— We take our content seriously. This article was written by a real person at BREL.
OMG, OMG, OMG.
We are thrilled to announce that the BREL team has been ranked the 83rd Fastest-Growing Company in Canada by Canadian Business Magazine’s Growth 500 list.
Between 2012 and 2017, the BREL team grew by a whopping 1,030%.
But wait…doesn’t the BREL team rail against all these ‘#1 REALTOR’ awards? Why does being named to the Growth 500 matter?
The real estate industry loves ‘awards’, but the truth is that most of them are BS. The “#1 REALTOR awards” you see everywhere almost always reflect an internal sales award (e.g. #1 in an office of 25 people) and many “Top Agent” TV shows, magazine features and awards are actually purchased, not earned.
But the Growth 500 is the real deal.
For 30 years, the Growth 500 ranking of Canada’s Fastest-Growing Companies has been Canada’s most respected and influential ranking of entrepreneurial achievement. Using verified revenues over a 5-year period, the Growth 500—formerly known as the Profit 500—profiles the country’s most successful entrepreneurial businesses.
We’re in good company in the Growth 500: previous winners include Canada Goose, Shopify, the Ten Spot, Sunwing Travel Group, Dominion Lending Centres and Sirius XM Satellite Radio Canada. You can see the complete 2018 Growth 500 list here.
Most importantly, 1030% growth means Toronto Buyers and Sellers like what we’re doing…and that thrills us.
So what sets BREL apart from the rest? What’s allowed us to grow so fast?
1. We’ve built a brand that Buyers and Sellers love and a reputation that is second-to-none in Toronto’s real estate industry.
You know what they say…”your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.” (Jeff Bezos, Amazon).
We have more than 400 5-star client reviews (yes, you read that right: four hundred) …and that sets a pretty high bar.
But it isn’t just about social proof and reviews for us—it’s also about delivering a buying or selling experience that is so awesome, our clients can’t help telling their friends about us.
We built our business’s promises, services and inclusions to reflect what we believe today’s Buyers and Sellers want: responsiveness, availability, convenience and as stress-free an experience as possible….and Toronto Buyers and Sellers responded.
Why our 5-star reputation matters to BREL clients: Our 5-star rating means the world to us, and we’ll do whatever it takes to keep it.
2. We’ve invested in the systems, training, staging and support to attract the best agents and staff, and in turn, the best clients.
1030% growth in 5 years wouldn’t be possible without being able to attract the very best talent. Our agents are hired for their passion for service and their commitment to delivering awesome experiences. They’re real and transparent…and they’re obsessed with details too.
Our agents are also hired for what they DON’T have: egos, high-pressure sales tactics and anything-for-the-commission mindsets.
The best agents attracting the best clients? That’s good for business.
[This is the appropriate time for a huge shout-out to our agents: Kristin, Matt, Dena, Tyson, Halina, Lisa, Allie and Jenny, plus our non-agent staffers: Zun, Kiel, Jim and Zoe. You guys truly are the best!]
Why our systems, staging, training and support are good for BREL clients: The kinds of clients who work with BREL appreciate the value that comes with hiring a top agent. They understand how our expertise in staging, marketing and negotiation translates into real $$ in their pockets, and they want to align themselves with the best-in-class.
3. We had a “growth mindset” before that was even a thing.
Learning and growing are in our DNA.
We’ve been attending international marketing and real estate conferences for years—in fact, these days, you’re more likely to find us on the podium than in the audience. In the next few months, you’ll find us speaking at the U.S. National Association of REALTORS Conference & Expo in Boston, the REALTOR.com Summit in Las Vegas and the ReSAIL Conference on board the second biggest cruise ship in the world.
As lifelong students, we embrace every learning opportunity that comes our way. From our monthly team training days to our Certified Negotiation Experts designations; we also have a business library that rivals the best. And I did I mention our coach? We work with one of the best and most exclusive coaches in the industry.
But it isn’t just about us—we believe in helping our peers raise the bar of our industry too. For the last seven years, we’ve run Toronto Real Estate 2.0, a huge cross-brokerage Facebook group for Toronto agents looking to ‘level-up’. And this past summer? We gathered 90 of our peers from across the province at our home in Prince Edward County for a day of very un-conference-like learning and sharing. We’re collaborators, influencers and thought leaders—even with our competitors.
Why our commitment to learning is good for BREL clients: It makes us better agents—and better agents deliver better service to their Buyers and Sellers.
4. We don’t just embrace change and innovation in the real estate industry; we lead it.
In breaking non-news: the real estate industry is extremely outdated. Since our first days in real estate, we’ve railed against archaic technology, tactics and attitudes:
- We were among the first paperless agents in Toronto (in an industry that still uses fax machines today and refers to ‘paging’ other agents)
- We built our brand online, through original content people actually want to read (in the face of our many competitors who still consider websites “online business cards”)
- We embraced social media (surrounded by those who still wonder out loud if they need a Facebook page or Instagram account)
- We were first in line to defend the public’s right to access sold data information (despite our Board spending years and millions of $$ trying to prevent it).
Why innovation is good for BREL clients: Our Sellers benefit from unmatched exposure of their homes online and on social media and More Eyeballs = More $$. BREL clients enjoy the conveniences of electronic signatures and know that we’re on the front lines fighting for more transparency in the real estate industry.
Being named to the Growth 500 isn’t just the result of the BREL team being awesome. We get a lot of help.
It’s no coincidence that the years of growth reflected in BREL’s Growth 500 award (2012-2017) correspond to our first five years with our brokerage, Sage Real Estate Ltd. Sage was—and is—a big catalyst for our growth.
As a boutique brokerage, Sage sees opportunity in the real estate industry much the same way that we do:
- They see the potential for serious real estate marketing, beyond cheesy headshots, flip-phone listing photos and balloon branding
- They embrace technology and innovation
- They recognize how teams are changing the landscape of the industry, and are working to support their particular needs
- They know there’s a difference between being a REALTOR and building a business.
Sage’s in-house marketing agency is staffed with incredibly creative and talented designers who smile through our crazy demands, turnaround times, and shifting priorities. [Thank you: JP, Jenna, Shelby, Karen, Alicia and Dave – we ❤️ you!]
And the admin and support team? Second-to-none in the real estate industry. Thank you: Gaby, Olivia, Faiza and Krista for making us better (and putting up with us).
And of course, there’s the Sage management team: Larry, Brad and Evan. Thank you for coming along on this ride with us – we couldn’t have done it without your wise counsel and advice.
So what’s next for the BREL team? We predict: world domination 😄