And Service for All
CB Richard Ellis expands its definition of who it considers a client—supreme service for which it stands
CB Richard Ellis (CBRE) is the world’s premier, full-service real estate services company. It has been providing real estate owners, investors and occupiers who represent an array of industries spanning the globe since 1906. Its 100th year anniversary calls attention to a record of astounding achievement and begs the question: what is success and how did this industry leader undeniably obtain it?
“We define our success by understanding what our clients need and incorporating their success matrix into our strategies and tactics. When they’re successful, we’re successful,” says Chris Ludeman, CBRE president of U.S. Brokerage at the Los Angeles headquarters who has been with company for 25 years. “When people traditionally think of a commercial real estate firm, they think it’s all about money. Our best people will say it’s not: It’s about the people. The money follows, it doesn’t lead.”
If only every business operated under this value—the importance of prioritizing clients and employees above monetary gain. When people are treated well and feel valued and understood, they become long-term customers and work hard, ultimately forming a winning team.
CBRE’s reputation for excellence in serving clients starts on home turf, with more than 19,500 employees at 356 offices worldwide. What’s the cache? If you don’t take care of yourself, you can’t take care of someone else. “Service to employees—it’s absolutely the best,” says Perry Bassett, a client and private investor who was with CBRE for nine years and a top producer in Tucson. Sales personnel are taken to educational events, supported through ongoing education, regularly recognized for their ascendancy and rewarded at ceremonies for levels of achievement. “It’s not like there’s a hierarchy,” adds Bassett, “like you’re an enlisted man verses an officer. If anything, salespeople are held in higher esteem than management. And that’s reflected in every company activity.”
CBRE’s healthy internal corporate culture, its strong core value in people first, permeates through its employees to its clients.
“The quality of service is excellent. They’re very professional,” says Vice President of Kitchell Development Co. Jeff Allen, who has done hundreds of millions of dollars of business with CBRE over his 16 years with the company. “Many of the brokers have been there for 20 plus years. It’s the most experienced commercial real estate brokerage firm in the state.”
When asked if there is anything he’d criticize about CBRE, he quickly answers, “No. We love our brokers. It’s a valuable service they bring to the real estate community.”
CBRE’s reputation for consistency, predictability and superior execution is due in part to all of its salespeople. They’re fully immersed in the market, constantly current on the latest in their specialty field.
“We do our best work when we become an indistinguishable part of our client’s executive team,” says Ludeman. “When we can be seen by clients as an extension of their own employees and strategic advisors, it demonstrates we understand their business opposed to them understanding ours.”
Like many of CBRE’s staff, Tyler Anderson’s tenure of more than 20 years has allowed him to observe and testify to the company’s service over time. The top producer says, “It’s our culture to ensure the client is always put first and meet their needs. It’s a people business that’s relationship driven. Through great relationships there’s great trust created and reliability.”
Mike Sandahl, another 20-year veteran and top producer in Tucson sums it up best: “Honesty and integrity has made us a valued partner in our clients’ business. It has helped us to achieve success not only for our clients, but lead to the success of CB Richard Ellis in both cities.”
|Why it works
CBRE sales staff undergo a rigorous screening process, one-year training program and ongoing education throughout their careers. They are considered by many to be the top providers of real estate market knowledge on the planet. Because everyone is required to specialize, clients glean the expertise from a number of deep wells rather than a shallow, expansive pool. Find out what these experts say has allowed their company to offer stellar client service.
When Rich Rodgers worked in commercial real estate for another company, he says he had to “sell himself” to get a listing. In the ‘80s when he worked at CBRE in Tucson for nearly five years, he says, “I didn’t have to sell the company because everyone knew its reputation; whoever is working for the company is professional. So I didn’t even need to sell myself,” which was half the battle.
The sheer number of salespeople alone who have been with the company for a long time enhances the depth and quality of expertise. “We have more than 20 people who’ve been with the company for 20 years or more,” says Tyler Anderson, a sales professional in CBRE’s Phoenix office.