Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Strong and Growing

Here is a recent article published by the Tulsa Business Journal regarding Chinowth & Cohen's strong growth.

Strong and Growing
By Tulsa Business Staff - 4/27/2009

While many in the real estate market seem to be cowering in the face of doom and gloom recession headlines, Sheryl Chinowth seems a bit more confident. And with good reason: Chinowth and Cohen Realtors, the residential and commercial real estate firm she co-owns with her husband, Lee Cohen, finished last year with a 16-percent increase in revenue over 2007 and what Cohen estimates as at least a three-point gain in market share. Furthermore, since opening just four and a half years ago, the firm has expanded its operation from 25 agents to 310, 260 of which are full-time employees. They also have 20 office staff. “We really believe our growth is going to continue,” she said. “It’s like one of our agents told me the other day, the Chinowth and Cohen market is doing fine.”

Knowledge is Profit
Chinowth said the main factor that sets the firm apart is knowledge of the market.
“You have a firm here where both of the owners grew up in real estate families, and both of us have also been top producers,” she said. “Some companies just are run by people who have never been agents themselves, they just don’t have the knowledge of the industry it takes to move ahead.” She and Cohen are trying to expand that knowledge. “Lee and I do research across the country so that hopefully we have a good handle on what’s coming down the road before it gets here,” Chinowth said.

The pair will get a hand in that research now, having been recently inducted into the Leadership Council, a prestigious real estate CEO exchange group. Founded in 1987, the Leadership Council meets twice per year for an idea sharing session and comprehensive review and critique of the host member’s company. “Most of the firms that are in this organization have been around for decades,” Chinowth said. “It says something about us that such a young company has been voted into such an elite group.” Chinowth and Cohen are doing their best to pass that knowledge down to their agents, offering a slew of courses and seminars. “We have two full-time trainers on staff, and we have 52 classes running on a continuing basis,” she said. “We want our people to have access to the latest technology and techniques.”

Mega Marketing
Even more than education, Chinowth and Cohen’s success could be chocked up to tremendous marketing efforts. “We have one of the best PR and marketing staffs in the industry,” Chinowth said. In an effort to stay on the leading technological edge of their industry, she and Cohen have turned to the Web as their marketing front-line. “We have the fastest-growing real estate Web site in the industry,” she said. “We are the only real estate web site with a blog on the front page. Most companies say, ‘Hey, you want to blog, fine, make a blog.’ We want our people all contributing to one blog for two reasons: so they don’t have to write an entry every day — they can be selling instead — and so our customers can read it. They get a flair for what our associates are like, and it keeps people coming back to the Web site.”

The company also shows all of its listings, interspersed with small featurettes on buying, selling and market trends, on a slickly-produced cable and broadband broadcast, publishes its own real estate magazine, and has a kiosk set up in the Woodland Hills Mall next to Starbucks.
“We found that when people walk into the mall, they tend to have a purpose, and usually pass kiosks set next to the entrances,” Chinowth said. “Where we have our information set up, we have sort of a captive audience.”

While these extensive marketing efforts are certainly not cheap — Chinowth wouldn’t reveal how much the company spent on marketing, but said it was “probably more than anyone else” — it achieves its purpose. “We want to have a constant stream of information available to people,” she said. “The less marketing our agents have to do, the more they can be out selling, and the more successful they can be at it.”

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wonderful article Sheryl and Lee! I'm very glad we got to know each other last year. Congrats!


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