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Leading Real Estate Companies of the World: Leading the Way

Nov 3, 2010

Posted by

Charles Dahlheimer

Recognized as one of the industrys leading visionaries, Dahlheimer is publisher of The Real Estate Professional magazine and The Real Estate Executive Summary.  He co-authored Real Es Read more

Leading Real Estate Companies of the World®  has been a dominant force in the real estate industry for years.  Market conditions have changed – and continue to change.  Trends in brokerage models have come and gone.  The way we communicate with home buyers and sellers and within our firms is continuously evolving.  Through it all, Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® – or LeadingRE – continues to strengthen its global footprint, serving as the network of choice for the some of the biggest names in the business.

Comprised of nearly 600 real estate firms with 150,000 sales associates in the U.S. and 30 countries, LeadingRE’s membership includes many of the most productive, highly successful firms around, and its board of directors is a virtual “Who’s Who” in real estate – led by Chairman Harold Crye of Crye-Leike, Realtors. (See "LeadingRE Board" in Supporting Information at end of this article.) The privately-held company is based in Chicago, owned by nearly 40 of the world's strongest independent brokerage firms.

Last year, network members sold nearly 1 million homes worth $250 billion, which is more than any national real estate brand.  The group has a commanding presence on the REAL Trends 500 and has more of the Number One market leaders in the top 90 markets than any national brand.

How does LeadingRE – with roots extending back nearly 50 years – continue to attract market leaders who see real value in being independent, locally branded, and affiliating with the network, including many recent franchise converts?  To start with, its value proposition to its members is unique, providing extensive business resources that support all areas of a brokerage, while allowing firms to retain their independent status.  Its hybrid business model offers most of the advantages of a national franchise brand with freedom to achieve local customization.

The organization has a singular focus, as LeadingRE President/CEO Pam O’Connor explains:  “With each business decision, we consider our mantra:  ‘Making the best brokerages better.’  Before we implement a new program we question whether it supports this goal.  It helps us prioritize our offerings and has empowered us to create programs that have a strong appeal to the quality brokerages we serve – and those we are trying to attract,” O’Connor said.

Institute 2.0

The network is making some bold moves with two noteworthy new programs introduced at the network’s recent Fall Workshop series. The first is Institute 2.0, the next iteration of LeadingRE’s outcome-based, future-focused learning initiative for brokerage leaders and sales associates guided by LeadingRE’s Chief Learning Officer Mike Staver of The Staver Group. 

“Institute 2.0 provides a rich array of online course content on the fundamentals of leadership, sales and service, along with ever-evolving situational education on everything from online reputation to dealing with difficult sellers,” O’Connor said.  “The program also provides opportunities to integrate these tools with a member’s existing professional development resources to achieve a world-class Learning Management System unmatched by anyone in the industry.  This provides a very compelling offering our brokers can make available to their associates, helping them achieve the next level of success with higher productivity, thereby supporting the brokerage’s recruiting and retention efforts.”

Our World

The other new tool is OUR WORLD™, an exclusive web-based community that fosters interactive learning and collaboration.  OUR WORLD™

 allows LeadingRE members to engage with colleagues and other members for idea-sharing and informal learning.  OUR WORLD™  offers communities for various audiences with common interests, within their companies and with the network as a whole. 

“In our Facebook society, the way people learn, interact and connect is dramatically different today than it was even a year ago.  People trust their peers and colleagues more than traditional information sources.  Institute 2.0 and OUR WORLD give them an environment where that can happen, by sharing the tremendous talent in our network in real time,” notes O’Connor.  “OUR WORD™ is unique in that it is ‘the business side of social’.”

In addition to Institute 2.0 and OUR WORD™, LeadingRE offers a full array of tools that support brand enhancement, lead generation and professional development – along with numerous business systems and programs.

In the area of brand enhancement, LeadingRE offers a variety of customizable listing and marketing collateral materials and advertising tools that reinforce the pedigree and power of the Leading Rea Estate Companies of the World® global connections.  The network also has an active public relations program to generate publicity and raise awareness of the network and affiliates’ expertise.

Further enhancing the company’s brand – and reflective of the network’s dominance in the luxury market – is the Luxury Portfolio Fine Property Collection

® program for 200 of LeadingRE’s brokerages known for their expertise in the affluent segment of the market.  This awarding-winning website,, features more million-dollar-plus listings than any of the major luxury real estate websites and is supported by highly targeted worldwide advertising to affluent consumers.  Luxury Portfolio is a frequent advertiser in The Wall Street Journal, with a presence in the U.S., European and Asian editions.

Lead generation is a core network strength. Long known for its highly productive broker-to-broker referral network, LeadingRE members send 30,000-40,000 referrals each year, with an industry-leading conversion rate of 40%. 

In recent years, the company has focused on additional lead generation opportunities, including strategic websites that drive traffic to member sites.  Its home listings site drives more than half a million visitors each month to member sites using a targeted SEO strategy and traffic generated from member websites.  


Another program aimed at capturing the increasing number of home buyers searching online is Propopoly, a broker-branded, full-service agent-blogging-made-easy platform.

“The power of Propopoly lies in its ability to leverage the power of the agent’s local market expertise and the buyer’s migration toward highly specific online searches to engage buyers online,” comments O’Connor.  “The program allows the agent to develop a reputation as the online expert, while strengthening the company’s brand as ‘the firm with more real estate specialists.’  We have had some great success stories on closings generated from contacts made on member Propopoly blogs, and agents can even voicemail their blog posts rather than write then if they choose.”

LeadingRE helps members maximize online opportunities through educational webinars and training materials, as well as with sessions at its conference focused on internet lead conversion.  The network continually raises the bar of member websites by offering a Website Quality Certification that evaluates member websites and provides best practices guidance from Web usability experts at the prestigious University of Chicago.  All of these initiatives are designed to drive more traffic and resulting leads and sales to member websites.

Corporate Relocation

LeadingRE’s   corporate relocation management company, RELO Direct®, Inc., provides a unique strategy empowering affiliates to leverage their local business relationships to capture corporate accounts in partnership with RELO Direct®.  The company’s one-of-a-kind RELO Partner® program features shared account management and has generated a number of new accounts in the past year representing hundreds of corporate transfer referrals for LeadingRE members.

Another top priority for LeadingRE is professional development, which the network supports through its popular national and regional  conferences, numerous training certifications, CEO Exchange groups for brokerage peer reviews and idea-sharing,  and of course its compelling online learning management system, Institute 2.0 and the OUR WORLD™ informal learning online community platform.

“All of our professional development programs are designed to help our members elevate their performance through content that addresses the specific objectives of sales associates, managers, brokers and relocation staff.  By offering courses in a variety of mediums on the most timely topics, we help our members to be as effective as possible in serving the needs of today’s home buyers and sellers,” O’Connor notes.  “We continuously update our offerings to reflect changes in consumer preferences, market trends and technology.”

Annual Conference

The group’s annual conference is widely-regarded as one of the best in the industry, drawing a attendees from across the U.S. and abroad.  This year for the first time, two new events were incorporated into the annual conference:  the Sales Managers Leadership Symposium and a MarTech event for marketing and technology professionals.  The 2011 conference, scheduled for March 8-11 at the Cosmopolitan Las Vegas, promises to be another highly successful event.

To ensure its members have access to best-in-class service providers in a variety of areas ranging from insurance to technology, the network offers a vendor alliance program, Leading Real Estate Solutions.  These carefully-selected business solutions offer special pricing and other exclusive member benefits.

The list of resources available to LeadingRE members is comprehensive and continuously evolving, adjusting to the ever-changing market to remain a vital key to the ongoing success of its members. 

In keeping with its name, Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® recruits only the best of the best among locally and regionally-branded firms.  As O’Connor concludes, “Just as we require our members to meet performance standards in order to retain membership, we strive every day to continue to offer programs that provide real value to our member firms, their staffs and associates and – most importantly – to the home buyers and sellers they serve.”