We recently sat down with the GM of Compass Brokerage, Rory Golod, on our show Real Estate Moguls to discuss the 7 key elements that launched Compass into the top 20 markets in America.

Here are his 7 secrets to creating and growing a successful brokerage:

67 Strategies to Get More Referrals

1. The People

Rory joined Compass in the Fall of 2014 after meeting with the CEO of Compass, Robert Reffkin, through a mutual connection. When Rory’s then girlfriend, now wife, asked Rory what the company does, and what his position would be, Rory couldn’t answer the questions in detail, but he knew he wanted to work at Compass. And why is that? Because he believed in the people.

A great company should be evaluated by the people. You should want to work with them, and believe in their mission. Rory asked himself, if the company were to pivot and move into a new area, would be successful? The answer was a resounding yes because the people at Compass were talented, visionary, and willing to push themselves.

2. The Company’s Vision

Compass’s evolution from its initial model of rentals, to its more traditional mortgage brokerage model, shows the company’s willingness to listen to their audience, and a mission that aligns with their audience. The mission was to solve the problem of struggling with the rental process in Manhattan.

They initially believed themselves to be the customer, but realized they needed to step back and really define their audience. They asked themselves, “Who is our audience, and what do they want?” They came to the realization that their clients wanted the expertise and guidance of a great agent, and pivoted towards today’s traditional mortgage brokerage model with their agents as their audience.

67 Strategies to Get More Referrals

3. Aligning with Your Audience

One of the most defining and biggest moments for Compass came from Compass co-founder, Ori Allon. He realized that their agents were their audience. So, with the capital they had raised, and the talented people they had hired, Compass could focus those resources on helping their agents make more money. From that point on, they believed that every decision, idea, and direction must align with what their agents wanted. Listening to their agents, and aligning with them has been a crucial element of their success.

Everything Compass has done since then has been based on agents needs; the recruitment process, company culture, the technology development, marketing, everything!

4. Strong Leadership

Robert Reffkin possesses a number of traits that make for a strong leader. One of the most essential traits is his emotional connection. He’s driven by helping people based on his own experience growing up with his mother, who was an agent. He saw the struggles firsthand, which motivated him to improve their experience.

Secondly, he is customer driven and pushes the company to think on that level. His guiding value – learn from reality – ensures every decision is made with the agents in mind. He believes in going out, asking questions, and learning from the customer’s experience, rather than making assumptions and creating plans while huddled in an office. He measures the success of the company on the experience of the agents.

Thirdly, Robert understands where they are today, where they want to go, and how to explain exactly how they’ll get there. His success with investors is based on his ability to share the vision and a clear plan of execution that is grounded in reality and research.  

5. Custom Experience

Typically agents are required to use anywhere between 12-14 systems to run their business, which isn’t optimal for success. Compass’s vision is to integrate all of those systems into one in-house platform for agents to use to beginning to end. The intention is to streamline the process, manage workflow, and provide services for before and after the transaction. For instance, if a client is moving, an agent can click a button and send all the information to the moving company, including dimensions and schedules.

Customizing the platform and integrating various systems onto one platform, based on the agents’ needs, creates a better experience.

6. Value

“The way you become a better company isn’t nickel and diming your customer. The way you become a great company is creating a tremendous amount of value for your customer and therefore your customer will want to stay with your product and use your company for a long period of time.”

When you’re able to provide better services, clients are happy and willing to pay for that. Offering more value on the front end means an opportunity for agents to make more money, and to save time. Services such as Compass Concierge, which covers the cost of staging, and cosmetic repairs, helps agents prepare and sell properties faster. Betterment Funds are interest-free loans that allow agents to build their business. By investing in the agents, developing excellent services, and streamlining the process, Compass increases and reinforces the value.

7. Company Culture

Culture is a lifestyle, and that culture, or lifestyle, at Compass is all about entrepreneurs building for other entrepreneurs. Typically people don’t pick an agent just because they sold x number of homes. They choose an agent because they sold x number of homes and because they connect with that agent on a personal level. The more authentic an agent is, the more clients will want to work with them. It’s all about building authentic, lasting relationships.