Operating an independent brokerage can be lonely. Every day indie brokerages rise and fall because they’re so focused on money – hiring anyone and everyone – that at the end of the day they’ve lost sight of their agents. For Bay area based broker/owner of Abio, Linnette Edwards, the bottom line is focusing on how to better serve her clients by helping agents improve the buyer and seller experience. Read on to learn how this bay area agent managed to build an indie brokerage by agents for agents… and grew fast enough to open up her second office in the process!
Culture is Key
I’ve always been an early adopter of new technologies and exploring new digital marketing strategies, but something that truly sets us apart at Abio is our focus on culture. When we had an opportunity to open a KW office, our desire to grow our culture steered us into deciding to do our own thing instead. Abio is actually a Spanish derivative of Abierto which means open… and our culture is just that: very open and collaborative. We’re focused on how our team leaders can improve on truly listening and supporting the agents, which has been one of the keys to our success.
On Going the Indie Route
We decided to go indie because it allowed us the flexibility to focus on culture (we knew that a strong culture is critical to retaining agents long term). We also focused on hiring agents local to the market, and maintaining a flexibility and openness to trying new technology solutions.
Starting with Technology
Being an early adopter of technology, I tested every CRM in real estate and when they fell short, I decided I was going to build my own. The problem was, even after building our own CRM through Salesforce, it wasn’t able to perform the way that we were looking for things to get done. Then we found CINC.CINC is the secret sauce to Abio because it supports our agents and gives them what they need to nurture and follow up with leads to close. And while it’s not the 10 out of 10 of where I want it to be today, without a doubt it’s leaps and bounds ahead of where everyone else is – and for good reason. I love that CINC actually listens to agents and applies that feedback directly to building upon and improving the platform. It’s not just a platform built by technology people – it’s a CRM built by Realtors®.
Making it Our Own
We rolled out CINC to our agents with a dashboard called My Abio, which is incredibly scalable for a mega agents. We didn’t want it to be so serious, so we white labeled it so agents could relate to it and feel a connection to it. We even had an image of Fabio on it! We positioned Abio as the secret sauce to helping agents convert, and it was incredibly well received because it feels more custom than a cookie cutter solution. We tell our agents that we custom built it for them, because if you want people to actually use it, you first have to build it and then take the time to understand how it works for your specific brokerage.
We just opened up our second office but we’re being very intentional about our growth. We went the indie broker route for a reason, so we don’t want to be huge… we want to stay boutique and focused on our agents, our culture and our technology. If we do that, we’re in it for the long haul!