Have you ever sold real estate? If not, do you have any interest in selling real estate yourself?
I sold real estate for 11 years along with managing my first office. I could not imagine managing an office without fully understanding the challenges and concerns an agent experiences on a daily basis. I believe it has made me a stronger mentor and coach to my agents and a valuable problem-solver.
What’s your favorite part of your day? What’s your least favorite part?
I love the “hey, you got a minute?” moments. Developing agents into producers is my thing; I have a passion to succeed through others and I truly love helping an agent succeed.
You can see when the light bulb comes on, or you are able to help them self-discover an answer. Helping an agent build a business that can fund their life and dreams is truly what I live to do. It is my passion.
At the end of the day, I am a firm believer that the “20 percent of agents do 80 percent of the business” concept represents a lack of leadership at the office level. The majority of brokerages would rather turn and burn agents than develop them into producers.
What does lunchtime look like for you — do you leave the office for lunch or eat a brown-bag at your desk?
Recently, after hitting 40, I have become more focused on my health. I do take agents to lunch periodically, but most day’s lunch is a jarred salad at my desk.
How do you support agents after hours and on weekends?
I have the advantage of having mobile technology in my life from a very young age. I can remember my father giving me a beeper that just beeped. When it went off I knew to come home.
Because of this, I am insanely comfortable with my smartphone and usually never more than 6 feet from it. Couple my smartphone with our paperless system and I can assist our agents in real time. We can collaborate on files as if we are sitting in the same room.
It allows me to give my agents top-notch service whenever and wherever they need it and still spend time with my family. I believe it strikes a nice balance.
Have you ever managed an office outside the real estate industry? What kind? How did you make the transition to real estate?
Not an office. I did run high-end boutique retail locations at several malls and big-box stores. I made the transition to real estate when I sold a very expensive pair of sunglasses to the “cheapest man in Tampa, Florida.” He turned out to be a broker and recommended I get into real estate.
How many agents work out of the office you manage? How many brokers?
We have been in business 18 months and currently have 18 agents. We are actively recruiting and expect to be capped out around 30 agents.
How many listings does your office manage at any given time?
We currently carry around 50 listings and expect that inventory level to grow along with our agent count.
Describe your office. What is the floor plan like? What is the decor like?
Our office is a café style office mixed with a traditional bullpen. We are focused heavily on “team” concept and like the agents to interact. Our office fits the traditional agents who like to have their spot and the millennial agents who are mobile.
What CRM does your office use?
We are a paperless office and use a fantastic system called Appfiles for client and transaction management. It allows our agents to do business anywhere they have a cellular data or WiFi connection. It keeps our agents in the field doing business and allows them to handle issues as they arise without having to come back to the office.
Our agents who have truly embraced the program can handle a client from first meeting to closing with all the documents remaining completely digital. We have even had an agent execute an entire listing package on his smartphone.
What email system does your office use?
We have an in-house company server for the office staff and management. We believe this is the most secure option. The majority of the agents use Gmail or another free cloud-based email. In light of the current email scams that are affecting our industry, we are advising all of our agents to move to a more secure service.
Do you have a live person answer your phones, a messaging service or some other way to manage phone calls?
We have a “director of hospitality” who handles all of our incoming calls. I believe it is important for customer service to have a person answer our phones. So often when you call a business, you are routed to an automated service and that is, in my opinion, just rude. When I call a service-based business, I want to speak to someone who can help me, not Robbie the robot.
Do you have any office manager assistants, or are you doing it all yourself? If so, how many and how do they support you?
At Re/Max Capital we are one big team. I work closely with our fantastic Broker, our Director of Hospitality and our Accounts Manager, who oversees our property management. We all have distinct responsibilities, but we also support each other in our roles.
It takes a true team effort to provide the close accountability and coaching we provide to our agents and still get the day-to-day functions done. My typical day starts at 7 a.m. and ends around 6:30 p.m. with a whole lot of “Hey, you got a second” in between.
Are you involved in the social media strategy? How so? If not, who manages social media for your brokerage?
I am very involved in our social media strategy. I manage our Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus pages along with our profiles on Google, Yelp and LinkedIn. I enjoy interacting with our agents and clients.
I heavily leverage Hootsuite to get a total view of all of our profiles on one page and schedule posts accordingly. I think social media is a superb way to stay in touch with past clients and create agent retention through public recognition. The space is always evolving and I enjoy the challenge of keeping cutting-edge.
Would you recommend this career to someone else? Why or why not?
This career is not for everyone. You truly have to have a passion for it. I will say that if you are a person who enjoys daily challenges, likes to problem-solve and doesn’t have an issue with a 24-7 schedule, there are great rewards to this career.
What has been the biggest change to your job over the past year?
This is the first time I am building an office from nothing. Seeing your dream take shape and agents find value in what you have built is awesome. I look forward to seeing it evolve and grow over the coming years into a family of the most skilled and productive agents in the area.
“Seeing your dream take shape and agents find value in what you have built is awesome.”
What sets your brokerage apart? How do you differentiate yourself?
Our brokerage is focused on growth and mentorship. We believe a brokerage has a responsibility to lead and develop its agents to be professional experts who are intentional and proactive.
We have a strong collaborative culture that is focused on team and group success. The phrase I love to throw around is “none of us is as smart as all of us,” and we live by that. We are also strongly invested in the best cutting-edge tech and systems to support our agents and allow them to be efficient while still providing a high level of customer service.
After all, in our business, the relationship is everything. I am proud to say that every agent that has chosen to invest in us has seen a dramatic boost to their business after joining; I am very proud of that.
If you were forced to work in any industry other than real estate, which would it be and why?
I guess it would be some form of retail sales. It is where I cut my teeth, and I always enjoyed the customer interactions. I would probably end up selling something to the real estate space.
Are you involved in any technology investment decisions?
I am the technology guy in the office. I feel very comfortable in that role. I always enjoy learning and researching the role technology plays and will play in our industry.
I think too often the technology available gets used as a replacement for building a relationship. I think the real estate industry is generally tech phobic and slow to adopt. I am looking to make sure my office does not fall into that mold while remaining focused on customer service and experience.
Do agents rely too much on you to handle things?
Some will if you let them. I have found that when agents are relying on the office too much, it stems from a lack of confidence in their knowledge. This is a fault of the office. I have always been a big believer in teaching a man to fish. It is all a part of developing them into involuntary, competent professionals. Honestly, this should be the goal of all offices
To what extent do you help with closings?
Our Director of Hospitality is constantly monitoring our agent’s files through the paperless system. She monitors the agent’s documents for compliance and assists the agents with having a smooth closing. This allows us to provide our agents the option of being paid at the closing table which is a big plus.
What broker or agent habits drive you crazy?
I have an issue with a closed mind. I think the only constant is change, and if you are not constantly striving to do better, eventually you will find yourself left behind. It goes to my great passion to see all my agents succeed. It bothers me when an agent won’t let me help them and I know there is a better way.
If you had a magic wand that would grant one wish related to your job, what would it be?
To remove the stigma of unprofessionalism that the industry has allowed to fester for so many years. So many brokerages moved to the “big box” model instead of leading and developing their talent. So many brokerages have simply become recruiting houses. Churning out hundreds of untrained, inexperienced agents who have lost the public’s trust.
This mass of agents does not know how to communicate their value, so instead they simply talk about how everyone else is inferior. All this does is make us all look horrible in the eyes of the public.
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