What do you do when your systems are in place, you’ve ironed out the kinks, you’ve got a pipeline of business and a history of happy clients?
“Lift it up and go to another market and duplicate that success.” In what seemed to be a very passionate topic for Gary Keller during the last hours of Mega Agent Camp on Thursday, four enterprising agents walked the audience through a very new concept for many real estate agents: expanding a real estate business into multiple markets.
The KW Blog Team transcribed the dialogue between Gary Keller and two of the panelists.
Brian Gubernick, an associate with the Scottsdale (Ariz.) market center was the first to describe how he has taken his thriving short sale business and brand to Bellevue, Wash.
GK: “Why did you decide to expand?”
BG: “We were among the first to get in on the short sale opportunity in Arizona. We got the business, built a team and worked through mistakes to hone our current system. We knew that the short sale market would arrive to other markets later, and wanted to get a share of it so that we could grow at a more rapid pace outside of Scottsdale. Our start-up costs were minimal, aside from my initial travel, and we continue to keep costs low because we still handle some of the administrative tasks in our Scottsdale office.”
GK: “So you sort of have a virtual assistant”
BG: “Exactly. It’s about taking your systems and moving them to another area where you trust another team of agents to operate just like you would at home base. But its sort of a virtual business.”
GK: “What’s your biggest challenge in moving?”
BG: “Really it was the difference in communities that gave us some trouble. In Bellevue there is more of a sense of community and closeness.”
Jason Abrams, associate with the Commerce (Mich.) market center was a crowd-favorite. Getting into the business at age 19, he was plugging away at the traditional and institutional real estate sales when he had a chance-meeting at an awards event during Family Reunion.
GK: “Talk to us about what you’re doing”
JA: “We represent athletes and celebrities from all over the country and we do it through our network of local agent affiliates across the United States.”
GK: “There’s a really interesting story behind how you got into the business.”
JA: “I met a woman in line and she had a football player who was going to be a Miami Dolphin. The player had chosen a house and was just waiting to close. Then at the last minute the Detroit Lions made an offer the offensive lineman couldn’t refuse: $6.5 million. She immediately thought of me and called me to take care of this client. We said absolutely. We put him in a limousine, showed him houses for two days and two days later we sold the most expensive home ever sold in the state of Michigan.”
GK: “So you started out with one client. Now you’re traveling 300 days a year to help nearly 20 percent of the 1st and 2nd draft NFL picks each year. How did you do that?”
JA: “Once we finalized the transaction with the first NFL Player, I flew out to North Carolina to meet with his financial advisor, leaving a gift and letting him know that we would love to do business with more of their clients. A week later, I went out to meet the NFL player’s agent. Of course they wouldn’t let us past the secretary, but we left a gift a thank you note that he would love more of his clients. Two weeks later, the draft happened and we got calls from both of them.”
GK: “I had an ‘Aha’ when I first heard this story. All it takes is a 'thank you.' We underestimate first, the number of people we think have a real estate agent and second, the value of making sure people know we’re available to help – even if it’s across the country.”
JA: “Exactly. So now we’re really taking advantage of this awesome infrastructure that you’ve created through Keller Williams Realty.”
GK: “I love that point. And I want the whole audience to understand that this is the future of real estate. When you start looking at this company as a distribution center network, you see it differently. All we’ve really done here is create 670 distribution points that have the accounting systems, management systems, culture and network of agents that you need to grow your business. Think about that for a minute. Expand your mind to see this as a connective network of people who want to be in business with you and you’ll begin to understand how this concept.”