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Editor’s Note: The following article is the cover story in the September issue of RISMedia’s Real Estate magazine.

As four superstar panelists explained how they built, managed and motivated their sales teams during the annual RE/MAX Ultimate Team Summit in Las Vegas, one thing became obvious: These people would be successful anywhere—in any business or industry. They each had that undefinable “it” factor: a mix of charisma, confidence, drive and talent.

The panelists generously shared their secrets and detailed their systems and strategies. But they really didn’t talk too much about RE/MAX.

Until they did.

And that’s when the audience of nearly 1,000 colleagues heard why these four top producers—with well over $300 million in annual sales among their teams—were so solidly and unmistakably passionate about the RE/MAX brand.

They mentioned credibility. Brand power. Referrals. Marketshare. Global presence. And then, Marti Hampton, who has dominated the Raleigh, N.C., market for two decades at RE/MAX One Realty, summed it up in 30 seconds.

“I’d be shortchanging my clients if I didn’t give them RE/MAX. Sure, I could be Marti Hampton Real Estate or go with a different brand, but RE/MAX is the gold standard. And that’s what I owe the people I work with.

“I’m at my best when I have RE/MAX behind me.”

The crowd—a mix of individual agents looking to build a team and team leaders seeking to reach a higher level—erupted in applause.

They knew exactly what she meant.

Expanding on Success
Being the best has always been the aim at RE/MAX. It’s evident in the way RE/MAX agents serve their buyers and sellers, and in the way RE/MAX brokers support their agents.

Guided by a mission of helping others achieve their goals, RE/MAX has a culture rooted in service, productivity, collaboration, high achievement and constant improvement. For more than 40 years, agents who share those values have found a home with the brand.

“We’ve always been the best choice for top producers as well as agents who aspire to become top producers,” says Dave Liniger, RE/MAX CEO, chairman and co-founder. “Agents join us because they understand that a productive environment, filled with productive people, is the ideal place to build or expand a successful career.”

RE/MAX agents in the U.S. average 15.4 years of experience. But many of the network’s recent recruits are newer to the business—and a growing number are just starting out.

“It works because of two things. First, because our agents and brokers are highly collaborative and always willing to share their best ideas. And second, because the newer agents joining us are a good fit with our culture—they’re ambitious people who are eager to learn, grow and excel,” Liniger says. “If you’re truly committed to being a great agent who can deliver great service, you’ll find a spot at RE/MAX.”

More and more recruits are seizing the opportunity. The network’s agent count has grown every quarter for more than four years—18 straight quarters since the start of 2012. Following a gain of over 5,100 agents in the first half of this year, the worldwide total reached 109,960 in June. RE/MAX has more offices (7,000+) than any other real estate franchise and a presence in nearly 100 countries, making it the industry’s most global brand.

Steady growth brings more yard signs, more marketshare and more brand visibility, all of which benefit every member of the network. But growth is only part of the story. Production and achievement are much higher priorities at this industry-leading brand. RE/MAX agents have led the U.S. in total residential transaction sides every year since 1999, and last year they closed over 960,000 sides—eclipsing every competitor by more than 100,000, according to industry research.

Getting the Job Done
Per-agent production also illustrates the gap between RE/MAX and all other national franchises, and is in many respects an even better indicator of quality than total sales. In the 2016 RISMedia Power Broker Report of the nation’s largest brokerages, RE/MAX agents averaged 16.4 transaction sides each—a figure more than double the 8.0 average of all other agents in the survey.

More than double the production of other agents—that’s a powerful statement about the caliber of RE/MAX agents and the quality-over-quantity culture they work in. Savvy buyers and sellers notice it, which brings even more business to the network. And it makes perfect sense. After all, when someone needs surgery, do they want the hospital with the most surgeons, or the one with the most proficient surgeons?

“My brokerage has 90 agents, but our total sales are better than those of nearby competitors who have 400 agents,” says Shivani Dallas, a Hall of Fame member with RE/MAX Infinity Realty in Chandler, Ariz. “That shows the level of agent performance at a RE/MAX office. Per-agent production is something we watch very closely. It means a lot.

“I belong to a RE/MAX office that has a culture of sharing and support for one another. We get so excited when we see people in our office grow. Culture is huge. It’s probably the biggest reason I’ve been with the same broker and the same group of folks for 11 years now.”

Clearly, great things happen when you combine 1) dynamic, entrepreneurial people; 2) an extremely powerful brand; and 3) a productive, winning, idea-sharing culture.

Visibility that Matters
An extremely powerful brand isn’t built overnight. Through the years, billions of dollars have been spent promoting the brand in a way that helps consumers think of their local RE/MAX agents and offices.

Brand matters. When people are choosing from multiple options, they often start the process with a brand they know and would recommend. That’s a big reason RE/MAX uses highly visible national, regional and local marketing to constantly build on its already solid foundation. With ongoing shifts in content consumption, the strategic marketing effort has grown more digital and social to meet people where they are. But national TV—supplemented by online video—remains a major differentiator.

“People recognize the balloon, the TV commercials, the bus stops, the social media ads. The RE/MAX brand is everywhere,” says Roger Zelaya, a broker associate with RE/MAX Time in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. “When I’m calling someone or meeting clients face-to-face, I don’t have to explain who I’m with. I’m with RE/MAX. Boom. The end.

“People understand who we are, what we do and how we do it—and that helps me tremendously.”

Value of an Agent
The 2016 national advertising campaign, “The Sign of a RE/MAX Agent,” was developed by award-winning San Francisco ad agency Camp + King. The coordinated marketing includes extensive TV, radio, outdoor, digital and social elements.

“We wanted to spotlight the critical role real estate agents play and the incredible value they provide,” says RE/MAX Chief Operating Officer Adam Contos. “Buying or selling a home is the biggest financial transaction of most people’s lives, and we want them to have the best, most thoroughly prepared agent guiding them through the process. They can find that agent at a RE/MAX office. Yes, the campaign promotes the brand, but more importantly, it helps connect buyers and sellers to expert agents who can help.”

The TV ads appear during a variety of prime-time network programming—including hit shows such as “Dancing with the Stars,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Dateline” and “America’s Got Talent”—as well as in morning and late-night slots. And an aggressive digital spend reaches viewers on their mobile devices. All told, the marketing will create hundreds of millions of brand impressions this year.

With a light, fun tone, the five TV spots remind consumers that when they’re choosing an agent, they shouldn’t overlook the essentials like skill and experience.

“Anytime we reinforce the idea that people should work with the best agent possible, we’re encouraging them to go with RE/MAX,” Contos says. “Advertising gets really easy when you’re promoting a quality choice you believe in.”

The “Sign of a RE/MAX Agent” theme will continue into 2017, with executions that are even more creative and adventurous.

“We have no plans to take the safe route,” Contos says. “That’s just not how we do things.”

Mastering the Business
Brand visibility is valuable, but quality agents are even more essential. They transform RE/MAX from being a name consumers know to a brand clients trust.

When satisfactory isn’t good enough and great is just a stepping stone, agents can look to Momentum®, a RE/MAX exclusive that helps participants sharpen their focus and grow their business.

The comprehensive business development program goes far beyond “training.” In fact, training is just one of four components, along with consulting, accountability and masterminding. More than 2,000 brokers have opted in to Momentum so far, in turn delivering the content to their agents.

“Momentum has absolutely changed my company,” says Kim Piper, who owns five RE/MAX Professionals offices in and around Olympia, Wash. “My managers and I are excited about recruiting because we know that what we offer is far superior than anything out there. We know that agents who join our brokerage will benefit from their decision.”

One of the tenets of Momentum is that mastery of any subject involves three steps: 1) learning and fully understanding the material; 2) putting what’s been learned into action—repeating and refining the process; and 3) teaching the material to someone else. In most Momentum offices, the broker and/or managers conduct the courses personally.

“The mastery piece is the biggest thing to me,” says John Ketchum, a manager with RE/MAX State Line in Leawood, Kan. “The point is to pick up something, take action on it, evaluate the result, adjust and repeat. That’s how you get better and better at whatever it is you’re doing. No matter how good you are at something, you can always find ways to improve.”

Specific Steps for Agents
Momentum’s agent content centers on the sales essentials of generating, converting and servicing leads, and simultaneously marketing or prospecting for additional leads. It includes a 13-course system that provides specific goals, plans and strategies for each of those elements. The impact can be profound, especially for relatively new agents.

Brandi Minchillo, a 2014 licensee with RE/MAX Southern Shores in Myrtle Beach, S.C., earned over $100,000 in commissions last year. She knows what Momentum can do.

“Momentum has helped me with buyers, helped me with sellers, and actually helped me carve out more personal time for my family,” Minchillo says. “It’s a lot of work up front, but you learn simple systems that don’t require so much time as you move through the transaction.”

For more experienced agents, Momentum includes a “Master Team Builder” curriculum outlining a detailed A-to-Z system for assembling and maximizing a sales team. As with many other parts of Momentum, it starts with turning a massive undertaking into a manageable one.

“When you’re able to break everything down into essential daily activities, you start spending your time in a much more intentional and purposeful way,” says Amy Somerville, vice president of Training & Education. “That can make all the difference in the world to a broker who’s trying to strengthen an office, or to an agent who’s trying to build a team or help more buyers and sellers. It takes you from ‘doing’ to ‘being,’ and it changes how you view everything.”

Because Momentum has been so valuable in so many brokerages, a Momentum 2.0 follow-up was recently introduced to provide a deeper dive.

Shared Knowledge
The spirit of shared knowledge and mutual improvement behind Momentum is also clearly displayed at major RE/MAX events such as the Catalyst/Premier Broker Summit, the Elite Retreat for top producers, the R4 convention, the Broker Owner Conference (BOC), the aforementioned Ultimate Team Summit and hundreds of regional and local gatherings. Attendees at all of these are quick to note the invaluable, life-changing ideas being exchanged. It’s almost reason enough to join the network.

“RE/MAX people help each other succeed. Simple as that. It happens in our system every single day,” says Nate Martinez of RE/MAX Professionals in Glendale, Ariz. “Anyone interested in reaching a higher level should get to a RE/MAX event. You’re surrounded by the industry’s best—successful, generous peers who are thrilled to share every secret they have. It’s a huge advantage our competitors can’t match.”

The concept of actively helping others succeed is in the RE/MAX DNA, says President Geoff Lewis.

“We’re always exploring new ways to help our agents and brokers do more and stay ahead of the competition. And our agents and brokers are constantly building better solutions for everyone they serve,” Lewis says. “It’s a continual effort at all levels of our organization, and it raises everyone’s game. Just one more reason it’s exciting to be part of RE/MAX.”

Feedback Shapes Key Services
The greatest asset RE/MAX has is the collective skills, talent and intellect of the 100,000+ professionals in the network. It’s no surprise, then, that input from the field plays a major role in the development of initiatives and programs at RE/MAX Headquarters in Denver.

A prime example is the RE/MAX Broker Leadership Council, a mastermind group consisting of RE/MAX LLC President Geoff Lewis and 16 broker/owners from across the U.S. and Canada. In bimonthly meetings and calls, the council helps shape marketing strategies, technology platforms, social media efforts and more.

“These invaluable discussions benefit everyone in our organization,” Lewis says. “The council members are bright, engaged brokers with strong opinions about resources and services. They’ve had a significant impact on several fronts.”

The council members are glad to serve as a voice representing the membership. Their terms run either two or three years.

“I’m impressed with the (RE/MAX leadership’s) open-door philosophy,” says Mark Wolfe, broker/owner of eight RE/MAX DFW Associates offices in the Greater Dallas area. “And I appreciate the sincere attitude that we’re all in this together.”

Sandy Hancock, broker/owner of the five-office RE/MAX Results in St. Louis, shares Wolfe’s enthusiasm.

“I didn’t know what to expect going into this, and I’ve found the focus to be tremendously valuable,” she says. “It’s good to know RE/MAX LLC cares about our concerns and will make changes based on our input. In the end, we all want the same thing—great programs tailored to meet the needs of the agents and brokers.”

7 Facts about Global Growth

  1. Nearly 50,000 RE/MAX Sales Associates (48,325 as of June 30), work at offices outside the U.S.
  1. Agent count in Canada has grown every year but one (a dip of just 128 agents in 2009) during the past two decades. It’s over 20,000 agents now, which is more than 18 percent of the Canadian Real Estate Association membership.
  1. 2015 was the best year yet for franchise sales outside the U.S. and Canada: 601.
  1. Five of the most successful global regions—Israel (1,004 agents), Italy (1,670 agents), Southern Africa (2,402 agents), Spain (1,421 agents) and Turkey (3,169 agents)—celebrated their 20th anniversaries in the past two years. Together, they account for more than 9,500 sales associates.
  1. RE/MAX has a presence in every South American country except Guyana. RE/MAX Argentina leads the way with more than 1,800 sales associates.
  1. The largest region outside North America is RE/MAX Portugal, with over 5,000 sales associates. It grew by more than 800 in the first half of 2016.
  1. In sheer percentages, some of the most robust agent growth this year is occurring in Ukraine (616 percent gain), Belarus (189 percent), Uganda (133 percent) and Thailand (97 percent).

A Great Site to See
A major, game-changing reboot to remax.com earlier this year is designed to increase consumer engagement and deliver more leads to RE/MAX agents. Already No. 1 among the national real estate franchise sites in terms of visits—and a top-10 industry site overall—remax.com has helped drive over 16 million referral fee-free leads directly to RE/MAX agents in the past decade. And that number increases every day.

A cornerstone of the network’s loyalty-building tech and digital enhancement strategy, the remax.com refresh includes these upgrades:

  • A fresh, clean, mobile-responsive design
  • Dynamic single-page agent websites available to every agent
  • Easy, intuitive navigation in map-based searches
  • Enhanced My RE/MAX section that simplifies saved searches

For more information, visit www.remax.com.

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