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RREIN Broker Spotlights feature business-building insights from members of RISMedia’s Real Estate Information Network® (RREIN).

In the following post, RISMedia’s Maria Patterson interviews Everett King, a broker with ERA King Real Estate, about joining the family business, evolving the company and attracting killer sales associates.

Maria Patterson: What led your father to open King Real Estate back in the ’60s?

Everett King: My father grew up in the hardware business. He hated the retail business but he had always loved real estate. When my grandfather died in 1963, my dad closed the hardware store, went out and got his real estate license and started selling real estate. He opened Jack King Realty in 1969. Real estate was his avocation. He was a dyed-in-the-wool real estate salesperson.

MP: When did you join your father in the business?

EK: I went to the University of Alabama with the full intention of coming back to work for my dad. When I graduated, I joined him as the third agent in 1978. Back then, I never realized the correlation there would be between my degree in advertising and the real estate industry, but when the business started changing in the ’80s and ’90s, it was suddenly right in my wheelhouse.

MP: How did Jack King Realty evolve over the years?

EK: My dad’s company joined the Gallery of Homes franchise in 1979, and then in 1982, we merged with a local company. When my dad passed away in 1990, I had seen the value of being part of a franchise, and I had seen the advantages in acquiring a company.

MP: Was your approach to running the business different than your dad’s?

EK: Even though I was the top agent at the time my dad passed away and I took over the business, my first executive decision was to quit sales. I feel it is my role to spend my time making everyone around us better. I can speak real estate like no other owner. I’m on conference calls and webinars all the time, and I take the time to go to national events and learn about everything out there that’s new and important.

MP: How has the company evolved since you took the reins?

EK: We had less than 3 percent marketshare when my father died. We had already grown to 10 percent marketshare when my wife, Anna, joined us in 1992. In 1994, I decided to look into buying a franchise. At the time, technology was becoming overwhelming to me. I looked at what was going on with the ERA platform and I thought that was just perfect for us. We joined ERA and became ERA King Real Estate and that was the secret to the secret—we now had a place to go on a national level for all our needs and never had to react to what the competition was doing because ERA was always ahead of the game.

MP: How would you describe ERA King Real Estate’s current position in the marketplace?

EK: In 2007, we were the No. 1 ERA franchise in America and won the Gene Francis award. Today, we have four offices and 90 agents. We’ve continued to grow during the recession because today’s market presents opportunities for well-run companies. This business isn’t being built to be sold. People are coming into this company with the responsibility of understanding that this is a legacy business.

MP: What most attracts sales associates to your company?

EK: First of all, not everybody will be a good fit for us. We’re not a one-size-fits-all company. You have to have a little swagger to fit in here! I think what most attracts agents to our firm is the fact that I am here to spend all day, every day making you better. King Real Estate has never sold a house—our agents sell houses. Therefore, we need to be a giant support service to agents—that’s our core business model.

MP: What are the biggest challenges you’re currently facing and what strategies are you implementing to help overcome them?

EK: The biggest challenge is consumer confidence and the lack of a national housing policy. Our economic troubles are not going to end until housing is righted. We can start by educating one seller at a time. We can educate them that it’s really not as bad as the media makes it sound.

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