• Susan Heckman

Finding Our Way Home To The Gallery

By John Meechan, CEO, The Gallery Residential Brokerage

April 16, 2019

Sometimes, a great idea really does come about like the proverbial light bulb. Sometimes, it takes a decade of banging your head against a wall before the idea comes to light.

For me, the idea of building a new real estate brokerage was the latter of the two. Hi, I’m John Meechan, CEO and co-founder of The Gallery Residential Brokerage.

The Gallery Residential Brokerage was born from years of experience working in different brokerages. There was no light bulb moment, instead, I moved from brokerage to brokerage, looking for that combination of leadership, support, and innovation that would help me grow as a broker and find the best route to success. I didn’t find it. Half of the owners and managing brokers I worked with didn't seem to understand what made agents become or stay successful. This led to a lot of motivated professionals struggling needlessly, myself included. Many managers didn't seem to care enough or have the authority to change with the times. Many thought the brand of the firm was more valuable than the talented agents who promoted it, when it is absolutely the other way around.

The other issue I continued to discover in the brokerages I worked for was poor business models, terrible policies, lopsided commission structures, and uninspired management teams. The result was a revolving door environment as good agents came and went, not finding the career satisfaction that should have come from their hard work and the companies they affiliated with.

I vowed to change all of that.

After spending 11 years consulting with different owners and failing to implement new ideas into established cultures, it was evident — it was time to start a new company from the ground up. A fresh start. A clean slate. A new way to sell real estate. But I couldn’t do it alone.

Jeff Kniffin (COO/co-founder) and I met 20 years ago through the West Belmar Volunteer Fire Department and have been friends ever since. Along the way, we found that we have a lot of the same traits. We are both altruistic and love helping others. We are task-oriented problem-solvers, although Jeff takes a more detailed and analytical approach and I rely more on experience and intuition. He was a natural choice to start a business with — we push each other, challenge each other, and question everything... plus he is tireless and never sleeps!

In the 2+ years since we opened the doors to our first office location, we have grown to 3 offices, 60 agents, over 260 closed transactions, and over $125 Million in sales. Our business model is unique, but simple. We compensate our agents well, give them the reins to control their own business, and provide support where it counts most. We don’t push programs on them they aren’t interested in and don’t want to pay for; instead, we foster an environment of mutual respect and support where good ideas are commended, shared and implemented.

The result? Happier, more successful agents.

We know we have hit on the right formula. Gallery agents are eager to provide outstanding service for their clients, and they are a daily source of inspiration for us. Our tribe is quickly growing, and our company continues to move forward. To say that I am proud is an understatement. Jeff put it best when he said we are “for agents, by agents.” At The Gallery, I feel like I’m in the best place I could be to help others reach their full potential. I’m home.

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