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I Don’t Care About Your Brand

 

In 2014 I returned back into the real estate industry as a full time REALTOR® in Myrtle Beach.  I have had my license since 2001 and worked with a rather large company here in town on a team with my father.  I remember going to my first big company meeting at the convention center with over 200 agents from the 10+ offices this company had all over the beach.  They introduced me as Dennis’s son Jeremy who would be joining his team.  My father had already been very successful with this company for the past several years and he was in need of more help, so I joined his team and helped him become the top agent within just a few years.  To say we had success would be an understatement.

Fast forward to the market crash of 2008 and the fact that within less than three years we had gone from selling 137 properties to just 13, there obviously was not enough income for my parents and my newly formed family with child on the way.  I needed to find something else to do.  So, in the fall of 2008, I went to work a seasonal job at T-Mobile.  It wasn’t the greatest job, but it was a steady income and one that if I was there long enough I could also receive company healthcare which was really appealing to my family.  I worked there for around 6 months and quickly became the top salesman in the store while only being given part time hours.

As spring came around, I was offered a position with ActiveRain, a real estate company based out of Seattle.  While I was concerned to leave this newly found success, my heart and love was always in real estate and this was a way for me to get back into it.  I joined their company where I worked for almost a year and began traveling the country speaking at real estate conferences on their behalf.  During that time I was able to make tremendous connections with agents all around the country and began building notoriety in the industry as someone who was respected and known by many.  As I began my own consulting company and left ActiveRain, I continued to be called to speak at just about any and all real estate conference around the country.  I guess you could say, I became kind of a big deal in the industry.

First Closing

I shared all this to get to my point behind this post today.  In March of 2014, I lost my father unexpectedly.  When he passed, I honored a request I made to him by getting back into the real estate industry.  At that time, I had the opportunity to join just about any real estate company here in Myrtle Beach as an agent.  Because of my reputation & personal network, it made me an appealing asset to join any company here.  Before jumping back into real estate with two feet, I took a few months to figure out which company would ultimately be the best option for me.

I began calling friends of mine around the country and asking them what types of questions would you ask a broker if you were going to interview with them.  I asked, what made you decide to join the particular brand that you joined.  Was it because of the logo, the colors on the wall, the locations, etc.  I asked them about commission splits and if that made a difference in where they chose to go work.  I asked them if they cared about if the company had profit sharing programs, or virtual offices, if whether or not the company was paperless mattered.  I wanted to know what made people decide where they chose to hang their real estate license and why they chose one particular company over another.  Here’s what I found.

The Name On The Door Doesn’t Matter

Ultimately what I found is that agents didn’t care what brand they worked for.  The logo on the door didn’t make people come to work every day.  While saying you are the largest company globally, or that you get the most visitors online, or that you have a paperless system in place didn’t really matter.  Agents didn’t join because you were the most recognized brand on the planet.

As long as you were some sort of national or regional brand, that was well known and well respected, most agents could care less as to what name was on the front door.  I did however find that it did matter though that you at least work with one of the larger companies out there to connect with the national branding they do and also the large national in house referral networks that they offer.  Unfortunately when you pick a smaller local brokerage, you lose out on national advertising that does help your business.

Commissions Do Not Matter

Whenever someone tries to recruit me to come work for their real estate brokerage, they almost always start with the same thing.  Commissions.  While the amount of money I will be able to keep from each sale I have is important, and knowing what fees are involved is something everyone pays attention to, it’s ultimately not the top reason someone decides where they want to work.

Just today I received a recruiting email that said SUCCESSFUL! 95% & NO FEES! as their subject line.  I opened the email because I’m always amused with the sales tactics companies use to recruit, and that was basically all it said in the actual email.  It had a link to click onto the company website to learn more.  Not to my surprise, I was greeted with more about commissions & fees when I went to the website.  If this is your main tactic for trying to convert people to come work for you, then you are doing it wrong.

The same is true for the companies that use a profit sharing approach.  While yes, it would be nice to receive a check each month based on all those I bring to a company even after leaving there, but at the same time, my main focus in real estate is helping buyers and sellers with their needs of buying and selling property.  I can’t focus time & effort on convincing others on joining a company just so I can make $$ off of them, any extra free time I have I want to be spending it with my three kids.  Money doesn’t solve everything.

Shiny Objects Do Not Matter

Once brokerages get past the commission button, they normally next promote some new technology they offer.  Back a few years ago, it was being a paperless office.  At the time, most agents didn’t even know what that meant, but they were drawn to it because they thought they had to have it.  While I’ll admit, being paperless with my business is a nice perk, it isn’t going to bring you more business, it is simply a tool to make things a little easier.  Some boast they have large followings on Social Media, and while those are awesome to have, I do not know anyone that picks where they are going to work based on the number of Twitter followers your company has.  I’ve received recruiting pieces from brokerages in town advertising that they now offer free matterport tours of all of their listings. *SMH

I recently read a post with a title that summed up this point perfectly for me.  It was titled: Software doesn’t solve problems, strategy does.   All the tech in the world won’t bring you business if you aren’t trained how to use it and actually implement a strategy into using it.  You can have tons of shiny objects available to you, but if you don’t know how to use or do not use them, what’s the point?

What Really Matters

Ultimately at the end of the day, what I found that matters is finding the right people to work.  It didn’t matter which brand that was with, it was all about finding one that met your needs and made you feel important.  People want to be where they feel cherished, respected, and loved.  Whether thats in real estate, marriage, church, a club, or anything else in life, if people feel those three things, they are more than likely to be happy there & stay there.

What I found when asking friends around the country why they worked for a particular brand is that it wasn’t because it had a hot air balloon, cute puppy mascot, profit sharing, virtual office, or gold jackets, but that the brokers behind the brand made them choose to work where they did.  While great commission splits might entice someone to talk to you, ultimately at the end of the day, they will leave if you treat them like garbage or don’t look out for their other needs.

As I came back into the business, I remember a conversation I had with my current broker Mandy.  In that conversation she said something I will never forget.  What she said was this: “Jeremy every day I wake up and come to work with the mindset that it could be the last day any of my agents work for me, so I need to do whatever I can to make them want to come back tomorrow.  Each of the agents that work at our company are free to leave at any day and take their business anywhere they would like.  My goal is to make this place of work so good that they never even want to consider that.” As I finished the interview and left the office, I knew it wasn’t coincidence that her company had been the top producing company in Myrtle Beach for the prior three years. I knew this was the place I belong.

Now that I’ve been here for over three years I see many things that get done to make me and others feel special.  It’s simple things that any broker could do any day of the week that wouldn’t cost much money.  Here’s a few things that I’ve experienced since coming back into real estate full time that I appreciate my broker doing to make me feel special and important.

  • Lunch- Every few months, there will be some sort of special celebration event at the office where lunch is provided.  It might be a Kentucky Derby party, or something unique like this year we had our first ever Souperbowl with various types of soups in February.  If there isn’t a special event scheduled for a long time, it is not uncommon on any random day where the office orders pizza for everyone who is there.
  • Celebrations of big closings-  In our area, it’s rare for there to be sales over one million.  Whenever an agent in our company has one, we have a celebration in the office for that agent for doing something special.
  • First Closing Celebration- The photo up above was taken to celebrate my first closing back in real estate.  Whenever an agent has their first closing with our company, we celebrate with noisemakers, clappers, and other goodies to make them feel special and let them know that it’s a big deal.  This costs maybe $5 to get the celebration items and we simply re-use each time.
  • Company wide events- A few times during the year our company will connect with some of our partners to do some sort of special event for our entire company and their families.  Whether it’s a special Saturday morning at Rocking Jump or tailgating & a college football game, it something to make us all feel wanted and appreciated.
  • Collaboration-  Our company does tons of collaboration and helping of each other.  We have all types of training sessions every week to help each agent become better.  We do mastermind group meetings for agents to get together with their peers and discuss the issues that we are currently facing in our market and learn from peers how to handle situations.
  • Showing You care- This is the big one that makes our company succeed and honestly it doesn’t really cost anything to do.  Simply showing you care whether it’s with a text message when you hear someone’s family member is in the hospital, or taking a meal by someone who is sick.  I’ll never forget how my company stepped in when we had a family emergency last year.  Our youngest daughter Miriam got bit in the face by the dog and needed to have some major surgery that night.  I had someone who wanted to write an offer on a property the next morning and I had no idea how I could do that considering I was up until well past 4AM and spent the night at the hospital.  I sent an email to one of my brokers at 3AM saying I needed some help in the morning with a client and asked if he could contact the buyer and get his details to write up the offer.  What he did went well beyond that.  First, they showed up at the hospital at 7AM with breakfast from a local restaurant for my wife & I because they knew hospital food wasn’t very good.  Later that afternoon as we came home, there was a care package by the front door for her with all types of toys for her and a simple get well card.  This made an everlasting impression on my entire family.

This is the type of things that makes agents want to work for a certain company.  They want to know that their bosses appreciate them and are not only looking out for their best interests, but are also there to assist them with whatever they need.  They want to know their bosses will go above and beyond the call of duty to help with anything they can.  If you are looking to create a successful brokerage and want to get the best agents in your area to come join your team, start doing things that matter and stop spending so much time bashing other brands around your town.

If you are constantly bragging how your brand is so much better than others, or are constantly tearing down your competition to make you look good, you are doing it wrong.  It might win you some new recruits to your company, but after a little time, people will see that there is no reason to stay and will move on to the next place.  Take the time to actually invest in people’s lives and show you care more about them as a human instead of what they can make for you, you will build a successful brokerage.

 

Pawleys Island Point

One of the most beautiful parts of our beach is down in southern Pawleys Island at the southern point.  Two years ago, Katherine & I took our family here for a photoshoot one days with our friend who was taking some family shots for a brochure our church was making for visitors.  Since I’m one of the longest members of our church, our Pastor thought my family would be a good option to use.  Here’s a shot from that day that I took of the point with my phone as we were there taking family portraits.

South Pawleys Island

This was a really fun day in which we got some awesome photos of our family.  Many fond memories from this day, I think we might need to do it again soon.

Overlooking Myrtle Beach

I took this shot overlooking Myrtle Beach Oceanfront a while back while staying at the Marriott Grande Dunes resort for a conference.  I love the way the sunlight was bouncing off the trees as the sun was rising.  This was taken in early March if memory serves correctly just as all the trees and flowers were starting to bloom again.  I didn’t have my good camera with me, so this was taken with my iPhone.

Myrtle Beach Oceanfront

Supermoon 2013

2013 Super Moon

Supermoon of Summer 2013

This past weekend was the Summer Supermoon for 2013.  I’ve never really tried taking pictures of the moon or any night photos for that matter on any setting other than full auto.  But, I am trying to expand my skill set, so I did some research and found this post with what they feel are best settings to shoot the moon.

Because of the rather cloudy weather we had that night I had very short time windows for shooting in between rather long gaps of waiting here in Myrtle Beach, SC.

I turned the camera on full manual and set everything to their suggested settings and got the photo that is the lower one above.  Then, just for fun I put the camera on no flash mode and just shot one on manual focus to see what would happen.  It gave some pretty cool effects which you can see in the top photo.

Hopefully down the road I’ll get some more chances at these types of shots and be able to improve.

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