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Company Spotlight: Realty Executives International: A Story of Entrepreneurs

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By Andrea Kalmanovitz

RISMEDIA, March 15, 2011—Realty Executives shook up the real estate industry with the invention of the 100% Commission Concept nearly five decades ago, a business model still employed by real estate companies worldwide. The company continues to reinvent itself and innovate through every real estate cycle. With President and Owner Richard A. Rector at the helm, the company is now poised to revolutionize the industry once again with major advances in marketing and technology.

An Enduring Legacy
R. Dale Rector founded Realty Executives in 1965 with the mission to “support entrepreneurialism for the productive real estate professional.” With the support of Dale’s wife, June, they built the No. 1 brokerage in the Phoenix metropolitan area by 1972. Today, this founding and flagship brokerage, Realty Executives Phoenix, continues to be No. 1 in its market, as well as No. 11 in the United States.

Dale and June Rector’s son, Richard A. Rector, and his wife, Robyn, purchased the company and began franchising Realty Executives in 1987. Thus, a second company was born—Realty Executives International, a franchisor of real estate brokerages with more than 600 franchises and 10,000 sales associates (Executives) in 24 countries.

According to Rector, he purchased the company because he saw the potential to grow Realty Executives’ brand and system globally to extend a better model to real estate agents, so agents could operate more successfully in this business.

At the age of 84, Dale passed away. June continues her commitment today to ensuring that her husband and son’s vision remains an enduring legacy. She often attends regional meetings, makes personal phone calls to Realty Executives International’s annual award winners and helps host events for the company’s regional developers, broker/owners and executives (real estate agents) on a regular basis at Rich and Robyn’s home in Arizona. The co-founder still serves on the board of directors for both Realty Executives Phoenix and Realty Executives International and is frequently found walking the halls of the office, stopping to chat with staff members to find additional ways to get involved.

“When we founded this company 46 years ago, Dale and I couldn’t have imagined how the concept would grow,” says June Rector, co-founder of Realty Executives. “Each time I attend a company event, I get such enjoyment out of seeing so many people dedicated to the growth and success of this organization.”

Realty Executives International President and Owner Rich Rector’s focus is, and always has been, to continue his family’s legacy and the tradition of seeing the business through the “agent’s eyes.” Rector is a highly visible leader in the day-to-day operations and is always looking for ideas that move the company to reach its vision. Unlike many of his counterparts, Rich regularly teaches educational seminars for new and renewing franchisees, visits existing brokerages and coaches agents and brokers on profitability. Rector comments that his personal goal is to be a leader who is in the business for the prosperity of Realty Executives’ brokers and agents.

Announcing the Launch of E-Myth Real Estate Brokerage
Rector will share his perspective on tried and proven systems and methodologies to empower other real estate brokerages to build successful business models in an upcoming book he is publishing this spring, called E-Myth Real Estate Brokerage, with New York Times best-selling business author, Michael E. Gerber.

“Out of all the real estate companies in the world, we chose Realty Executives for our next business book in our popular E-Myth series because they live by their founding principles of entrepreneurialism,” states Gerber.

Gerber has achieved rankings in Business Week Magazine and Wall Street Journal’s best-selling lists for his E-Myth series. E-Myth refers to the “entrepreneurial myth” that, according to Gerber, the reason most businesses fail is because of the misconception that the founders of a business, who are experts in their field, are also experts at running a business.

“Agents want to focus on sales, their source of income and profit,” says Rector. “They are independent business owners and our responsibility lies in supporting them to differentiate themselves through marketing, technology and strategic planning tools.”

Realizing that Realty Executives International has successfully developed and implemented internal systems for its franchisees to allow brokers to “work on their business, not in it,” as Rector describes, Gerber determined the company was the best fit. Realty Executives illustrates how systemizing workflow frees brokers, and subsequently agents, to focus on strategic issues and sales. E-Myth Real Estate Brokerage is said to offer valuable insight into running a real estate business that can sustain regardless of market conditions.

Setup for Success
“Real estate professionals understand that they have a business that can be managed by replicating a successful system that provides revenue opportunities,” exclaims Rector. “We provide those solutions. Our systems are customizable for an individual business, whether for prospecting and recruiting plans or actionable business plans.”

Realty Executives’ business model is to attract the top echelon of real estate professionals in the industry and they have been successful in doing so. Amongst the company’s top brokerages, the average real estate agent conducts an average of three to four times more closed transactions than the National Association of REALTORS® average.

With the rapid change in the real estate industry over the past five years, the company adapted quickly by adding new programs and eliminating obsolete ones.

Longtime Realty Executives Broker/Owner in Virginia Beach, Wes Coons, integrated Realty Executives’ marketing, technology and recruiting systems over the last two years and has experienced significant growth. In fact, Coons is celebrating the addition of 17 real estate agents to his team in the month of January 2011 alone.

“My family has been involved with Realty Executives for 33 years now, and each year we get more dialed into the systems and tools Realty Executives provides for our sales associates and for our brokerage,” says Coons. “We love being a part of the Realty Executives family and look forward to continued growth in 2011.”

In Moose Jaw, Canada, Broker/Owners Jeff Markewich and Mike Botterill opened a new office on November 1, 2010 and attribute the structure and support Realty Executives provides to their growth of 15 new real estate agents in 60 days.

“We’re excited to hit the ground running and are confident that Realty Executives has the right system to help us meet our growth and retention goals,” says Markewich. “We’re also excited to be able to tap into the vast expanse of other Realty Executives brokerages across Canada and in the United States for best-practice sharing.”

A New Era of Marketing and Technology
Perhaps the most highly acclaimed systemized Realty Executives offering as of late is in the technology sphere.

The fast-paced world of evolving marketing and technology, coupled with a hard-hit economy, has changed consumer behavior. Rector says that Realty Executives International is acutely aware of the cultural shift from product to consumer-oriented and has put systems in place to support his franchisees to adapt.

Rector had the foresight to invest in technology during one of the most challenging real estate cycles yet. At the 2010 NAR Convention and Expo this past November in New Orleans, Realty Executives formally launched its new technology initiative, called RE: connect, which has been nearly two years in development by the company’s chief technology officer, Darrell Smith, and plans out to 2020.

“We are spearheading new technology opportunities that are ahead of the industry,” states Rector. “Ninety percent of real estate transactions begin as online searches many months beforehand and before selecting a real estate agent. Knowing this and having the tools to do something useful with the information represents one of the great opportunities of our time.”

Leading the rollout of the initiative is Realty Executives International Vice President of Marketing Todd Sumney.

“In this new era of consumer-driven desire for instant access to information across many different platforms and the desire to interact electronically in real time with their peers,” exclaims Sumney, “we are elevating Realty Executives above all other real estate companies so our broker and agent population can flourish in this new frontier.”

The company is utilizing the power of social networking, viral marketing and Smith’s strong background in business and technology to develop platforms which scale for an agent, boutique, team, large market area and Superbroker franchises. Coined “RE: connect,” the aggressive initiative offers cutting-edge marketing technology in mobile, Web and customer relations feature sets.

RE: connect, a Powerful Technological Platform

RE: web connect: Builds a broker’s or agent’s presence on the Internet through blogging, social media and the company’s shared global consumer network, while offering customers a national listing search and lead capture to increase business.

RE: mobile connect: Immediately connects the consumer to all relevant information—from Multiple Listing Service web pages to virtual tours created in the platform—for any real estate listing through simple text, voice or tag (i.e. barcode) scanning with smartphone technology.

RE: customer connect: All leads from the broker or agent’s website, the brand’s International website (www.RealtyExecutives.com), a prospective buyer’s mobile phone and marketing and advertising collateral are funneled to this customer relations management platform. It allows agents and brokers to cultivate and manage all of their leads, customer search activity and drip marketing from all of their lead sources—in one single location.

RE: Executive Access: The broker and agent’s “toolbox” of training resources, relevant industry news and tools and programs.

Agent of the Future…Agent of Change
Through the systems and advances in technology, Realty Executives International has engaged with change in the marketplace and the industry head-on.

“We are in a time that is certainly changing business for all of us,” states Rector. “Today’s dynamic real estate market spotlights how vital it is that we embrace this ‘new normal’ and create from it opportunity. In residential real estate, it has become clear that the successful real estate agents are the individuals who seek this opportunity, particularly now when short sales and REOs have become commonplace.”

The company’s method of encouraging adaptation is through best practice sharing. “Our collaboration with franchisees alerts us to change in local markets and in business so we can quickly identify solutions and opportunities,” says Scott Hurlock, vice president of franchise development for Realty Executives International. They are one of the only major real estate brands to actively aggregate best practices amongst its global network.

Real estate broker/owners worldwide are recognizing Realty Executives value, particularly in the new and ever-changing real estate environment, as apparent in its significant expansion in major hubs like Edmonton, Kansas City, Phoenix, Las Vegas, San Diego, Virginia Beach, Toronto, Baton Rouge, Chicago, New York and Orlando with the sale of 54 franchises and seven conversions in 2010. Hurlock adds that the company has aggressive growth goals for 2011 as well, with plans to sell 75 franchises this year.

“The agent of the future will have to continually expand their knowledge and adapt their business to survive and thrive,” states Rector. “Our responsibility as the franchisor is to be a catalyst for change and evolution.”

For more information, visit www.realtyexecutives.com.

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