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Zillow Group’s Excellence Award Recognizes the Most Productive Zillow Premier Agent for Broker e-Teams

Launched just two-and-a-half years ago, Zillow Group’s Premier Broker platform—now renamed Zillow Premier Agent for Broker in Zillow’s recent rebrand—continues to shake up the real estate industry in the best way possible. Combining some of Zillow Group’s most popular advertising products with lead management capabilities, the platform is designed to streamline the lead acquisition and management process. Since 2018, Zillow Group has been recognizing the most productive e-Teams using the platform with the nationwide Excellence Award.

But what does it take to outshine the competition and win? We sat down with the latest group of winners to discuss this—and more.

For John Walker, owner of RE/MAX Diamond Realty in Mebane, N.C., a competitive drive to win was a key factor in his eight-member e-Team’s success. “The possibility of winning the Excellence Award added a new dynamic to our agent’s experience with [Zillow Premier Agent for Broker],” says Walker. “We used the contest to set specific goals, then worked very hard to make those goals a reality.”

A self-proclaimed data-driven individual, Walker notes that the decision to begin using Zillow Premier Agent for Broker had everything to do with timing.

“When we started with [Zillow Premier Agent for Broker] in 2017, our team didn’t have a lot of experience working with online leads,” says Walker, who goes on to explain that keeping his e-Team motivated is all about empowering them on a consistent basis with the belief that they can be just as successful working online leads as they have been in other areas of their business.

“Once agents have the right mindset, the motivation comes from creating a culture of mutual success in our firm where people are encouraged (if not required) to share information about the daily practices they’re having success with—and those they find challenging,” says Rick Foster, broker/owner of Engel & Völkers Annapolis in Annapolis, Md., and esteemed real estate professional.

Holding steadfast to the notion that deals beget deals, Foster believes that there’s a certain confidence that comes with actively working with strong leads that enables one to better work their own sphere.

“While we began using [Zillow Premier Agent for Broker] nearly two years ago, at the time, we had several new agents who didn’t have an existing pipeline or active historical client base to work for referrals. But thanks to Zillow, our agents are being provided with the best source for non-sphere leads in the business,” says Foster, whose e-Team currently has seven active members.

One of the first brokers to get involved with Zillow Premier Agent for Broker when it launched in Bakersfield, Calif., Bill Redmond—broker/owner of Watson Realty ERA—has seen first-hand the value of keeping his e-Team small in size and scope.

“We worked closely with Thadious Fisher, our business consultant, to design a team that’s extremely accountable,” says Redmond.

In fact, the nine members of the e-Team are held to a high standard, meeting every other week to address any challenges and dig deep into the reporting provided by Zillow.

“The great thing about [Zillow Premier Agent for Broker] is the fact that it puts the broker in charge, holds the agent accountable and provides a great consumer experience,” adds Redmond.

Accountability is a key factor in the success that Classic Properties has seen since getting hooked on Zillow Premier Agent for Broker in 2017, as well.

“Our business consultant, Carrie DeBacker, has been instrumental in the success we’ve seen,” says Lindy Harris, an agent with Classic Properties, and one of the nine members of the brokerage’s e-Team. “Carrie sat down with us when we were struggling to learn the platform and helped us create an accountability contract.”

By believing in the system and learning how to grow the team correctly, Harris notes that things began to take off for the firm in terms of leads coming in and being converted soon after stepping back and putting productive accountability in place.

The Zillow Premier Agent for Broker platform is instrumental in connecting real estate professionals and prospective clients who are actively searching for a home by using Zillow, Trulia and traffic to increase agent productivity and manage lead effectiveness. It’s also been a boon when it comes to recruiting.

“In the last two weeks alone (at press time), we’ve recruited four agents from other companies,” says Steve Farrell, broker of record/owner of Classic Properties. “They see our presence on Zillow, and I believe that translates in their mind to us being a company that’s investing in getting business for its agents. Now that we have the Excellence Award, we can utilize that and say that not only are we getting a lot of business, but we’re also closing deals with it.”

“Online leads are a different animal altogether, and Zillow does a great job when it comes to helping new agents and newer teams come up with best practices to convert leads,” continues Harris, underscoring the importance that training plays in setting real estate professionals up for success on the Zillow Premier Agent for Broker platform.

In fact, many of Zillow’s broker partners have gone as far as saying that the Zillow Premier Agent for Broker Academy Trainer/Advisor Program has revolutionized the way in which their agents engage with online leads.

“Our agents have benefitted greatly from the Academy Trainer/Advisor Program,” says Walker. “The business practices they’ve implemented as a result of the training have led to them being much more comfortable establishing a personal connection with an online consumer that they previously didn’t know.”

Winners of the biannual award program are eligible for a variety of benefits including Zillow Premier Agent for Broker advertising credits, publicity, a brokerage celebration event and promotional materials. The contest runs twice a year, from January through June, and July through December, and will continue under Zillow’s rebrand.

For more information, please visit

Paige Tepping is RISMedia’s managing editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at