When you knock on someone’s door in Spain, the person on the other side will say, “alante,” which means welcome, come on in – or more literally, move forward.
This sentiment is the driving value behind ALANTE Real Estate, a small, Northeastern brokerage in Plymouth, MA, with Spanish roots.
ALANTE’s founder, Susana Murphy grew up in Spain. She started selling real estate in the U.S. in 2005, after owning marketing and recruiting firms. In the years that she worked as an agent under a different brokerage, she noticed that she was being tasked with more and more things that in many cases pulled her away from what was most important: serving the client.
“People were hiring me for me,” she said. “They trusted me and were passionate about what I could help them with.” Yet the distractions of having to do everything from lead generation to marketing to transaction management made it difficult to focus on just that.
She thought, why not start her own brokerage in which she could take the onus of marketing, technology and all the shiny new objects away from the agents so they could focus on the service they best provide and the reason customers hired them?
In 2013, ALANTE Real Estate was born.
Building a modern brokerage team
Susana wanted the ALANTE brand to be synonymous with a welcoming, familiar and spectacular customer experience. She set up her brokerage to accommodate.
“I don’t believe you can be one person doing the job of 25 people and do them all well,” Susana said. That’s why her first hires included a marketing director and transaction coordinator.
This would take the weight of marketing and closing off the shoulders of agents and free them up to focus on exceptional service and relationships. In the process, her agents get marketing and closing services from people who are knowledgeable at those things.
“Everyone is hired to do what they do best,” she said.
Value to the agent
Susana’s in-house team manages all the marketing so she can ensure a consistent level of quality for photographs, design and communication of brand messaging. “When our agents get hired, they feel confident in saying to clients that they will provide professional marketing for their property,” she said.
This also helps reinforce the ALANTE brand.
The in-house team also provides clients and agents a clear view into the status of their home sale or purchase. Each client is set up in Basecamp where they can see an 89-point checklist of things taking place in the marketing of their home or in connection with their transaction.
They also use Basecamp in the closing process to detail all of the various steps and provide transparency into what’s going on. “This is how we show them things are not going to fall through the cracks,” she said.
Welcome, come in, move forward
In the first year, Susana’s done a great job building culture and meaning around the ALANTE brand.
Her agents and staff identify with each other as a team. They coordinate outings and times to kick back and have fun together to build a more in-depth sense of comradery
“We do team nights once a month,” Susana said. “We go to the beach… invite the whole family. That sort of thing.”
And the welcoming spirit is evident from the first second of entering the ALANTE office. Each visitor is promptly greeted, shown around, and given a quick explanation of what type of company ALANTE is and what they stand for before they’re even seated or connected to an agent.
In keeping with a strong focus on friends and family, Susana also encourages time off so agents can keep balance in their work lives.
“You can have a family and take a vacation and yet still make a nice income,” Susana said. That’s core to the brand’s values.
ALANTE is just getting started. Susana plans to grow to about 15 agents in the next year. Her main goal, though, is to create and maintain a brand that people think of when they want a consistently exceptional experience.