In the following interview, Jeff Sibbach, team leader, and Phil Sexton, co-owner/Operations & Marketing, for the Sibbach Team with Realty ONE Group in Scottsdale, Ariz., discuss the advantages of their model, operating a team, technology, and more.
Years in Real Estate: Jeff, 15; Phil, 12
Acquired by Realty ONE Group: 2011
Team Members: 42 agents, 20 support staff
Honors: Ranked No. 1 in Maricopa County in 2017, with two agents who made the 40 Under 40 list for the Scottsdale Association of REALTORS®
Production: On pace to do over $200 million in sales volume this year
Broker Support: Realty ONE Group lets us run the team the way we want to. We have the flexibility under their umbrella to run our own business.
When and why did you first decide to form a team?
Jeff Sibbach: I always wanted to be No. 1, and it’s hard to be No. 1 in real estate without a team.
How do you divide up the roles on the team?
Phil Sexton: Our agents can do either side of the business. We can help our agents with how the buyer’s agent role works and with what wins in the living room during a listing presentation.
JS: We also have 20 people who support our 40-plus agents. We feel we offer the consumer a significantly greater value than an individual agent because of the resources we support each team member with to help consumers in selling a house or finding their dream home. We have an HR and payroll department, and we offer a 401(k) and insurance to our employees. Our goal is to drive home the best experience for the consumer, and we feel that traditional REALTORS® have put the growth of the business ahead of that. We are out to change the industry.
What’s the biggest competitive advantage agents gain from being on your team?
JS: We lead with technology and help agents with what they can’t do on their own. When they list a house, they’re going to get the marketing budget they need to support them. We offer Instagram ads, Facebook ads, Google ads; we have a stager on our team, individualized CMAs, etc.…an individual agent wouldn’t be able to offer that to a seller. We are nimble and small, versus brokers who are serving too many people.
You’ve earned a lot of big honors and achievements. What would you most attribute to this success?
JS: We look to offer solutions to the seller on the buy side. The traditional model was based on leveraging the MLS, but now the public has that information. We have to take it to the next level. We go beyond and find homes for buyers outside the traditional MLS. We sold 14 houses last year off-market.
What are some of the technologies and systems that are essential to the success of the team?
JS: Our website, for one—it’s up for a Webby Award—and leveraging Zillow on another level. We’re also using Boomtown and a CRM to provide the visualization of leads for agents.
PS: Automation is the other piece. We have to have touches going out automatically because there’s no way to keep up with the amount of inquiries and the amount of leads coming through.
What’s most important in maintaining the success of the team?
JS: We have to never lose focus and stay true to who we are—we are impacting families during the most emotional time of their lives. We have to always look at how we can increase the level of service and help them all the way through the transaction. Yes, we’re doing more automation and technology on the agent side, but there’s the human aspect of service for our clients, and that’s not just about documents—that’s about moving trucks and boxes and children and dogs. How are we helping clients with everything that’s involved with buying and selling a home?