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Shannon Waltchack Shares Their Secrets for Success

Based in Birmingham, Alabama, Shannon Waltchack has achieved great success offering brokerage, property management, and investment services.

“We were founded in 2005, and we’ve been growing ever since,” said firm Partner Derek Waltchack. “People seem to really love our company.”

So, what’s led to their success?

Derek Waltchack

Suzanne Echols

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Below, we take a behind-the-scenes look at three of the strategies and tactics that have helped Shannon Waltchack become one of the country’s top commercial real estate (CRE) firms.

  1. Think like an owner
  2. Prioritize innovation
  3. Engage employees

1. Think like an owner

It’s impossible to achieve any lasting success in CRE without forming relationships.

“They’re everything,” said Suzanne Echols, Marketing Director at Shannon Waltchack. “There are so many cases where providing a client with a good experience leads to repeat business. It’s all about building trust.”

That’s why Shannon Waltchack has a mantra that guides every brokerage opportunity — think like an owner.

“That’s very important to us,” Suzanne said. “We want to manage your property like you would manage your own property.”

Derek agreed.

“When you own something yourself, you work extra hard to protect it, to think about it, and to plan for it,” he said. “We think a little bit deeper about asset and property management than other companies do because we have that ownership mentality.”

2. Prioritize innovation

Another key factor that sets Shannon Waltchack apart is the willingness to try new things.

“Commercial real estate is often kind of an old-school industry,” Suzanne explained. “A lot of people aren’t thinking about how they can adapt and move forward and learn new things, so when you do, it’s a game-changer.”

They apply this mindset to marketing, technology, and property management.

Creating standout marketing collateral

Leaders at Shannon Waltchack know that a creative approach to marketing can help them stand out from the competition.

“I think it really begins with asking what everybody else is doing right now and how we can be different,” Derek said. “Real estate marketing is often bland and boring, so it’s very easy to breathe some fresh air into it.”

That philosophy led to a completely new approach to the way Shannon Waltchack tells its story.

“A couple of years ago, we went through a full rebrand,” Suzanne said.

Part of that effort included changing their colors — from tan, brown, and green to bright orange.

“Now, everybody I run into all over town says, ‘I see your signs everywhere!’” Suzanne said. “For the most part, those are the same signs we’ve always had up, but now they stand out. That drives a lot of phone calls and gets listings moving.”

They’ve also simplified their logo and messaging.

“We’re just trying to make it easier to recognize and relate to us,” Suzanne said. “We’re also focusing on our website, our content, and our social media presence — all of the things that are easy to overlook.”

For other firms considering a rebrand, Suzanne offers one key piece of advice.

“Work with a reputable branding firm,” she said. “They will take you through a slow process of understanding your brand, your clients, and your audience. That really helps you develop your story the right way.”

Using cutting-edge technology

Technology also plays a key role in Shannon Waltchack’s success.

“Commercial real estate as an industry is the second least affected by technology — the least at this moment is farming,” Derek said. “But that’s changing. We have to stay cutting-edge because of what’s around the corner. The way we work today isn’t the way we’re going to work in 10 years.”

That desire to remain cutting edge played a key role in their decision to implement Rethink.

“Everybody was sort of doing their own thing, and we knew the power you can get when you combine everyone’s data and pick up the loose pieces,” Derek explained. “That’s really just a best practice in our industry.”

Suzanne agreed.

“Everybody’s really excited because we’ve never had a platform like this as a company,” she said. “It’s an awesome tool for managing pipelines, prospecting, and projecting earnings for the year.”

She also expects it to help with customer service

“Our job as a brokerage shop is to provide great service to our clients,” Suzanne explained. “Rethink will help us with listing reporting so we can demonstrate the correspondence and everything that’s going on with the marketing of our clients’ properties.”

But what really made Rethink stand out, she said, is the solution’s integrations.

“The ability to connect with the programs we already use is huge for us. And we’re getting CommissionTrac, so it will integrate with our accounting department, as well.”

Creating new spaces from older properties

Shannon Waltchack also applies their innovative attitude to property management by prioritizing adaptive reuse.

“Birmingham is in a major Renaissance,” Suzanne said. “And Derek saw an opportunity to play a part in that. We converted a Nabisco factory into an office building and incorporated recycled shipping containers and a grain silo in the design of our last office space. He also got the community involved by crowdsourcing a project they named ‘The Stockyard.’”

“I think that was the first crowdsourced building in the United States,” Derek added. “The public helped us name it, picked finishes, and gave us ideas and thoughts on tenants we should attract.”

And that just scratches the surface of Shannon Waltchack’s commitment to adaptive reuse.

By finding new ways to get the most out of old properties, the firm is attracting positive attention from clients and prospects.

3. Engage employees

Another key part of Shannon Waltchack’s success is employee engagement.

By creating a fun atmosphere that people want to work in, they attract and retain talent and keep employees motivated.

“Employee engagement is huge,” Suzanne explained. “We do a lot of happy hours and activities. We go to soccer games and baseball games. We work hard, and we play hard.”

“We all chip in with ideas,” Derek added. “One of our partners even hosts an annual Lake Olympics Day at his lake house. That’s always fun.”

These activities promote bonding and increase morale.

“We make sure everyone’s having a good time,” Suzanne said. “It’s great that we have partners that care about that. We get to come to work with a smile, and we really celebrate each other.”

Becoming a top CRE firm

By thinking like an owner, prioritizing innovation, and engaging employees, Shannon Waltchack has positioned their firm for lasting success.

Their approach allows them to build loyalty among clients, prospects, and employees, while finding new avenues for continuous improvement.

Request a demonstration to learn how Rethink can support your firm’s success.

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