Jamie Duran

Jamie Duran Photo by Thomas Wasper

Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage values longevity, which is easy to understand at a company that has been in business for more than 100 years.

So, it’s not surprising that Coldwell Banker in early 2019 turned to Jamie Duran — who has served in a variety of capacities during her 30 years with the company — to manage its Los Angeles operations.

Duran, the president of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Southern California, now oversees more than 70 offices, including 25 in L.A.

She took on the role Feb. 1 after serving as the company’s president in Orange County, Riverside County and San Diego. In the last four years, Duran has opened seven offices and brought in an average of 600 new agents a year.

She spoke with the Business Journal about her new role and her plans for Coldwell Banker in L.A. The company ranked No. 1 on this year’s Business Journal list of residential brokerage firms by sales volume after raking in $11.3 billion in sales in L.A. County and selling nearly 7,700 properties in 2018.

How has your role changed since you added L.A. to the list of offices you oversee?

We actually doubled our agent count, our office count and our volume count. For me personally, it’s been taking on another full region and really doubling down.

What initiatives have you led since starting?

We’ve launched so much this year. Our strategy has been to simplify our business in order to move faster and reduce the complexity of the industry and really strengthen our value proposition, including doing more lead generation, more cultural connection with our agents, and full service for our agency and clients.

A couple years back, a couple presidents and I in the Western Region sat down together trying to really simplify the broad strokes of value propositions that we provide being such a great big company.

We have so much to offer our agents and consumers. We sat down and white-boarded how we could simplify the offerings, and we created a program called the COR4 value proposition. It was created to help our agents and clients live an exceptional life. … We packaged it into four buckets: One is production power; one is coaching for confidence; we have our culture of awesomeness; and then we also have our wealth-builder bucket. It allows us to be fully engaged and translates to our clients out in the field.

Can you tell us about the RealVitalize pilot program that you’re running in Los Angeles?

It’s a home improvement, no interest, no fee program for sellers which allows them to have some money upfront to sell their property. Statistics show that doing home improvements to your property prior to selling your home gets you a higher value to your property. We want to partner with the home sellers to help them do that.

The company is routinely the top residential brokerage in L.A. by sales volume. What makes it so successful?

It starts with a very transparent culture and collaboration of the team. It starts with the leadership, not just above me, because we have incredible leadership nationally, but you really need to bring in the leadership of the local president and attract the talent at the regional vice president and management level. And then you bring in the talent of the sales force and combine that with all the tools and resources at Coldwell Banker. That is really the magic recipe of how this is working.

What does next year look like for Coldwell Banker? In 2020, more of the same and really digging deeper with more of the things that we rolled out this year and continuing to pilot and beta test. The other relationship we just announced is the Amazon collaboration called TurnKey, which is where our buyers and sellers can go on and partner with Amazon and Coldwell Banker to provide them with smart home packages — thousands of dollars in smart home packaging. We also just announced an AARP relationship — an affinity program where we are giving back cash bonuses.

Because of our size nationally, we are able to benefit locally. Our mantra going into 2020 is focusing on organic growth; making sure our agents are really digging deep into all the tools and resources; and making sure our talent pool and our talent sales force is fully equipped to execute on growth personally and their own directives, our seller directives and the company directives.

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Jamie Duran, President, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Southern California

There seem to be a lot of top brokers moving to different brokerages this year. How do you attract and retain talent?

Form the sales force perspective, we really focus on the value proposition. There are companies out there that haven’t been here for over 100 years like we have. We have the stability and the staying power. We don’t focus on the quick fixes and some of the things that are going on out there in our industry.

We are really here for the long term. We are focused on attracting the talent that gets that service model of providing true value, not just for the agents, because really we serve agents, but also for the consumers.

The consumers understand that exposure of their property is the most important thing in marketing a property. We do it the best. We have 900 websites. We’re out there. We’re on television. We’re on social media. We’re in print. We cover all the aspects for consumers. That’s how we attract the best talent out there.

Have fears of a recession affected the way you operate?

No. I’ve been doing this way too long and so has this company. There are natural ebbs and flows of real estate. It’s proven to be a cyclical business. These things come and go. We’re not really worried about it. That stuff happens, and we just have to provide for our agents and our consumers like we always have and stay the path.

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