PorchLight Real Estate: Insider insight and a new approach
Two partners set out to "fix real estate"
(Editor's note: This is the second part of a series intended to give business leaders, founders and executives greater insight into building a great workplace. Read Part One.)
PorchLight Real Estate co-founder and co-owner Amy Bachelder Bayer was a top-producing realtor in Denver from 2000 to 2007, averaging more than $10 million in annual sales. As an insider in real estate, she routinely experienced challenges or obstacles that prevented a truly great experience for customers and agents.
Declaring they were going to “fix real estate;” Amy and partner Carol Freyer Bayer went about finding a way to do just that, by designing a better way to do business.
Since opening its doors in 2005, Colorado’s PorchLight Real Estate has received much recognition for being both a top workplace and a fast-growing company. (Porchlight was a 2016 ColoradoBiz Colorado Companies to Watch.)
The success enjoyed by PorchLight started with asking questions focused on service, versus productivity or profitability.
"For many customers buying a home is the largest financial transaction in their life. Our question was: How do we have the experience be better for the customer? Our answer: We free the real estate agent to focus on what they do best – relationships and serving the customer," Amy says. " When agents suffer so does the customer. We want to take off the agent’s shoulders all of the tasks that they don’t love or that they struggle with – leaving them to be great with their strengths. In many ways, our agents are really our primary customers."
She says another question was: How can we make it easier for their whole life to work while they are being successful as an agent or team member?
"Our answer: We have a personal growth mindset in our culture. We have included an in-house education system, personal coaching supporting their goals outside of work (as well as their work goals), and a wellness program," Amy says. "We know that our team support staff, those serving the agents, sometimes see working at PorchLight as a means to an end, so we support their success to achieve their end goal, whatever it is."
PorchLight’s success is built on a whole person and whole life approach, where better customer service and company performance rests on the foundation of individual team member whole life success. In Amy’s observation and experience, when individual team members are progressing and realizing their personal goals in all areas of their life (not just their job), this circles back to stronger positive company culture AND better customer relationships, service and results.
PorchLight agents are always full-time, which perhaps makes the whole-life approach even more important.
“Because of their passion for finding the perfect home or buyer for each of their clients, they complete many transactions a year," Amy says. "When they are able to give outstanding service to their customer, without sacrificing the important areas of life, they have the experience of being filled up [fulfilled] as a person.”
For innovative leaders, pioneers and pathfinders like Amy, finding a better way to do business never ends. She is excited for their new technology innovations that have and will continue to enhance and ease work for the PorchLight team.
Amy works from a whole life approach with her goals as well and has a long track record of stepping beyond her company with her leadership.