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Columbia Business Monthly

#23 - Jeff Cook Real Estate, LLC

Dec 03, 2018 10:55AM ● By Kathleen Maris
Year Founded: 2003
Founder: Jeff Cook
Headquarters location: North Charleston
Number of other locations: 7
Number of employees (start): 1
Number of employees (present): 30+ operations, 160+ agents

For over 15 years, Jeff Cook Real Estate has provided a full range of real estate services to families in the Charleston, Upstate, and Columbia areas, whether it was buying or selling real estate or meeting a client’s needs. 

Jeff Cook Real Estate demonstrates an unparalleled commitment to the Charleston, Upstate, and Columbia communities and the people that live in them. 

Jeff Cook Real Estate's agents are well recognized for the talent they bring to the table. Through talent, training, and skill, they provide the utmost satisfaction to the client. They are a key to the company's success and likely the key to yours.

What are your firm’s biggest challenges and how do you plan to overcome them?
Jeff Cook (CEO): I think our biggest challenge has been figuring out how to communicate effectively and accurately to a team this large. Getting consistent, correct information to 15 agents and three staff members is a lot easier than 160 agents and 36 staff members across the entire state. 

Also, we have had to implement new systems and learn new markets as we have expanded out of the Charleston area. To overcome this challenge, I am spending more time coaching up my sales and operations managers to take on the tasks that usually fell on me. 

It is impossible for me to communicate with 200 people or create systems for every situation so that responsibility is falling more on management, as it should. So my focus this year has been on growing and empowering my leaders so they can do the same for their employees or agents.

What trends and innovations do you see down the line for your industry?
Real estate has changed so much over the last 20 years, largely due to technology and the ability for the consumer to start the real estate process (i.e. searching for homes) without the use of an agent. Gone are the days where you had to see an agent for the monthly MLS catalogue that housed all the homes for sale. 

So, I foresee new technology and the rapid pace in which the consumer can gain knowledge to continue to have an effect on the real estate industry. 

With that said, it is still very necessary for the consumer to have a real estate agent. The computer will never take the place of an agent’s knowledge, experience ability to write, and negotiate contracts, etc. Our job is to continue to meet the consumer at their place of need and educate them through the process.

What do you know now that you wish you knew when you first started your professional career?
I have learned over time that when running a business, no matter what the industry, leadership and people management are the most important parts of the organization. You can be the best sales person in the world, but that doesn’t mean you are a great leader or manager. It is like having a great team of athletes but a coach who doesn’t place them in the correct position on the field. The team is only as good as its leader.