Q&A with President/CEO Randall Kostick
posted on June 5, 2018 at 10:50 am
Zephyr Real Estate President/CEO Randall Kostick recently sat down for an interview about the Zephyr culture. Below are select excerpts from the interview.
Zephyr Careers: Everyone at Zephyr I talk to uses the word “Family” to describe the company. It’s not like you have it written on a wall somewhere do you?
Randall Kostick: It’s funny you say that, but no we don’t. A lot of our competitors talk about collaboration, support, technology, and these have become almost cliché in the real estate industry. But one of the things I love about Zephyr is these things exist at Zephyr. And it’s all about the people that are here. It’s not just the management that’s here, it’s also the staff that’s here. We intend for everybody to be partners and to blend in and to work together. So that kind of creates an atmosphere where people are sharing with one another, and working together. It’s still a highly competitive environment, but you can have a competitive environment where collaboration is still going on. And I think it very much exists here, and we frequently have had agents come from other companies, and when they come here they say ‘I had no idea that this environment existed, and had I known I would have come here much sooner.’ I love to hear that because it just reinforces that we have a great environment to work in.
ZC: And that’s backed by the retention too, right? When people come here they stay here.
RK: Yes, this is an industry where people frequently jump from one company to another. That is something we have been successful in avoiding. People come here and stay here. Our staff stays here, our agents stay here, our management stays here. And they stay here because it’s a great work environment. It may sound like it’s unimportant, but having fun where you work is critical. There are psychological studies that prove that if you’re happy in the environment you’re in you’re going to be more productive. And we’re just fortunate to have a very positive, very supportive environment where people can take what they have, grow it, and do something spectacular.
ZC: Is the culture pretty much the same in each office?
RK: Let me start by saying, each office has its own flavor. And that has to do with the people that exist at each office. That’s what creates that flavor. But when you walk into a Zephyr office, you know you’re walking into a Zephyr office. The appearance of the offices is consistent, the professionalism is consistent, and the expectation of everyone in each of their roles is a known quantity. So everybody is working to collaborate with one another and to do what they can do and help where they can help.
ZC: Is there a personality type that works best at Zephyr?
RK: Yes, perhaps to explain what personality type works best, I should describe what personality type doesn’t work best here. Personalities that would not do well here are personalities where there’s a lack of collaboration, where there’s hidden information, where people are so cutthroat they don’t want to share with one another. One of the things I love about Zephyr is people at every level are willing to collaborate. Some of our very top producers are willing and happy to participate on panel discussions, meet with other agents, answer questions for them, even though they’re very busy people. If you have a great atmosphere, a positive environment, where people are happy and productive, it just feeds on itself.
ZC: How does Zephyr help agents achieve greater success?
RK: We make sure that agents are as knowledgeable as they possibly can be when they start out as agents. I believe it’s very important to have agents who are not only productive, very experienced, but also newer agents. They can complement each other, they can form a team. When an agent first arrives at Zephyr they go through a very intensive agent development training. It’s typically new agents, but agents joining from another company who have never been through a training can also participate. Our training program is unlike any other I’ve heard of, certainly in the Bay Area. After they’ve gone through the initial training and coaching that we offer, we’re also looking to help middle producing agents achieve even greater results by going through a program called The Clinic. And The Clinic is about going back to fundamentals, revisiting what works and what doesn’t, and examine through accountability what is going to help them take their business to the next level.
ZC: And how about the support staff available to agents?
RK: We have an amazing support staff. Our support staff is well-trained and they’re well-informed. Technology has entered into our arena so deeply. so our staff needs to understand all the software that we’re using, they need to understand all of the connections that agents are going to be making and why agents do what they do. We have two retreats with staff each year to help orient them to what the agent experience is like so they can better understand these people who are working day and night on real estate sales, and most importantly help them get to where they need to get.
ZC: How do referral partners give Zephyr an edge on the competition?
RK: About ten years ago we decided we needed to focus more on luxury sales. We intentionally built our brand in the luxury arena, and we began to connect in the luxury arena, in terms of affiliations. We became a member of the Leading Real Estate Companies of the world, modeled after Leading Hotels, really kind of a luxury approach to the business. And we’ve also become members of the San Francisco Luxury Marketing Council, and last year we were awarded number one brokerage in San Francisco by the San Francisco Luxury Marketing Council, which was just a great honor, and a wonderful achievement for us. We’re also a member of Mayfair International, which is based out of London. This gives agents the ability to be local, and yet be connected with affiliates, not only throughout the United States but throughout the world.
For more about Randall and the rest of the Zephyr leadership team, click here.