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Doubling Growth is Never Easy

Paul Baron, Century 21 Leading Edge Realty
Paul Baron, Century 21 Leading Edge Realty

Paul Baron, Century 21 Leading Edge Realty

 

Running a real estate brokerage is a full time, 24 x 7 business. There’s so much going on: real estate transactions, agent questions and the constant need to put out fires. As a result, executives often lose focus on where they want their company to go and how to get there.

This is the challenge that Paul Baron faced.

Not that he wasn’t already a superstar broker. Paul is the founder and broker of record of Century 21 Leading Edge Realty, which has been serving the Toronto region of Canada for the past 23 years. His company had 550 agents in 10 offices and was generating $3 billion in annual sales volume.

In all regards, Paul was doing well. The company was already generating 15-18% growth, but it had hit a plateau, something that almost always happens to brokerages, no matter the size. Changing his situation was not going to be easy. He knew needed something special.

Paul had participated in broker coaching programs before, and while some offered good ideas, he wanted innovative solutions that he could actually implement and take him to the next level quickly.

He had met Stefan Swanepoel and Jack Miller at a franchise convention and decided to give T3 Fellows, their 12-month leadership development program, a try.

And he was pleasantly surprised. He received guidance on various practices he had been doing for years. Although what he had been doing wasn’t wrong, he made changes that had an almost immediate impact on the business.

  • First, Paul was shown how to drill down into his numbers at a deeper level. This gave him a clearer understanding of which numbers matter most and how to interpret where his brokerage really stood in its competitive environment.

“The management team’s impressions of how things were – including my own – often didn’t match up with the reality that was revealed through statistical analysis,” said Paul. “T3 Fellows helped us analyze our competition and understand how we stack up in terms of our strengths, weaknesses and opportunities. That lead to a lot of ‘a-has,’ and that was just in the first 90 days of the program.”

  • Second, Paul’s team found that they were participating in a race where all brokerages were basically trying to be the same. This race would end up being a competition on price, which was not the ideal battleground. T3 Fellows showed Paul how to take a step back and use strategies that would help them differentiate themselves.
  • Third, Paul was able to enlist numerous T3 Fellows best practices and implement significant changes to his systems and processes. Many ideas came from his peers who were participating in the program, as well as T3 Fellows Mentors who were available at the bi-annual T3 Fellows retreats.

By the time Paul graduated from T3 Fellows, he had grown his brokerage from $3 billion in annual sales to an incredible $4.2 billion within one year (+40%). He also grew his agent count from 550 to 740 (+35%). In both cases he doubled his previous annual growth rate.

And the growth isn’t limited to one year only. Paul believes that by retooling his brokerage with what he has learned, he projects that his average annual growth will grow from 15-18% to the 30-40% range. “We haven’t experienced the full impact of T3 Fellows yet,” said Paul. “There is a phenomenal growth curve ahead of us.”

T3 Fellows is not a coaching class. It is not academic study. It is a practical hands-on, 12-month program geared to help progressive and committed brokers – both large and small – generate significant growth.

Start by joining us at our webinar on “The 10 Steps to Building a Fast-growing Brokerage.” It will be held Tuesday, February 27 at 1pm EST/10am PST, and it will be led by Jack Miller, president of T3 Sixty. Register now.

84% Growth in 12 Months: Portside Real Estate Group

Dava Davin, Portside Real Estate Group

Dava Davin, Portside Real Estate Group

Running a sales team is not the same as running a real estate brokerage.

Dava Davin discovered this while she was leading a successful sales team. She had been working with a sales coach for two years, which helped her grow from $20M to $45M in annual sales volume.

Portside Real Estate Group Headquarters Lobby

However, she was busy working two jobs. In addition to running her team, she was running Portside Real Estate Group in the Falmouth, Portland and Yarmouth areas of Maine.

It was doing well, but she knew she needed help taking it to the next level. She interviewed business coaches who specialized in working with CEOs, but most did not understand the specific dynamics of the real estate industry.

So when a friend mentioned T3 Fellows, a mentorship program for growing brokerages and teams, she “hunted it down.”

Dava had ideas for how to grow her company, but she needed a sounding board with experienced leaders to make sure she would make the right decisions along the way.

And if the results are any indication, she found the right partner in T3 Fellows. Within one year of starting the program:

  • Portside grew from $128M to $236M in annual sales volume, an 84% increase.
  • Agent count grew from 25 to 49, a 96% increase. This was purely the result of organic growth – she did not need to cold call or market to generate results.
  • The company acquired an established local RE/MAX franchise. This may very well have been the first time an independent brokerage in Maine had ever acquired a franchise.
  • They had a new headquarters built from the ground up. The new office reflects the Portside Real Estate Group’s customer-oriented brand.  Clients enter into a grand lobby with high ceilings, a fireplace and comfortable seating, while agents sit nearby to welcome them. It’s about creating a delightful customer experience.
  • Her team launched the Portside Foundation, which runs 4 fundraising events for charities in the community each year. Through bowling tournaments, special gatherings and even an exercise boot camp, the company raised over $20,000 for charities like the Audubon Society and Girls on the Run.

Hops for Habitat Fundraiser

In addition to providing the confidence and feedback needed to reach these accomplishments, T3 Fellows was particularly valuable during the acquisition of the RE/MAX office. Through negotiating valuation, compensation, marketing and countless details, Dava was able to retain all of the agents and staff of the new office.

The T3 Fellows Retreat also gave her the opportunity to share ideas with one of her idols, Jonathan Kauffmann of Nest Realty, who is a T3 Fellows Mentor. “You can’t pay money for that kind of advice,” said Dava.

And the growth is not over. The mentorship that she received from T3 Fellows has allowed her to reorganize her staff, hire two new people, and empower a manager to take the workload off of her plate. As she tightens up systems and recalibrates for growth, her goal is to reach $300M in sales volume in 2018, and reach $1B in the near future.

WEBINAR:
Learn the 10 steps to building a fast-growing brokerage at our webinar. It will be held Tuesday, February 27 at 1pm EST/10am PST, and it will be led by Jack Miller, president of T3 Fellows. Register now.

 

400% Growth: A Team and Broker Success Story

Connie Carlson led the Connie Carlson Team for many years. She reached a total of five licensed agents and was doing so well, she outgrew her brokerage’s office space. In order to continue growing, Connie kept the team with the broker but moved out the office.

In May of 2015, she moved into her own space, which matched the style of the area: open concept, big windows and brick walls. “People think it looks so cool,” said Connie.

Soon thereafter, Connie and her team made the decision to take another big leap: become her own brokerage. On March 14, 2016, Live Love Atlanta was officially launched. No more security blankets. Connie was flying solo now.

That’s when things got tough. “I thought ‘if l open it, they will come,’” said Connie. But that didn’t happen. “I knew a lot about being a Realtor, not a broker. I didn’t know the technical details about opening a brokerage,” said Connie. The transition from the Connie Carlson Team to Live Love Atlanta was going to take more strategy than she initially thought.

She knew she needed help, so she called friends who ran brokerage companies. Those connections led her to T3 Fellows, a strategic business coaching program for brokers and teams. She started the program in May 2016.

Connie Carlson

Connie Carlson

But before things got better, they got worse. Out of five agents, her top two producers left. She hadn’t laid the foundation for stable growth by refining her systems and culture.

Soon enough, things started to change.

Discover what Connie learned, and how you can implement these same conclusions in our free case study, available for download here.

After regrouping and getting clear on her vision and objectives, she started recruiting in September 2016, and as of mid-March 2017, she has 14 agents.

In 2016 she was #3 in Cobb County, but by personally shifting away from a production role and adding so many productive agents, including a top producing team, she is conservatively expecting a 50% increase in production in 2017.

Live Love Atlanta Office

Live Love Atlanta Office

Her bottom up management style is empowering agents to feel connected to the brokerage in organic and authentic ways. “So much of our growth in coming from our own agents,” said Connie. “They are referring recruits and handing out great testimonials on Facebook without my asking for it.”

T3 Fellows has also helped Connie with her brand. She focused on being a trendy, Millennial-style company, which is unique for Marietta, but she said, “The branding training I received from T3 Fellows has been valuable. It has helped me refine and feel confident in my offering. Still, I see that I have so much further to go.”

Download the case study now.

To see if you and your business are ready for serious growth, drop us a line here.

How One80 Realty Achieved 400% Growth in Sales Volume

Nick Solis is one of the founding members of One80 Realty, a real estate brokerage based in Brentwood, CA. Shortly after launching his company in 2015, he joined the T3 Fellows mentoring program for brokers. Here is his story.

 

THE CHALLENGE

After ten years as a franchise brokerage, Nick and his partner Ryan Evanson decided to launch their own brand. They knew it would be a significant undertaking, so for 18 months prior to launch they “beta tested” their company, defining their brand to their best understanding of their target audience.

They launched One80 Realty in April 2015. However, they quickly discovered that while they had experience running a franchise brokerage where there was a business model to follow, they needed help accelerating their own business model.

 

THE SOLUTION

Nick Solis, one80 Realty

Nick Solis, one80 Realty

T3 Fellows was the perfect fit:

  1. First, it was a “no-brainer” to work with an organization like the Swanepoel T3 Group since they were a widely respected name in real estate research, knowledge and consulting.
  2. Second, Nick liked the approach of the program. “They didn’t try to make our business work like other businesses,” said Nick. “They customized the conversation to our needs, drawing specific parallels from others.”
  3. Thirdly, the collaboration within T3 Fellows is exceptional: a non-threatening think tank with like-minded brokers, it allowed them to openly share information with brokers in similar situations.

“T3 Fellows was a very powerful experience for us,” said Nick. “It exposed us to our blind spots. They saw everything, and it was what we needed to grow.”

 

THE RESULTS

One80 joined T3 Fellows in July 2015 and completed the one-year mentoring program the following July in 2016. This year the company is projecting:

  • 400% growth in sales volume: from $15M to $60M
  • 225% growth in agent team: from 4 to 13 agents

In addition, T3 Fellows helped them:

  • Establish and streamline their platform. Using new technologies, they simplified and systematized processes.
  • Prioritize their time: Nick said, “My T3 Mentor asked why someone worth $350 per hour was doing $15 per hour work. When I saw it that way, I realized we couldn’t afford not to hire an assistant.”
  • Improve recruiting: “I used to hate recruiting, and I had bad results,” said Nick. “T3 Fellows helped us create a process, refining who to search for and how to talk to them. We’ve had fantastic results.”

 

T3 Fellows is evaluating applicants for its next group of inspired brokers in February. Apply now and see if you’re ready.

A 10-Point Checklist to Beating Your Competition

To recruit agents to your brokerage, you must ensure that your company is perceived as being better than your competition. Many new teams and brokers have not sufficiently prepared for this kind of recruiting battle.

The first step in this process is to gain a strong understanding of your competition. Here is a checklist for the information you need to research about other organizations in your market:

  1. What services do they offer?
  2. What is their commission plan?
  3. What is their brand (cool, sexy, old)?
  4. What do their websites look like?
  5. What is their office like?
  6. What’s their technology like?
  7. What types of events do they offer?
  8. How do they help agents?
  9. What are their strengths and weaknesses?
  10. Know thyself.

The last point – “know thyself” – may be the most important, and most difficult, item on the list. What are your strengths and weaknesses? What can you offer a recruit that no one else can offer?

Once you have a strong grasp of your offerings in relation to your competition, you can create a selling proposition that is compelling and unique.

T3 Fellows is a mentorship program designed specifically to help real estate teams and brokerages solve these problems. T3 Fellows advisors will lead you in this program by discovering your needs, pairing you with leaders, and walking you through a curriculum that’s individualized for each participant. Apply now and see if you could benefit from this kind of support.

A 3-Step Plan to Real Estate Recruiting

Successful real estate agents often aspire to become a large team or brokerage. However, many have discovered a painful truth:

Transacting is not like managing or building a company.

The success you have experienced while working with buyers and sellers does not necessarily translate into success managing a team or brokerage. The skill sets you honed to generate business are not the same skill sets used to hire staff, build a brand and successfully recruit agents.

T3 Fellows has worked with dozens of teams and brokers to help them move from sales to management. Rather than teach hard and fast rules, we have found it best to teach how to approach challenges. That’s because we believe that one model does not fit all personalities and their respective strengths.

This particularly applies to recruiting agents, a key element in growing your organization. Here are the top 3 steps to recruiting and growing successful agents:

1. Understand yourself

Real estate attracts a wide variety of personalities – it’s one of the many things that make this business so interesting.

As a result, not every agent is a good fit with every leader. To attract the right personalities – the ones that best match yours – you need to understand yourself. What are you good at? What do you enjoy? What type of culture do you want to cultivate? Once you know these answers, only then can you build a foundation of success.

 

2. Recruit the right agent

It’s an unfortunate fact that even when leaders recruit a sizable number of agents, many of those agents don’t become successful. Rather than cast a wide net, long-term success comes from recruiting people who will grow – and stick – with you. Zero in on agents that gain the greatest benefit from you and your companies’ strengths.

An important element in finding the right people is focusing on their attitude. Agents that already have a steady inflow of leads or a big book of business may not be the best choice. These personalities can have rigid attitudes and be hard to work with. Instead, the ideal agents have drive, with an ability to adapt, adopt and improve.

 

3. Recruit to your strength

Once you understand yourself (see point 1), you can hone in on agents who need your specific services. Agent needs tend to fall into categories such as:

  • Need help getting started and building a business
  • Moving up their price point
  • Taking listings
  • Learning online lead generation and conversion

 

If you’re good in any one of these areas, you’ll know what types of agents to pursue and how to craft your message.

This process may sound easy, but as many have discovered, execution in an existing business can be challenging. T3 Fellows is a mentorship program designed specifically to help real estate teams and brokerages solve these problems. T3 Fellows advisors will lead you by discovering your needs, pairing you with leaders, and walking you through a curriculum that’s individualized for each participant. Apply now and see if you could benefit from this kind of support.

T3 Fellows | Everyone wants results like this in their Brokerage

Brokers that make strategic changes to their business as a result of attending the T3 Fellows program see a substantial difference in their brokerage.

These changes can take many forms, including systems, marketing, staffing, and operations. All of the results are all measured by the bottom line – an increase sales volume; an increase in transactions, and an increase in profitability!

For example, within a year of working in T3 Fellows, broker J Philip Faranda increased his business 84% – that’s nearly double in 12 months. (image from MLS report below)

Before and After T3 Fellows

If you are looking for real results, and you are serious about building your business, it may be time to see if you qualify to become a T3 Fellow. 2017 graduate class details here: http://www.T3fellows.com/breakthrough

T3 Breakthrough

T3 Fellows | Crafting a Roadmap to Supercharge Smart Production

A decade into his journey as a broker-owner Phil Faranda said his business life was like juggling flaming chainsaws on a high wire.

Having designed his brokerage business himself, he grew, J. Philip Real Estate from a solo affair into the top-selling independent brokerage in Westchester and Putnam counties, in New York, with three offices and 65 agents. So the predicament wasn’t a lack of ideas or a willingness to hustle or juggle, but rather the absence of a clear roadmap for smart, sustainable, long-term growth.

“You come to a point in building your company where you don’t know what to do next,” Phil said.

So, in June 2015 Phil decided to commit to the one-year brokerage accelerator program designed by T3 Fellows to help brokers overhaul every dimension of their business, from branding to technology, agent coaching and recruiting to a business model. The curriculum includes monthly modules, monthly Web conferences, one-on-one executive guidance, financial counseling, and in person retreats. Learn more here.

The past year was a wake up call. It was disconcerting, demanding, and yet exhilarating!

The result?

Phil revamped nearly every aspect of his firm. In the 12 months ending in March 2016, J. Philip Real Estate increased its production 50 percent for the same period the previous year to 225 units and $75 million in sales.

J. Philip Real Estate evolution through T3 Fellows:

  • Increased units and sales volume by 50 percent.
  • Produced happier, more productive agents.
  • Due to efficiency and systems, now 80 percent of his personal time is freed up to grow and develop his brokerage

A big part of Phil’s T3 Fellows transformation involved a total shift in his mindset. Before, his personal sales defined the firm and the firm’s structure. Now, with a focus on leading and supporting his agents, he is phasing himself out of sales and replacing the “lost” production with “new” production from other people.

The rest of the J. Philip Real Estate T3 Fellows transformation included:

  • Bringing on an all-in-one back-office system, CRM and digital transaction management platform.
  • Setting up one manager to lead each office, freeing up Phil to focus on larger facets of the business.
  • Creating defined firm policies and procedures.
  • Scheduling sales development meetings with individual agents on a regular basis.
  • Creating a detailed and specific roadmap for agent growth.
  • Bringing on new technology and a tech fee, which has increased agent tech adoption.
  • Developing a unique value proposition for agents: offering great systems and tools similar to larger companies while maintaining the personal touch of the small boutique
  • Developing a unique value proposition for consumers: personal, crafted service from high-quality, extremely competent agents.

With his vision firmly in place—to become a regional market leader doing $1 billion in annual sales—Phil now says “I’m on the right road, driving the right vehicle, heading in the right direction, and now know how I am going to get there.”

Phil Faranda has stopped juggling burning chainsaws and has become the ringmaster.

Recalibrating a NYC brokerage for double-digit growth

Like many agents-turned-brokers, New York City-based broker Michael Meier was a killer salesman and effective team leader who had spun those skills into his own firm. Although Meier Group (now “Meier Real Estate”) was successful, the 7-year-old firm lacked the systems, branding and structure for explosive growth, which Meier desperately wanted.

So Meier decided to kick his business up a notch and applied for the T3 Fellows accelerator program. This one-year hands-on program is designed to help elevate, streamline and focus a broker on a growth trajectory. The detailed curriculum includes 12 modules, monthly Web conferences, one-on-one executive mentoring, financial guidance, goal-setting, branding coaching, management training, a mastermind group and more. Learn more about T3 Fellows here.

During the program — which Meier completed this June — Meier transformed every aspect of his business. “It’s the best thing I’ve ever done in my real estate career,” Meier said of joining T3.

Since joining T3 Fellows in June 2015, Meier Real Estate:

  • Grew to 12 agents (50% annual growth), with more on the way.
  • Restructured every element of the business, including a new business model, branding and technology system.
  • Now focuses 80% of broker’s time on growth due to efficiencies and systems

“More than anything, beyond the branding and tech changes and new systems, the most valuable transformation involves my frame of mind,” Meier said.

Before T3, he thought of his brokerage’s growth in terms of sales, sales skills and listings, a perspective he now calls naive. Now, he views his agents as his clients and has crafted his business around helping them become very successful.

During the one-year program, the firm completed a staggering amount of changes, including:

  • Developed a new website, including new video and consumer advice content, IDX search and a deep integration with a new customer relationship management system
  • Solidified the company strategy, revamped its branding, including a new name and tagline.
  • Developed a thorough marketing platform for the firm and its agents, and productized a listing marketing system.
  • Completed an annual editorial calendar for social media posts.
  • Installed and customized a powerful real estate-focused CRM that facilitates automated lead-routing, action plans, and automated responses for leads and communication with clients.
  • Installed a new digital transaction management platform to streamline operations and reduce errors.
  • Developed agent and employee manuals, including a policy manual that outlines a roadmap for agents to evolve their careers, an agent policy manual and a procedural manual.

“Deciding how to grow a brokerage can be overwhelming because so many business models and strategies exist,” Meier said. “With one-on-one consults,T3 Fellows helped me decide how to grow, a critical step in building a sustainable, scalable business.”

Michael say two things are really important for him:

  • He loves working with people who have drive, ambition and collaboration.
  • He strongly values a work environment with a clear structure and direction.

These elements helped him conceptualize and then crystallize his brokerage’s unique value proposition to agents, which helps him attract the right agents for the firm and also develop the messaging to reach them effectively. With his firm’s foundation firmly in place, he’s ready to pour rocket fuel on his agent recruiting and training initiatives.

Now that he’s freed himself up, for the most part, from the day-to-day slog of transactions and sales, Meier also has the time to dedicate to building a presence in the industry. He now hosts a real estate education course every morning on Snapchat, a “#snapucation,” and has branded himself as “Real Estate Snapchat Guy.”

These efforts have led to a profile article by Inman News and mentions in other publications including Bloomberg and Yahoo News.

Learn more about T3 Fellows here.

How Elizabeth Golden set her brokerage up for blazing growth

In 2015, Elizabeth Golden, broker-owner of @Homes Realty Group in Huntsville, Alabama, was stuck. While business was great, her 16-agent firm’s growth had stagnated and she knew she needed tools, perspective and guidance to move her business forward.

Golden, like many leaders of smaller, independent brokerages, didn’t have the skills, tools or knowledge to lead her 6-year-old brokerage in aggressive, efficient growth with more agents and larger sales volumes. So, she enrolled, and last month graduated from the year-long T3 Fellows brokerage accelerator program.

The program includes a detailed curriculum broken down into monthly modules, monthly Web conferences, one-on-one executive guidance, financial tracking, goal-setting, management training, a mastermind group and more. Learn more about T3 Fellows here.

Since joining the program, @Homes Realty Group:

  • Added a net of eight agents (an increase of 45 percent)
  • Doubled its lead-conversion rate (from approximately 2.5 percent to 5 percent)
  • And increased per-agent productivity (sales volume) by 20 percent

The firm achieved the above without purchasing any new technology.

Before T3 Fellows, 40 percent of Golden’s time went to running her brokerage, as she was split between being a broker and sales activity. After restructuring her business and mindset while in the program, the brokerage now gets 80 percent of her time and attention. In addition, she has a five-year growth plan and knows, clearly, what she needs to do each day to reach her goals.

Golden’s also more strategic about resources now, which facilitates quick decisions and execution. She measures every choice for the firm around the question, “What will it do for my company?”

A sample of what Golden accomplished during T3 Fellows:

  • Production of a brand book that includes all the information agents need to work within the firm: detailed checklists for everything from listing presentation how-tos to the contingencies they need to include on offers to suggested vendors and processes. This has helped the firm recruit agents.
  • An upgraded agent-onboarding system with a systematized training and continuing education course. New agents go through 155 hours of training — going over contracts, field trips to listings, role-playing. In addition, all agents receive two high-quality trainings each month now.
  • Solidifying her firm’s brand story. The firm’s tagline has always been “Where the heart is,” but, soon, it will be more clearly integrated into its website and print materials. The story was understated before. Now, she’s not afraid to share it, to let the community know who the firm is.
  • High-quality content for homebuyers and sellers, including a step-by-step buyer’s packet and marketing package for sellers.
  • A branded “Welcome Home” box for the firm’s buyers that includes the essentials they need in the first night in their house: toilet paper, paper towels, coffee. In the past, she would have hemmed and hawed over the decision to invest in it. It’s warm and fuzzy, but it makes agents and clients happy and reinforces the brand, she said, so it’s a clear win.
  • A website revamp (coming later this year) that will include:
    • A stronger, clearer presentation of the firm’s brand
    • More information on neighborhoods and communities
    • A more central role for agents

Beyond the clear business improvements, the program gave Golden confidence and clarity as a leader. “T3 Fellows empowered me to make difficult choices and big financial investments,” she said. “It inspired me to put my money where my mouth is.”

Golden calls T3 Fellows the best business investment she’s ever made. Given the results, you can see why. It’s been a year of massive change, Golden said. She’s tired, but extremely excited.

Questions and answers from Elizabeth Golden:

Why did you join T3 Fellows?

I felt I needed guidance in bettering myself in the leadership role and to assist me in growth. Being a great agent and a great broker are different roles. I struggled with finding an advisor in the brokerage industry for independent companies. T3 Fellows’ mentors and advisors were all accomplished and shared my vision. Each one is very experienced and mirrored what I wanted to accomplish within my brokerage.

What did you get out of it?

The best thing I got from the T3 Fellows programs is the confidence I now have. I know my numbers, I’ve perfected my systems and have completed projects that are helping my company grow.

What has it done for your business?

I’ve gained the knowledge and confidence needed to grow my company. I have firm goals and the tools to accomplish them. Since joining T3, my business has grown 45 percent.

Learn more about T3 Fellows here.