Female Founders: Cynthia Benchick
Today, as part of our Female Founders series, we’re interviewing Cynthia Benchick, Principle Broker and Managing Partner at Charles Rutenberg Realty Fort Lauderdale. Benchick opened Charles Rutenberg Realty Fort Lauderdale almost two decades ago and has championed its growth to one of the largest real estate companies in Florida. Under Benchick’s leadership, Charles Rutenberg Realty Fort Lauderdale has grown to over 950 agents and embarked on new ventures, such as their affiliation with United Real Estate, in addition to staying closely involved in their community and the real estate industry at large.
Cynthia Benchick got her start in real estate in 1998. She switched from nursing to private real estate investing to getting licensed, and five years later, she was offered the first partnership with Charles Rutenberg Realty, leading her to open the Fort Lauderdale office. Benchick believes in the value realtors provide and after all these years, still loves her job as much as she did when she started. She also credits the strong relationships she’s formed with her team and network, in large part by growing together, as a huge reason she’s still part of Charles Rutenberg Realty Fort Lauderdale and the real estate industry.
“We are beyond lucky as we are able to control our own destiny by continuing to work even during a global health crisis.” – Cynthia Benchick
Reflecting on what she wishes she knew at the start of her career, Benchick says she would have liked to have been “ahead of or aligned with technology expansion.” Her team were early pioneers in the industry by operating paperless and utilizing video conferencing since the beginning. This gave them a leg up when the pandemic hit because they were already comfortable using technology to connect, leveraging platforms like Zoom, WebX, and MeetUp.
Yet Benchick believes there’s always more they can do to leverage technology. As one example, Benchick implemented a new back office system at the start of the pandemic so everyone could find the tools they needed in one place. Over the past year, its grown significantly and they now have their own proprietary file system. Gaining efficiencies through technology has helped them devote more time to building meaningful relationships.
“It really does matter that you stay in touch and be in touch because there’s nothing like a touch.” – Cynthia Benchick
Benchick also believes good follow up is crucial. Key to their success has been “instilling in the agents that one of the golden rules is follow up,” she explains. After a transaction closes, Benchick says following up will “anchor the customer relationships through return and referral business.”
“I teach my agents to lead with their heart, extend human compassion, be kind to everyone. You have no idea what everyone is going through.”
– Cynthia Benchick
Benchick also credits the merge with United Real Estate in October 2019 which was the “piece of the puzzle missing and found.” With support from CEO Dan Duffy and President Rick Hasse, Charles Rutenberg Realty Fort Lauderdale has been able to provide their agents with the latest tools and training, helping them succeed.
Benchick reveals they use information and data from Trend Graphix, Realtor County, Inman, Daily Business Review, and the Cook report, along with state and nationwide economy and market reports. “This ensures customers and clients are receiving the highest quality of actual real time market analyses for pricing seller listings and for pricing buyer comparisons,” Benchick states.
Though social media is essential for success in today’s marketing world, Benchick says that some agents are still using traditional methods like postcards. She is a proponent of community work and pursuing other passions as a way for realtors to increase their own brand awareness as well. On the broker level, engaging with your board “brings realtor awareness opportunities as well as being involved on the state and national level.”
“Brand awareness is an individual discipline and comes in all shapes and sizes. What fits, fits you.” – Cynthia Benchick
Touching on what success she wants to achieve in the next few years, Benchick says that she’s hoping for a return to pre-COVID conditions and “that alone would be a success.” Benchick also reveals that Charles Rutenberg Realty Fort Lauderdale is hoping to expand to 2,000 agents “all while continuing to offer cutting edge tools, broker support, and the astounding staff services we provide.”
When asked about advice to women looking to start their own brokerage today, Benchick says to create an environment that “contains all of the ABC’s of real estate.” This includes surrounding yourself with creative and motivated individuals, agents supporting agent growth, tools and training, and including community involvement for brand awareness.
She also encourages agents to acquire investment properties when they can and to continue saving, as “this is a marathon and not a sprint.”
To learn more about Cynthia Benchick and Charles Rutenberg Realty Fort Lauderdale visit https://www.crrunited.com
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