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From startup to success as a leader in the market

keith_dunhamName: Keith Dunham
Title:  COO, Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate HomeCity
Years in Real Estate: 12
Number of offices:  10
Number of agents: 320

You have quietly been building a business in Texas and we know online leads are a big part of it.  What has been happening over the last few years—has there been growth in sales, agents etc.?
There has been tremendous growth in sales and our recruiting has been very successful. We have built a reputation of having some of the best leads in the business. For us, it comes down to processes. I’ve spent most of my professional life driving and optimizing lead conversion, so creating processes and training around improving those rates has been a natural progression. Coupled with quality leads from®, our training and leadership team has been the formula for the success we’ve seen in the last few years.

What’s been the trajectory? Still climbing? Plateaued?
We are definitely still climbing. A lot of that has to do with an extremely strong market but we are also putting processes in place to make our operation recession-proof. It’s easy to get excited in a booming market and forget about the importance of nurturing leads after the closing table, but our culture is one that encourages strong follow-up and implementation of marketing tactics to stay in front of clients. I think this has helped us prevent a plateau as well.

What percentage of your growth has been from your online lead program?
Approximately 50 percent of our growth can be attributed to quality leads. We’ve been able to grow market shares and our leads and conversion processes have earned us a reputation that has made recruiting much easier. To be able to grow an agent’s business quickly is a value proposition that is difficult to ignore in our market.

What have you learned that you could share with a broker or team that wants to grow their business?

In our experience it’s all about having a process and sticking to it. If you’re a broker or team, don’t give leads away to just anyone. Have a way to quantify conversions and be sure to measure ROI. If you’re investing in an agent by providing them with leads, make sure they aren’t being wasted. ​If an agent isn’t converting, have training in place to identify why and help them improved. This type of monitoring and number-based performance tracking has really made a difference in our business.

The consumers seem to be jumping from listing to listing online—but reportedly, they eventually bring their discoveries to an agent. What can an agent do to ensure success in this scenario?
Have a solid strategy for when you get in front of a client, and do so as quickly as possible. The goal should always be to provide undeniable value where others aren’t. Ask clients discovery questions like, “What did you see in the house that you liked the most?” This allows you to understand their needs and strategize more effectively. Instead of driving them all over town, you’re able to take control, curate the search process and simplify an otherwise complex and emotionally draining process.

How do you coach your team toward this winning behavior?
We have weekly meetings and trainings. We put a lot of emphasis on motivation and encourage all of our agents to go out and meet as many people as possible. Reporting allows us to assess agent performance and look at our business from a holistic standpoint. We are also a culture built around recognition—reinforcing the behaviors we want to see repeated has made a tremendous impact on performance and retention. Everyone wants to be a part of a winning team, but when they see that they can actually reach their goals, while gaining inspiration and motivation from the success of others, that’s when the formula starts to self-propel the business.

Is having a strong lead program helpful in recruiting agents? Have you recruited or retained teams within your organization as a result of the program?
Yes, absolutely. Leads are important to growing the foundation of an agent’s business and that is undeniable. They also help to sustain that business. Leads are fundamental to real estate, so if you have good ones and know how to convert them, no one will argue with you. We’ve had agents say, “It’s too good to be true!” as their only objection. In those cases, we just share the success stories we’ve had and put them in touch with agents at the brokerage in the spirit of full transparency. Teams do very well with us and make up our longest tenured agents. We had a duo join in 2015 with $1.7 million in joint production. Eighteen months later, they closed $22 million in sales together. The majority of that was our leads!

The quality of the consumer coming in is incomparable—that makes a huge difference. Overall, the quality that brings to our business, coupled with our dedication to excellence has been a successful formula with measurable and impressive results!

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