The glistening, gray lobby buzzed with excitement. A screen stood in front of the signature orange wall, white leather Eames chairs lined up in rows. Agents were milling about, chatting, laughing and sharing stories of their holiday escapades. The sales meeting was about to begin at Chase International’s Reno office.
Monise McCabe cruised through the crowd offering a friendly hello to everyone. Sitting down behind the projector, she checked the slides and adjusted the focus one last time. Eric Crosby joined her to confirm a change in the agenda. Moments later, an agent pulled him aside to ask a question about a pending transaction.
From Restaurants to Real Estate
Eric Crosby has been managing Chase International’s Reno office for the past 12 years. Following in the footsteps of his father, a broker for over three decades, Eric began his real estate career in 1989 at Lake Tahoe while still in college.
After graduation, he worked for his dad for a few years before deciding to launch his own venture. A commercial real estate transaction that Eric brokered led to his opening a restaurant in Incline Village that he owned and managed for several years.
Later concluding that real estate was a better fit for him, he sold the restaurant and moved to San Diego. There he managed a franchise real estate office for a friend.
“That’s where I learned that I wanted to be manager,” said Eric. “I liked management because I like serving my agents the best I can. A lot of that I learned through restaurants. Restaurants are intensely service-oriented, much like real estate.”
The Power of Reputation
A year-and-a-half into his new position, Eric’s father fell ill. Soon it became clear that he needed to move back home and help his father close his business, which he did.
It was a difficult time for Eric. But looking ahead, he knew he needed to find a good company to work with for himself and for his family. A friend who worked for Chase International persuaded him to meet and have a conversation with Shari Chase.
“My father had always said, ‘If I were to ever work for another company, the only person I’d work for is Shari Chase,’” said Eric, “So, I always had that in the back of my mind.”
The conversation went well. Eric started at Chase as an agent to get his foot in the door, and after about a year, he moved into a new role as the career development manager. Soon after, he replaced the existing manager of the Reno office.
Agents were still abuzz when Monise stepped to the front of the room. Comfortable, composed and always smiling, she welcomed everyone to the first meeting of the year, summarizing the agenda for the next hour.
How to Stay in Tahoe
Monise moved to Tahoe when she was 21 and found a job at the Hyatt in Incline Village. She thought the area was so beautiful she didn’t ever want to leave.
A few years later, she was laid off and happened to see an ad from a top luxury agent looking for an assistant. As someone who enjoyed the supportive, administrative side of business, she thought, why not?
Monise got the job and from there, her career took off. She ended up building her own administrative business around real estate, supporting several agents by producing flyers, doing photography, hosting open houses and other activities as requested.
“Then one day, I was recruited by Kerry Donovan from the Incline Village office,” said Monise. “She had an office administrator position, and she had remembered me from when I worked at the Hyatt. At that time I was going through a divorce, and I looked to the universe and I said, ‘I need help. I need the right job, and I need to support my kids.’ Chase was it. I never looked back.”
Finding and Filling the Gaps
After her first couple of years as an office administrator, Monise noticed that there was a need for transaction coordination. Agents were doing a lot of luxury business, and they really didn’t have any assistance with the paperwork side of it.
So she started helping a few agents, and it grew. Monise continued in her office administrator role, also managing transactions on the side. Five years later, she was looking for an opportunity to grow.
“I really loved being a transaction coordinator,” said Monise. “Chase didn’t have one, and there seemed to be a need companywide for my services. So I proposed the idea to our COO, and he said yes. I moved to Reno and started the Transaction Management Department that’s still here today.”
At the same time, Monise took on the task of relocation coordinator. She had a lot of connections with agents in the Reno office and really got to know them. An observer by nature, she watched what was happening there and became aware of a need.
“Eric is an amazing broker,” said Monise, “but the office was growing, and there just wasn’t enough of him to go around. I saw how I could fill that void and pick up the pieces that he wasn’t able to handle on his own. So again, I reached back out to the company and said, ‘I think I would be a really good fit’ and they said yes.”
Sunlight pouring into the lobby, Eric took over the next portion of the meeting, piloting through a plethora of new listings. Agents pitched properties to their colleagues, some quite colorful. Eric peppered in the occasional joke, yet still kept everything on track.
Supporting Agents as Clients
Eric’s number one goal is to be the model manager that he wanted when he was a sales associate. He supports his agents, whether by phone, text, email or however they want to communicate, ready to go to bat for them if necessary.
“I treat my agents like an agent would treat their client,” said Eric. “If an agent comes to me, it’s like a client coming to the agent with something important on their mind. No matter how big an issue it is, I need to be there to respond to it. That’s my commitment to my agents, and they all know that.”
But support isn’t just about picking up the phone. Chase offers a number of valuable tools to help agents better service their clients buying and selling homes.
“First and foremost, our technology platform is superior,” said Eric. “We’re always on the forefront, introducing the most recent tech in the industry. We also have an in-house marketing department, affiliations with luxury brokers worldwide, and we have Chase Academy, offering educational programs almost every week.
“Recently we introduced Ninja Training to elevate the client experience, and we do it twice a year. I’ve personally have been through a lot of real estate training programs, and this is by far the best program that I’ve ever seen in the industry.”
Contract Expertise on Demand
One of the most valuable skills Eric offers to agents and their clients is contract expertise. When he first started 12 years ago, he spoke often with Corporate Broker Sue Lowe, asking question after question.
Now he doesn’t have to. Short sales, foreclosures, and the hundreds of transactions his office does monthly have taught him how to handle just about any situation.
“Probably my favorite thing to do in this position,” said Eric, “is to help my agents through difficult transactions. I’m fortunate to have gone through pretty much every kind of transaction there is in our marketplace. Sometimes I even end up coaching the broker on the other side, maybe swaying them in our direction.
“Negotiation is like a game. It’s fun for me. I was raised playing sports, and contract negotiation is almost like a sport. We learn by past experiences, and we teach our agents how not to get in trouble.”
The office meeting continued as Chase International COO Alan Scearce stepped to the front of the room.
An accomplished trainer and today’s guest speaker, he asked, “Can you remember the last time you experienced extraordinary customer service? Do you remember that moment and what it felt like? This is what we need to create for clients.”
He launched into a series of stories illustrating exactly how to achieve these wow moments, as Eric, Monise and the agents listened.
Amazing Leadership and Support
Monise now co-manages the Reno office and also serves as Relocation Director. She enjoys coaching agents, collaborating with Eric and networking with colleagues.
“Chase Reno has an amazing leadership team,” said Monise. “Eric and I support each other every single day, and we each have our own strengths. There are things Eric does really well that I’m not so great at and vice versa. So we’ve got you covered no matter what. If you have a fire that needs to be put out, or you need coaching, or you have questions about technology, or you need a business plan, we can help.”
A full-service brokerage, Chase offers plenty of boots-on-the-ground support that help agents better serve clients.
“We have a transaction coordinator, Kristen, who does an amazing job,” said Monise. “She’s passionate about the details and is a wonderful resource, so that agents can spend their time working with clients instead of dealing with paperwork.
“And our receptionist, Sherry, answers every single call with a smile. She’s known all over town as the happy receptionist, because she truly loves what she does.
“Then there’s Gina, who’s been our office administrator for years and takes great care of our agents. We’re very lucky to have her.”
Agents are further supported by a full suite of services that include marketing, technology, finance, legal, mortgage, title, commercial and property management.
Regional and Global Alliances
Monise notes that Chase is a member of some powerful alliances that benefit both agents and clients.
“Our biggest affiliation is Leading Real Estate Companies of the World,” said Monise. “an exclusive group of independent brokerages, like Chase, who are vetted and invited to belong. We’re in 565 cities across the United States and 65 countries worldwide. Collectively, we do more referral business than any of the top franchises nationwide.”
“These alliances enable us to better serve our clients, no matter where they are,” said Monise. “So whether it’s your mom in Florida or your client that just moved to Arizona, we can introduce them to a Chase-like agent almost anywhere on the planet. It’s a great service that provides security and confidence, because now clients don’t have to Google and guess who to work with based on random reviews.”
The Artisan Group is another important, exclusive Chase connection that benefits both clients and agents. After observing the synergy between the Bay Area and Reno-Tahoe markets, Shari created this alliance. Member brokerages meet twice a year to share best practices, refer business and exchange market intelligence.
A Fun Family Culture
Eric considers the Chase culture critical to its success, so he is mindful about maintaining it in the Reno office.
“We organize fun events at least every other month,” said Eric. “We’ll host a barbecue in the summer, the ugly sweater white elephant party for Christmas, and we have a phenomenal company holiday party up at the lake every year. We’re just always having fun. It’s a fun environment.
Eric notes that real estate agents are typically independent contractors who run their own businesses and keep to themselves. In San Diego, he definitely felt that.
But at Chase it’s different. They treat each other like family. Every agent in Eric’s office will help each other, and the same is true for anyone throughout the company.
“Honestly, I love everything about being here,” said Eric. “I love the people. I love the management, the staff I work with, the leadership group, the agents—Chase is a family, and you can really feel that.”
The Chase Secret Sauce
Culture is one of the main reasons Monise has been with Chase so long. It’s the X-factor that can help someone reach their true potential. A good culture will support not only growing your business but developing who you are as a human being.
“From the agents we’ve attracted to the leadership team we’ve created to the family atmosphere that we cherish,” said Monise, “our culture of collaboration is so strong. It’s obvious when you walk through our doors.“
She says it all comes down from Shari Chase. Monise credits Shari with teaching her to care about the whole person and their complete growth, both professionally and personally.
“I think a lot of brokerages may not address this,” said Monise. “They’re more about production and closing transactions and making money, and while that matters, there’s more going on here.
“Shari taught me about goal setting and being a visionary and really putting intention out to the universe about what you want to attract. Thoughts in your mind become behaviors and actions that lead to results. So when you come from a place of abundance versus scarcity, it really does have an effect on your success.”
Agents With Heart
“We’ve had 31 years of amazing success,” said Monise. “Shari created a beautiful brand with a global presence, recognized by many in the industry for being exceptional. If you’re an agent, that can open doors and provide you with opportunities that other brands cannot. So, even if you haven’t sold luxury before, the brand can support you getting there. Anything’s possible with Chase.”
Monise looks for agents who have a passion for real estate and for helping people. She says it’s not just about selling homes. It’s about creating relationships.
“Being a real estate agent is a noble profession,” said Monise, “because you’re assisting people with making a very important financial decision they may only make three times in their entire lives, if that.”
Agents who get excited about helping people navigate the emotional process of buying or selling a home, who strive to create an incredible experience around one of these life-changing moments—those are the people Monise wants to talk to.
“It’s not about the money,” said Monise. “When you make it about the experience and the people, the byproduct will be commissions, and the business will come to you because your heart’s in the right place, doing it for the right reasons.”
The Door is Always Open
Inevitably some agents move on for various reasons, perhaps due to a move, retirement or a seemingly better offer from another broker.
Eric said he’s had a few agents leave who later called, feeling embarrassed, asking if they can come back to Chase. What they typically tell him is that it’s not the same family at the other office, that it truly is an independent relationship, and that the agents in other firms aren’t like the agents we have here. That’s the common theme.
“We had an agent come back,” said Eric, “who left for what appeared to be a fantastic opportunity with another broker. After being gone for a few weeks, she called me and asked if she could come back, and I said, ‘Of course you can come home.’ When we announced that she was back at our company meeting, everybody stood up and applauded. She cried, and it brought tears to my eyes.
“When we say, the door is open, come home, we mean it.”
The Reno office meeting concludes with applause, as agents begin to disperse. Several pitch in, rolling chairs back to the conference rooms, as others grab more coffee and continue collaborating. Eric and Monise are quickly swept into conversations, which clearly they enjoy.
The energy is high, the buzz omnipresent—just another day at Chase International.