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By Marylyn B. Schwartz

RISMEDIA, June 11, 2007–Extraordinary success is never an accident. It is always the result of unwavering dedication to excellence and requires a willingness to try, fail with honor and get back up to do it better the next round. 

Margie Richard, broker/owner of RE/MAX First Choice Real Estate in Northboro, MA, understands success at every level. She knows that no matter how well things are progressing, you cannot afford to take your eye off the ball. Success in real estate revolves around being masterful at the basics. While mastering the basics may seem like a contradiction in terms, in reality it is the foundation by which Margie built a company that’s been number one in commissions paid and total transactions for 15 consecutive years for RE/MAX of New England. 

Marylyn B. Schwartz: We’re conducting business in a challenging economy. Consumer confidence is shaky at best and we’re not sure what’s coming in the near future. Having said that, what are you doing to maintain your market dominance and hold onto your team? 

Margie Richard: Keep your agents educated. Reminding them that the basics are prospecting, staying abreast of technology, understanding the trends, concerns and hot buttons affecting the public. 

MBS: I’m hearing customer care beneath your words. By caring about what concerns your marketplace, you’re positioned for success. 

MR: The public demands tech-savvy sales professionals. We help our agents generate leads. We provide the tools to ensure success. However, without ongoing skill enhancement, we cannot convert the leads generated. 

MBS: What form does your in-house training take? 

MR: We conduct regular brainstorming sessions to stay in the forefront. As a result of staying abreast of trends we’ve come to realize that with few exceptions, print advertising is worthless. As a matter of fact, the biggest mistake an agent can make is to neglect his/her training. You’re never too successful or skilled to stop learning. An extension of training is getting involved in coaching. Having a coach is like having your own champion there to support your goals and help to ensure you’re on track. 

MBS: No doubt that with your exemplary record of success, that agents are lining up to join your team. How do you sort them out? 

MR: After thirty plus years in the business, I’ve developed a powerfully quick ‘gut reaction’ to anyone I talk with. I look for people who are willing to put in the time. This is not a part-timer’s career. You’ve got to be available at non-traditional hours; flexibility and accommodation are crucial. 

There are many advantages to our present market. While it seems as though the market is sluggish, it’s really moving quickly towards normalization. As a result, agents are not being pitted against each other. Buyers are not getting frustrated by multiple-offer situations. 

MBS: You’ve chosen to align yourself with the RE/MAX brand. How has that affiliation helped you maintain exemplary results? 

MR: Within our region there are countless program opportunities for agents to grow their business, enhance their skills and interact with industry leaders from all facets of real estate. Our ‘partners,’ the other RE/MAX companies in the region and around the world, offer us an endless resource of untapped expertise. It’s always just there for the asking!

Marylyn B. Schwartz, CSP, is an expert in real estate and corporate sales training/management and team development. She is president of Teamweavers and a trainer for Leader’s Choice©. Contact her at, or e-mail: