Brokerage

How to compete with Keller Williams before it grabs more of your share

Indie broker Jerry Holden talks teamwork

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SAN FRANCISCO — “Keller Williams isn’t taking any of our market share,” Jerry Holden told attendees at today’s Inman Connect San Francisco Indie Broker Summit.

Holden, broker-owner of Ohio-based The Holden Agency, credited his firm’s success against the industry giant to three simple rules:

  1. No assholes.
  2. Have fun.
  3. The grandmother rule: “Treat every customer with white-glove service, just like you would your grandmother,” he said.

Holden, a former professional junior league baseball player, is a competitive guy. The philosophy he lives by is: “I hate to lose. I love to win.”

Jerry Holden

But when he set out to build his team of nearly two dozen agents, he took a cue from his baseball days. Players are independent contractors — like most agents — and therefore they are competitors. But they are also teammates that can only win together.

At The Holden Agency, agents “work as an actual team. No member rivals another, contrary to franchise fashion,” Inman staff writer Gill South wrote in a profile of Holden.

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This is contrary to two or three different Keller Williams offices in one city, all owned independently and jockeying for clients in the same market.

“Everybody comes together numerous times a year and we collaborate and we trust each other. Teamwork,” Holden said.

He also advises brokers and agents to “never stop learning,” pointing out that star athletes such as the Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry and the Cleveland Cavaliers’ LeBron James still work on their foul shots in the off season.

“Same thing with real estate. Most real estate agents don’t even know what an absorption rate is,” Holden said.

And lastly, he counseled agents and brokers to invest in their community, whether through the Chamber of Commerce, booster clubs, Little League or peewee football.

That investment “will allow you to have a competitive edge against your competition,” he said.

Email Andrea V. Brambila.

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