This week, we talked with Greg Kiely, vice president and brokerage manager with Sotheby’s International Realty.
Boston Agent (BA): You manage over 50 agents and staff members. What advice can you give new managers who are struggling to keep agents motivated and working towards the same goal?
GK: Keep the channels of communication open. All managers need to sit down regularly with each of their agents (individually) and dig into the agents’ perspectives. Brokerages are like the houses we sell; they aren’t perfectly designed for every single occupant, so we have to play to shared strengths and overcome obstacles. As a new manager, I remember being scared to ask the tough questions about what my agents did or didn’t like about how the office was structured. Now, after five years of bumps and bruises, it’s one of my most comforting questions. The answers to this question provides me with something to work on every day and allow me to show up with purpose to solve problems and improve processes. From there, creativity and follow-up are critical.
BA: What qualities are you looking for when you recruit new agents? How do you determine who will be successful in your office?
GK: I try to understand from interviewees what their previous successes are and where in their background those successes grew from. I also want to know where they’ve struggled and how they’ve overcome those struggles. Each of my most successful agents are the type of person that adamantly refuses to be knocked down, despite the challenge. I look for a bit of that fire in a new agent. When I see a willingness to be outgoing, an ability to communicate casually and professionally and a refusal to let outside factors control outcomes, I recognize the makings of a great sales agent.
BA: A recent study from WalletHub just ranked Boston as one of the top 10 cities for real estate agents to work in. In your opinion, why do you think the city’s market is so appealing for agents?
GK: Boston is an appealing market for so many reasons. First, there is an incredible range of property and neighborhood types — luxury estates, urban multi-family investment properties, student housing — with such diversity there is always an opportunity for agents no matter where we are in the economic cycle. Second, the thriving medical and biotech industry along with our world-class teaching hospitals and institutions of higher education contribute to a strong employment base that’s critical to the real estate market. Third, while Boston is an impressive urban city, it offers access to mountains to the north and spectacular shorelines to our south. Personally, I think Boston has it all, and it seems that lots of buyers agree. When I started my real estate career in Boston at the age of 25, I would have never imagined ending up “down the Cape” but the market here is fed by the opportunities created by the thriving Boston market.
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