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Innovative Featured in Denver Business Journal

Innovative Real Estate Group excels by intense focus on helping its agents succeed

No. 1 - Flight III - annual revenues between $10 million and $23.9 million.

Lisa Wirthman, Special to the Business Journal

An abundance of resources and training created an equal abundance of growth at Denver-based Innovative Real Estate Group LLC. The company topped Denver Business Journal's list of fastest-growing private companies with $10 million to $23.9 million in revenue in 2013.

Innovative's focus is helping its agents succeed in both business and in life, said Scott Nordby, who co-owns the firm with his wife Lora Nordby. The company has in-house marketing and technology teams to help agents grow their businesses and an executive life coach on staff to help them achieve their goals.

Innovative Real Estate Group even shares its resources with competitors, such as a recent class it hosted on selling luxury homes to which it invited agents from other firms. "We have an abundance mindset that there's enough for everybody," said Scott Nordby. "Everything we have we will share with other real estate firms, agents, and companies."

As a result, Innovative has high retention rates for its agents, who typically perform in the top 10 percent of the Denver market, Nordby said. "Instead of feeling like they're competing against each other, our agents feel like they're competing with each other and helping each other grow their businesses," he added.

In fact, Innovative has never had a down year since the Nordbys started the company in their home in 2003. Today, the company has about 135 full-time real estate professionals and 15 supporting employees in four offices throughout the Denver area.

Revenue also surged 325 percent over the last three years, growing from $2.6 million in 2011 to $11 million in 2013.

The company fuels that growth through ongoing trainings and incentives. A four-part class called "Efficiency by Design," for example, teaches agents had to be efficient in business and life. Innovative also subscribes to the "Ninja Selling Program," a three-and-a-half day class that costs about $800 per agent.

There are rewards as well, including a sit-down awards ceremony for agents and their spouses every February, and a day at a Rockies baseball game for agents and their clients in May.

In October, the company also kicked off an incentive program called "50 Days Around the Innovative World," which rewards agents with points for activities that foster communication and contact with their clients.

In return for its investments in agents' success, Innovative requires commitment: The company only hires full-time agents. "We tell everybody that if you're not full time you can't be with us, and if you're not producing you can't stay with us," said Nordby.

Successful agents also create great word-of-mouth, which means that Innovative doesn't have to recruit.

"If we have happy agents they'll bring their friends, and that's kind of how we've grown over the last few years," Nordby said.

As the company continues to grow, one of its biggest challenges will be continuing to make the company feel small, he said.

Since the Nordbys believe their offices should have no more than 50 agents in order to maintain a community feeling, they anticipate opening two more offices to the east and west of the I-25 corridor in the next couple years.

The couple also strives keep the company harmonious by following through on their commitments, and avoiding drama when conflicts arise.

They're most proud of the level of integrity they've maintained throughout a decade of both running a business and sharing a home, Nordby said.

"Our thought process all along is to treat people the way we want to be treated, and to create a value-based organization," he added. "It's not all about how many listings we're closing — it's about how many people we're helping along the way."

 
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