David Kent is broker-in-charge of the Real Buyer’s Agent in Charleston, and now South Carolina Realtors president for 2016.
Kent began his real estate career as a homebuilder more than 20 years ago, eventually opening the Real Buyer’s Agent in Charleston with his business partner. The Clemson University graduate’s background includes leadership positions at the local, state and national levels of the Realtor organization, including president of the Charleston Trident Association of Realtors, president of the Charleston Trident Homebuilders and director at the National Association of Realtors.
Kent’s term at South Carolina Realtors began Nov 17. The Mount Pleasant resident said his main goal will be to focus on its strategic plan, which he said “is rooted in the protection of private property rights and transfer or real property without interference by government entities, unnecessary taxes and fees.”
Q: A brief description of your business:
A: The Real Buyer’s Agent is a boutique real estate agency that exclusively works with buyers. We pride ourselves on offering our clients exceptional service and expertise with over 20 years in business.
Q: Who is your favorite business leader and why?
A: The founders of Google, Larry Page and Sergey Brin. They engineered a very successful brand and product while offering an innovative, out-of-the-box culture for their employees. They’re not afraid to try something new and adapt to change focus when needed.
Q: Who is your favorite leader of any kind and why?
A: Dabo Swinney, he understands his skill sets and hires assistant coaches to complement the areas that he lacks. He embraces the idea of “do what you do best.”
Q: What is the best leadership advice you’ve received?
A: Encourage open dialogue between team members and leadership.
Q: What is the best leadership advice you could give?
A: Encourage out-of-the-box thinking. Within the scope of the global world someone is trying to reinvent your business; constantly evolving and adapting is key to longevity in the business place.
Q: What is the best book on business or leadership that you’ve read and why?
A: “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey, because as a leader you must always be changing and adapting and be willing to grow and learn. This book offers insight on how to do that more effectively.
Q: What other business publications do you regularly read?
Q: What are the most important decisions you make as a leader at your business?
A: Hiring new people. My employees and independent contractors are an extension of our brand. Being sure that they reflect our culture and mission is essential to the success of my business.
Q: What is the biggest challenge facing business leaders today?
A: Understanding and using technology to make the company more efficient. With ever-changing technology it can be a challenge to keep up.
Q: What is your biggest mistake as a leader? What did it teach you?
A: My biggest mistake as a leader was my failure to build consensus and buy in on a major marketing initiative. The outcome was thus a lot less successful than it could have been. I learned the importance of ‘buy in’ for the success of a project.
Q: What was your biggest success as a leader? What did it teach you?
A: The Reading With Realtors Program. At the time I was the president of the Charleston Trident Association of Realtors. I appointed a presidential advisory group to study how the Realtor community could help local schools. The program was the result. The program taught me that a small group of people can have a positive and long-term impact on the community and the life of an individual.
Q: What are you doing to grow the next leader in your company?
A: Give her more responsibility and space to be successful.
Q: How do you define a great business?
A: A great business exceeds the needs of its customers while building a culture that the employees can buy into.
Q: What’s your favorite thing about doing business in this region?
A: The People. The people of Charleston are friendly. Additionally, working in the Charleston area allows me to interact with people moving from all parts of the country, which I really enjoy.
Q: What is your least favorite thing about doing business in this region?
A: The area hasn’t done a great job keeping up with the local infrastructure. This sometimes leads to traffic and other issues which can be tedious since I spend a great deal of my time in the car.
Q: Name one thing government could do to help your business?
A: The local and state government could work to put together a com-prehensive traffic plan that the tri-county area would buy into. The plan would include better conductivity of major highways and public transportation systems to better meet the needs of the community.
Q: Name one thing government could stop doing to help your business?
A: Stop embracing the adage “this is the way we’ve always done it,” which stifles progress and solutions for the betterment of the people.