This week, we turn the spotlight on Coast/Sperry Van Ness with offices in Everett and Seattle, Washington.
1. What has been your strategy for growing your firm and also your market share?
We’re structured a little differently that most SVN firms as we have a sizable property management sister company and a private equity investment arm associated with us. A full 30% to 40% of our twelve Advisors’ leads come from house referrals due to these and other linkages. That level of consistent referrals allows us to offer them what is effectively a base salary, so it’s a big advantage in our advisor recruiting efforts. We love the culture of cooperation, tools, and network with SVN, but driving business to our Advisors and then supporting them as they work on their business plans is how we recruit effectively. Growing this business, after all, is about building on “same store sales” (helping our advisors keep increasing their gross commission incomes) as well as growing by head count (recruiting).
2. What are some of the unique activities you do to motivate your team?
None. If I have to motivate them, they’re in the wrong shop. We only bring in people who can write a strong business plan, stick to it, be accountable, and are hungry. If they have an off year, we work with them but if they string a few together, we are intentional about helping them find another career. Like a football team, we have a “next man in” mentality and if a player is off his/her game and not making plays, we bring in someone who can. Fortunately, nearly all of the people we’ve recruited have stayed.
3. What’s been the biggest challenge in how you run your business over the last few years?
Time. I’d like more time to meet more prospective Advisors, recruit them, and work more closely with my Advisors. We’d like to get to 18 Advisors and hold there. I’m four away from that target today.
4. How many Advisors/Staff did you have when you joined SVN? How many (in total) do you have now?
We started with eight in 2007 when we joined SVN. I terminated anyone who couldn’t produce a business plan six months later that showed they wanted to earn at least $150K gross commissions the next year. That policy brought us down to three very good ones and since then I have been steadily growing it to our current size of twelve. I couldn’t be prouder of the quality of Advisors we have in our firm– each one of them.
Tom Hoban, Managing Director
Coast/Sperry Van Ness
*All Sperry Van Ness® offices are independently owned and operated.