RE/MAX Essential - Changing Lives
Journal Entry for EOY 2015:
Over the last several years we are very excited to have been able to nurture a culture and business strategy that has helped numerous area REALTORS© change their lives.
Focus On Profits and Not Awards
One of the greatest things that I've learned as one of the newest company owners in our area is from our very own agents, the really smart business people, in our business, could care less about awards, sales volume or other statistics. Normal people can only focus well on one thing, and in our business an agent can either focus on the customer or themselves. We are blessed to have agents who focus first on the customer and not on getting some "agent of the month", "listing agent of the month" and others. I'm not saying these are bad things, I've just found from my personal life and from observing others this can easily be distored into a mindset of "me first" for agents. Being a RE/MAX agent with recurring monthly business overhead, just like any real business does, our agents would rather spend their time focussing on their customers and then getting home to spend time with their families and loved ones.
Profit Sharing & Recruiting
We believe the best person to manage any potential profit is the agent who actually created the profit. Instead of taking more money from agents and putting into some profit sharing pool, and asking our agents to recruit other agents to our company, we simply let the agents keep the money they generated and do not ask them to recruit other agents. It makes more sense to us for agents to stay focussed on their own business and their family than to ask them to use their valuable time and energy recruiting others. Sure, many of our agents get calls from others asking how they like working with RE/MAX Essential, but we do not pay our agents to recruit as that process seems, in our opinion, to degrade the objectivity of their real opinions. We love to share our story with those interested and from my personal experience, as an agent and owner, the really good agents tend to leave their current company for a number of reasons and we just want to be top of mind and attract agents who are looking for a new option. While we think we are the best option, we also recognize there are a number of good companies in our area and every agent makes a decision based on what they need. We refuse to cut special deals or offer sign-on bonuses for anyone as that, in our opinion, belittles the agents who you already have who are playing by the rules. No, we will not be the biggest army, but we will offer self motivated and self managed agents the finest culture and compensation plan available.
Been There Done It
As a past top ten agent in the world with another national real estate brand for a number of years, as well as leading Southeastern NC in a number of industry metrics such as "units", "sides" and "sales volume" for years I have learned that, in my opinion, chasing awards, prestige and other ego focussed metrics can actually lull good agents into a business model where they actually have a low to no profit margin in their business, all the while working an enormous amount of hours just to impress their owners or brokers in charge with "sales stats" so they can get some award that will eventually end up in a box or in the trash.
Drinking the Kool-Aid
It's so very easy to get caught up in the limelight of being a "top producer" in the real estate world and then immerse yourself in various groups that can take narcissism to a new level. I've seen good people get seduced into this pattern and it can lead to burnout, bankruptcy, divorce and even health problems. Just so you can be part of the cool people club, who I've found tend to exaggerate the real numbers in ways to make themselves or their companies look better. I don't say this as criticism, as I was consumed in this mindset for a number of years before we opened our own company. And when you decide to seek your own path, that may not be the same as those who were your perceived friends, you will quickly learn who is and are not your real friends.
What's Different with Our Company?
We focus and come alongside the agent and what their personal goals are. We don't focus on agent, team or even company volume, as all of this can be filtered or manipulated to make anyone look how they want, but mostly because none of that stuff really matters when it comes down to an agent being able to earn an income and take care of their family. As a business owner the only thing that matters is molding a culture that allows agents to determine what they want to achieve in actual take-home money, not some phantom gross commission income, of which many companies take a huge chunk of in what they call "split" or "company dollar". Some agents are competitive and want to keep pushing and making more money. Additionally, there are a growing number who want to earn a good six figure plus income, which is a lot of money in our job marketplace, without having to work 80 hours per week on splits that allow the company they work for to keep a 26% to 56% split ("company dollar") of what the agent created by their hard work
More Money, More Time, More Family
Recently I was in a conversation with a number of our RE/MAX Essential agents that were saying 2015 has been the best year they have ever had in take-home income, and that they've actually enjoyed the business more this year. Why? It's simple, we do not focus on having the most bodies, doing the most sales units or doing the most sales volume. Our company goal is to have a company where any agent can earn over $100,000 per year, working 30-50 hours per week, or less.
Our business and compensation plans force agents to have some skin in the game, but with this they get to keep the most commission possible and we do not micro manage their business. They are welcome to join our optional mastermind training and not mandated to attend "sales meetings" which are known to be low to no information based and a place where companies focus on ways to get more company dollars through additional revenue streams or ancillary services like title insurance, lender partnerships, home warranties and more. Of course these things are verbally positioned as ways to provide more services for agents but in realty they are many times simply another way for companies to create more potential profit centers. I'm not saying this is wrong, but we choose to simply sell real estate and not create some fantasy that a company is going to significantly impact the number of homes an agent can sell, agents create and close their own sales, not the company.
Competing with Company Owners
Our competitors love to tell their agents or recruits that "if you work at RE/MAX Essential you will be competing with the owners". Instead of ignoring this I'm very comfortable having a conversation about how they are actually highlighting how out of touch they are selling real estate in today's world. Yes, our owners do still sell homes! We choose to do this so we can not charge agents more money in splits and actually have to earn our own living, just like every other agent in our company. In reality, the only place you will not compete with the RE/MAX Essential owners is at RE/MAX Essential. We are not stupid, and if we come up against an agent in our company we simply bow out and step into a support role for our agents. So, instead of having layers and layers of corporate management titles who draw impressive salaries, benefits, vacations and more without actually ever selling a house we choose to stay in the trenches and earn our income just like every other agent in our company. In addition, how in the world can a manager, vice president or owner advise or teach agents to sell homes in today's challenging market if they don't actually do it themselves on a daily basis? We choose to be walking the same walk our agents do and share our current experiences so we can all learn instead of taking more and more money from our agents to pay corporate layers and hiring more and more "managers" and "trainers". I'm of the opinion agents don't want to be managed, they want to be led from experience and sometimes that means, as in our case, having owners that are willing to personally try new things and then vetting out what works and don't work and sharing with agents. Sometimes it's not sharing with agents what TO DO, it's more about sharing what NOT TO DO, and if you are not an owner in the trenches how can you possibly do this?
The Largest Army is Not For Everyone
We at RE/MAX Essential will never have the biggest army of agents but I challenge other firms to publicly post their compensation plans for all to see and share with everyone any special deals they do to recruit new agents that they are not giving to their current agents. The agents at RE/MAX Essential make more money, and I mean real take-home money, so they can live the life they define as worth living.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!