusing on output, we focus on what our agents have put into their business, clients and community.
By celebrating our agents for their significant contributions to local organizations and our community, we can increase awareness of their work and help them reach more people.
Some of the ways we currently do this include recognizing them at monthly Town Hall meetings and at our annual year-end celebration, featuring them in congratulatory videos, and posting about them on social media. We also plan to include them in upcoming blog posts as we develop that platform in 2022.
Here are a few agents we have recently recognized across Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Kansas City Homes’ various communication channels.
Georgiane Hayhow, Team Leader and Associate Broker, Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Kansas City Homes
Georgiane Hayhow is very active with Children’s Mercy Hospital, which played a critical role in caring for her late husband early in his life. He had his first open-heart surgery when he was just two days old.
In addition to serving on the board and volunteering in the gift shop every week, she donates a portion of her profit from every home sold to the hospital. She also hosts “Be Day,” held on the weekend closest to her late husband’s birthday. It’s a reminder to be kind, be generous, be loving — just as he was.
Her team, alongside clients and friends (both local and those who travel to participate), sets up a day of service. In 2021, they packaged 10,000 diapers for Happy Bottoms, made 500 activity kits for patients at Children’s Mercy, and donated over $4K in school supplies for Cornerstones of Care.
As a widowed mother of four, Georgiane understands how much focus and help is needed to raise children, and many of her community efforts support causes that provide children with as many opportunities as possible. She was introduced to many of these groups during a two-year leadership program with the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce.
She has told me that while she is only one person and can only do so much, she hopes that her enthusiasm for helping others is contagious and others are encouraged to do the same. It’s clear that her business offers a wonderful opportunity to spread the word on helping others, and, in turn, that good karma comes back around.
Heather Bauer, Realtor, Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Kansas City Homes
Heather’s soft spot is for pet adoption, and she has devoted countless hours to several different animal rescue organizations within the Kansas City metro area. She has always had a love and passion for animal rescue and has volunteered at different places all over the county for nearly 20 years. She has fostered bigger dogs, and most recently cats, for more than 18 years.
She donates a portion of her proceeds of each home sale or purchase to a rescue, shelter, or charity organization of her buyer or seller’s choosing. The majority of donations go to the rescue community.
Bauer volunteers by walking shelter dogs and never misses a week! The joy in seeing her fosters go to great homes is truly remarkable and she considers her foster animals her “kids.” She says there’s no greater reward than to watch the animals transform out of a bad environment and into a good one.
Bauer works almost solely on a word-of-mouth referral basis now. More than 75% of her clients know her from the animal rescue community.
Adrienne Fisher and Amy Hiles, The Fisher Hiles Team, Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Kansas City Homes
Adrienne and Amy, who work together as a top producing team, support a number of organizations they are personally connected to, including many schools, the Girl Scouts, and the Kansas City Ballet. They also work with a veterans organization, a center for visually impaired children, and several religious causes.
Hiles recently renewed her nursing license to assist with COVID vaccine and testing clinics. The common thread among all the groups is that both women believe in their missions. Giving back is part of their mission as well and they find it fulfilling, especially when their efforts directly impact an organization and make their community stronger.
In addition, Fisher and Hiles have found that their volunteer work has expanded their connections within the community and led to greater exposure, which supports their business.
Event sponsorship is particularly beneficial because it creates multiple touchpoints with the community. Taking time out for volunteering also helps this hardworking team maintain balance.
I love that each of these examples shows that giving back to the community is most powerful when it is authentic to the volunteer. It’s also an effective way for professionals to personalize themselves as a way to stand out in the market, which of course reflects positively on the brokerage as well.
And of course, I believe it is important to recognize the amazing work of our agents as a way to strengthen our team, support retention and make our company an attractive brokerage for potential recruits.
As our society places greater importance on how companies give back, I encourage you to think holistically about your agent recognition programs to better reflect the total value they bring to our communities. Aligning your company with these evolving attitudes about philanthropy ensures that you remain relevant to those that you serve.
Christian Barnes is President and CEO of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Kansas City Homes and an active leader in local, state and national real estate associations. Follow her on Instagram and LinkedIn.