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Expanding When Others Cut Back

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By Maria Patterson

RISMEDIA, October 12, 2009—At a time when most real estate companies were cutting back, Doug Radford, founder of Realty Executives Exceptional Realtors in Northern New Jersey, was following a different path and expanding his company. Being able to offer his Realtors the tools they needed to be successful in today’s market place was a huge advantage for Radford. Here, read how he went against the tide and recently moved from an independent business model to joining the Realty Executives franchise. 

Radford_DouglasDoug Radford
Founder
Realty Executives Exceptional Realtors
Northern New Jersey 

Years in business: Since 1985
Number of offices: 6
Number of sales associates: 150
Survival tip: Try to keep an even keel. Don’t get too high when things are good or too low when things are not good. Represent yourself professionally and treat people fairly. Don’t let the lows affect your personality. 

You recently moved away from an independent business model to join the Realty Executives franchise. What was your motivation in doing so?
We really weren’t seeking out a franchise; we were attempting to franchise our business model when the opportunity with Realty Executives presented itself. For us, it was a Godsend. Realty Executives was looking for a broker to head up their New Jersey region and develop it to become a turnkey franchise operation. Realty Executives allows regional owners to run their business the way they best see fit. When we looked at the tools and systems Realty Executives offered, combined with the fact that we weren’t changing our current business model, but rather supplementing it with great tools and platforms, we realized that with Realty Executives, we would not only have a strong position as a brokerage but now have a whole additional business of selling franchises. 

Has joining Realty Executives allowed you to expand in the region?
Without a doubt. We implemented a new business plan in the beginning of 2007. We used to operate completely as a virtual company. In real estate you don’t need bricks and mortar or a fancy office to be successful. We believed that as long as you could provide Realtors with admin, marketing and tech support, that you could help any Realtor improve their production level. At the beginning of 2007, we started expanding and opening small, efficient branch offices while everyone else was completely scaling back. We’ve now opened six offices and that allows our agents to be more productive. We hope to expand even further now as part of Realty Executives and help other brokers implement our business model. 

How do your agents utilize your physical office locations?
Some of our agents go into the office every day. A large percentage utilizes the office as a place to meet a client and sign a contract. We offer all electronic data storage and filing so associates don’t need to go into the office to fax papers, for example. If someone has a BlackBerry, it’s just like being in the office. 

What is it about Realty Executives that attracted you to their franchise over others?
We have 150 sales associates and the networking is going to be enormous because they are now tied to almost 11,000 Realtors across the world—before we were an island from a branding standpoint. We now have access to a tremendous marketing platform—instead of reinventing the wheel, we can now rely on Realty Executives to come up with the larger initiatives that we can then implement locally. 

What’s your approach to expanding in the New Jersey region during a time when most are contracting? Can it really be done?
Absolutely! We are eternal optimists. Candidly, the last three years have been a great time to expand because others were all cutting back and cutting services for Realtors and their clients. For high-level Realtors, there’s a lot of frustration out there—the corporate entity is not necessarily the answer to being a successful Realtor. We have a great company plan that includes profit sharing and attracts many high-level Realtors. 

What’s your philosophy on leadership and motivating agents in this challenging time?
It’s a matter of treating people fairly and with respect and understanding because challenging economic times put pressure on everyone. Our philosophy is to do everything we can to help our associates and we intend to do the same thing with our franchisees. These days, Realtors are looking for positive leadership and someone who sees an end in sight to all the negativity. We want to inspire agents to believe in themselves and talk positively with their clients. Associate yourself with positive people and positive things happen. 

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