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The COVID-19 pandemic didn’t just change the way we do business, but also how we connect and recognize our agents. After some head-scratching and numerous glitchy virtual meetings, I wanted to find a creative way to regain that personal face-to-face interaction that’s crucial to leading my market successfully.

My agents did a phenomenal job in 2020, serving their clients through unprecedented waters to close transactions; for that, they should be honored. Even though I am still holding the Fathom Realty-Collin County, Texas, annual awards event virtually, I decided to go one step further by hand-delivering yard signs to recognize my agents’ outstanding achievements last year. For two straight days, I drove to the homes of my top producers and personally said “thank you and congratulations.” Part of this message was a custom yard sign recognizing their achievements. The reward was paid back to me tenfold in my agents’ smiling faces, appreciation and pride in displaying the signs for their community to see.

So what are the key takeaways for your business? Where do I begin? There are so many.

Personal connection is key. It is well known that relationships are everything in the real estate industry. As leaders, we must exemplify the value of relationships by working every day to support our agents so they can best serve their clients. Despite the strains of the pandemic, try to find every way possible to build and nurture that personal connection to each member of your team. Every day, I have the honor to reconfirm the Fathom value proposition of servant leadership to my agents.

Play up the positives and play down the negatives. Obviously, this past year was, sadly, all about the negatives. What is certain is that there will always be highs and lows in your personal and professional life, but you can find opportunities, however small they may be, to highlight your agents’ success stories. Remember, positive gestures mean a lot, so whether it is a yard sign or just a brief text recognizing a job well done, make it memorable for your agents.

Expect the unexpected. My original intention was to surprise and thank my agents with the sign displays. What I didn’t expect was the outpouring of attention the gesture received on social media. My agents were so proud they posted photos and remarks of gratitude. In return, their spheres of influence responded with a multitude of likes and comments—at last count, thousands of likes and hundreds of shares!

Here is the important marketing takeaway: With every social reaction and share comes brand recognition for the agent and Fathom Realty. Past clients commented on the outstanding service received from the agent, which became an instant referral to the client’s sphere and potentially generated new leads. Are you following the extent of the reach here? Not to mention that there is a big sign on their lawn touting the agent’s success with Fathom Realty to their entire neighborhood. The best lead-gen tool ever!

This award season may be different, but it can still be full of great memories and special moments. Congratulations to all the real estate professionals who constantly go the extra mile for their clients.

Jeff Roberston leads over 500 agents as the District Director for Fathom Realty in Collin County, Texas. He’s been a leader in the business since 2009 and spends his time helping agents reach their goals. To learn more, visit