After working as a TV reporter across the country for more than 20 years, Bob Sokoler and his wife Norine settled in Louisville, Ky., and transitioned to a career in real estate. Since then, the Sokoler-Medley team has ranked number one for volume for the past three years in Louisville and is among the top 10 offices in the United States.
Sokoler recently shot a commercial with Shark Tank star and real estate magnate, Barbara Corcoran. Â Corcoran endorsed Sokoler and several of his colleagues from the exclusive Radio and Television Experts (RATE) group, an elite network of real estate rainmakers in commercials that are now airing during several episodes throughout the Shark Tank season. Below he shares his bulldog mentality for leading his high-tech and driven real estate team.
RE/MAX Properties East
Years as a team: Â 5
Team members: 10
Reason for forming a team: One agent canâ€™t do all the moving parts of the transaction. Early on, it was obvious that we had a lot of listings and leads from buyers and we needed to have agents to handle all of that. We delegate pieces to teammates and stay organized with technology, plans and checklists for each element of the transaction.
How do you negotiate with your broker to achieve a mutually beneficial business arrangement? Every broker is different. Smart brokers are making accommodations for teams to be able to make money as well as the brokerage. Itâ€™s really based on how creative the owner can be to make it work.
What type of support do you look to most from your broker? Our broker has done it for 25 years and we look to them to be our sounding board. If we donâ€™t like the way we see something happen, we canâ€™t exactly tell another agent what theyâ€™re doing wrong, so we bring up red flags to our broker because we trust them to get matters resolved.
How do you divide responsibilities among team members to maximize efforts? We have a number of systems in place to ensure that our office is running efficiently and our clientsâ€™ needs are met.
We have staff that manages our leads, including one member that is specifically responsible for scrubbing the buyer leads. That person determines their interest level, ensures that theyâ€™re quality inquiries, and then divvies them up among the buyer agents. From that point, we collaborate and manage the leads in our database to ensure each inquiry is serviced.
We delegate web development to a local company, which will soon bear our new â€śReal Estate Bulldogâ€ť moniker, which supports our tenacity in the real estate business and the love for our English bulldogs that we rescued.
How do you retain team members? We offer incredibly good commission rates. When we talk to others around the country, we are very proud to tell them how much we pay. The split is very high compared to others. Because of my broadcasting background, our overhead is reasonable and Iâ€™m able to cut costs by doing the photography and videos myself.
What are the main advantages of having a team? Thereâ€™s a great feeling knowing that I help provide a great work environment and thatâ€™s what drives me. I have a great life and Iâ€™m providing for 10 or so families to have a great life. Before we had a team, I was juggling too much and it was overwhelming. But with a team, Iâ€™m able to share the load and take the pressure off.
How do you promote the advantages of working with a team to prospects and clients? We start with the listing presentation and explain the team concept and promote it throughout our marketing materials. Iâ€™m up front about who does what and where.
What do you consider most critical to maintaining a profitable team? We keep expenses in check to ensure we donâ€™t overspend and make sure our agents are busy. I bounce a lot of opportunities, problems or concerns off of many of the mastermind groups that I belong to for their feedback. We have training and I speak to and attend groups and regularly share scripts and dialogues with the team to get everyone on the same page. Each week we address concerns and give feedback. Everyone is accountable.
How do you market/brand your team? As a TV reporter for many years across the country I learned a lot. Every time we went to a different city, there were new housing regulations to understand. When I got out of television, our goal was to never let any buyer or seller feel the way we felt about the regulations when it came to sell or buy a home. That is the story of how the team came together and our TV commercial promotes our team and vision.
We advertise online, which is where 95 percent of our leads come from. We do radio, TV commercials, including the one with Barbara Corcoran, in addition to signs and print media. I also do videos twice a month to communicate market trends. We use a wide variety of software systems that when used together, they all work well.
For more information, visit weselllouisville.com.