Patrick Conner: Focused on Relationships, Inside and Out

Patrick_ConnerVitals: London Properties
Years in Business
: 47
Size: 9 offices, 345 agents
Region Served: California Central Valley
2017 Sales Volume: $1.034 billion
2017 Transactions: 3,053

Dan and Paula Conner started the family-owned brokerage London Properties in 1971, and their son, Patrick, grew up around the business, though he never had any thoughts on joining the company. Yet, in 2018, Patrick is president of the Fresno, Calif.-based firm.

“I came back from college in 1992 and we had a new subdivision going on at the time, and I was drawn in,” explains Conner. “I really like helping people grow. Having grown up in the business, I saw a lot of salespeople make it—and a lot who didn’t—and I’m always looking at what the brokerage could do to better support people and attract the right people who may have a higher likelihood of succeeding.”

Last year, London Properties, which ranked No. 226 in sales volume in RISMedia’s 2017 Power Broker Report, saw strong numbers in terms of units and volume, and a big part of that success comes from its strategy of bringing in top people.

“One thing we have focused on in the last 3-4 years is the type of people we are attracting to the company and getting them on board with the right activities,” Conner says. “For us, in 2017, a bunch of things crystalized in terms of those we brought in and helped grow their business.”

When looking for new people, Conner goes back to a book he read a couple of years ago, Patrick Lencioni’s “The Ideal Team Player,” which helped him decide which managers and agents were most compatible.

“The idea is to recruit people who share the same qualities and values,” he explains. “We always try to compete on value, rather than price, and we have a lot of systems set up for salespeople—we tend to create these systems rather than going out and paying for ancillary systems.”

For example, London Properties has an in-house marketing department (Reliance Marketing) with five full-time people, so associates don’t need to go online to find companies to do their bulk mailing, advertising, brochures or client follow-up programs.

By curating data, industry news and market reports, then “packaging” it for associates via marketing material (daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly), the company can save agents a ton of time and help them be that trusted advisor their client needs.

“We also have our own CRM,” says Conner, “which is really important to us and our salespeople. We even do all of our associates’ websites.”

The right tools and training, he adds, help associates deliver better service to their clients and focus on their income per hour.

“We create a great environment that encourages people to get to work,” adds Conner. “We do this with weekly ‘skills group’ classes, high-energy and informative sales meetings, smart and resourceful sales managers, and technology/marketing training classes.”

Conner calls the firm more “relational” than “transactional,” and over the past two years he has deployed the Ninja Selling system for training.

“There are a lot of great trainers out there and that has been key for us,” he says. “We’ve embraced materials more focused on these relational sales.”

London Properties has also had a mortgage company for 30 years, and 14 years ago opened up an insurance agency, so it does personal insurance for home and auto, which helps with providing a complete customer experience.

“We’re trying to increase the touches to our clients for our overall team,” he says.

In 2018, London Properties hopes to continue to add the “right people” to the environment. The firm is finishing up a renovation of a historic home in Hanford, a neighboring city of its Fresno main office—a space that will become its 10th office come April.

“The biggest opportunity for us is to continue building relationships. The internet and various platforms offer some great information to clients, but at the end of the day, buyers and sellers are still looking for a trusted advisor to help them navigate the process,” explains Conner.

To that end, this past holiday season, London Properties partnered with Fresno schools and gave away 440 bikes, helmets and locks to underserved kids; the firm’s associates, staff and clients all participated in the cause. The team also participates in monthly blood drives and contributes regularly to the local food bank.

“Our focus and opportunity is growing stronger relationships so that all the white noise that people hear disappears.”

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