In the following interview, Jennifer Atkisson-Lovett, broker/owner, RE/MAX of Stuart in Martin County and St. Lucie, Fla., discusses her philosophy when it comes to attracting, coaching and retaining her agents.
Years in Real Estate: 21
Region Served: Martin County and St. Lucie, Fla.
Average Market Time: 76 days
Number of Offices: 2
Number of Agents: 54
RE/MAX credits you with leading the top-producing brokerage in Martin County. Tell us about your experience at the helm of RE/MAX of Stuart.
Jennifer Atkisson-Lovett: Our philosophy is that we don’t want everybody. We only want the best of the best, which translates to agents who are both entrepreneurial and helpful. Our average agent earned $177,000 in commissions and had 25 closed transactions in 2015. Most of our agents have been with us for nine years, resulting in almost no turnover within the company. We do this by being very particular about who we bring on board. Once the agent is here, my role is to help them push to the next level. We also have a secret weapon in Keri Burgess, our sales manager. Not only does she coach and work with agents on accountability and planning, but she also does a great deal of mentoring.
What is your particular expertise?
JAL: My mother, Mary Ann Villalva, who founded this brokerage and very recently retired, instilled in me the absolute necessity of caring about our community, our agents. They know that I’ll back them up, and that I’m there for them. That’s not to say that I won’t step in and fire a bad apple if necessary. It’s hard, but you have to keep the culture positive. Because of our philosophy, we attract the right people. Then I walk the walk. I also give back to the community because I feel that if we’re going to profit from the community, we need to give back. In the end, I always try to be part of the solution.
If you had to point to the one thing agents love you for, what would it be?
JAL: My agents have told me that I create an environment that’s like a family with high values. Through our RE/MAX affiliation, I give them state-of-the-art tools, and I strive to put my agents first so that I’m always helping to build their success.
How do you stay in front of the competition?
JAL: Through coaching and accountability. In 2007, I transitioned out of sales in order to focus 100 percent on coaching and working with agents. I’m always on the lookout for new methods and/or systems to bring into the office to help them be better. Keri is also instrumental in this respect, as she has about 20 agents she coaches weekly, keeping them on track with their business plans. It’s not a one-size-fits-all brokerage. We only hire one new licensee per office per year. My customer is my agent, the top agent who wants an individualized plan. Keri and I are there to help them get that. That’s our why. That’s what gets my day going.
What are you doing to ensure a solid future?
JAL: We’re updating our Stuart office space, as well as recruiting and attracting the right agents. In addition to making sure our agents know what their opportunities are, we’re constantly looking at what we can do to help them. They’re an awesome group of agents, and I feel incredibly lucky that I get to lead them.
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