Jeff Benson learned a whole lot through the years that factored in to the success of the Milwaukee, Wis.-based property firm he opened in 1979. From his start as a tuned teacher to the sales savvy he developed in the automotive world, a lot of things helped prepare him for his ultimate role as broker/owner of RE/MAX Realty 100—but perhaps none a lot more than the life span lesson instilled by his parents: “Put other people’s interests first and everything shall come out the correct way.” Here, Benson shares how creating a host in which a like-minded, results-focused team could thrive has resulted in four decades of growth, no real matter what the marketplace dished out.
Maria Patterson: Jeff, reveal how you experienced the true estate business first.
Jeff Benson: WHEN I graduated from college in 1971, I taught for 3 years. Then some social people I have been associated with enticed me into selling high-end automotive equipment. I came across that odd since i have didn’t have any sales skills, but I had taught a few of their children in class and, as a trained teacher, you are involved with sales—you’re selling an intangible. So, I sold to automotive dealerships directly, which gave me an excellent understanding of how exactly to negotiate with people.
At that true point, my old college roommate had gotten into commercial property and development and kept telling me to obtain my property license. So, I acquired and studied my license in 1976. I continued several interviews with a number of the larger regional property companies, when i wanted an exercise program that could give me an excellent level of knowledge of what this industry was about.
MP: What resulted in you opening your personal firm?
JB: I started working at one firm, in 1978 then, I bumped in to the RE/MAX concept and was intrigued. My original partner and I opened RE/MAX Realty 100 in ’79. Our goal was to create a accepted place where we’re able to surround ourselves with other like-minded people. We wished to bring the proper kind of people in and continue steadily to grow our individual businesses. That progressed into a leadership role for me personally really. A few of my past sales experience, not merely in property, however when I was selling automotive equipment—and in teaching&mdash even;came into play. I was influenced by my parents also, who taught me to place other people’s interests first and everything will come out the proper way. And that’s what happened at RE/MAX Realty 100.
MP: Appears like you finished up exactly where you’re said to be! Today just how large may be the firm?
JB: We’ve four locations and approximately 160-170 agents; you can expect full-service title and closing also, and have a home loan affiliation, aswell.
MP: What has been your strategy toward growth through the years?
JB: Everything dates back to making certain you’re in a position to identify the kind of agents you need from the beginning. We’ve been blessed to possess like-minded individuals who think exactly the same way…who wish to care for clients truly. Our goal was in order to open offices through central elements of our marketing areas. We were considering a real solution to help our agents become recession-proof when you are in a position to market north, east, and west inside our locations south. Every once in awhile, there’s an certain section of the metro marketplace that could slow down. We make an effort to make certain our agents are growing their business through relationships with clients who know people around town. Should they have a genuine amount of marketing areas where they will have a sphere of influence, this can help them through the valleys and peaks.
MP: Is practical. With four decades in the continuing business, you’ve weathered some tough markets probably.
JB: I’ve been through several recessions, and what we’ve done each right time is watch the kind of recession we were in. Through the first one, from ’81-’84, when interest levels exceeded 16 percent, we been in an ongoing state where there is plenty of creative financing, and we were blessed that people had agents who have been excellent at understanding negotiations. We could actually recruit throughout a bad time even, entering the recession with just a little over 20 agents and developing about 50. Don’t forget, the 100-percent concept was attractive—despite the fact that our transaction count may down have gone, each transaction was worth a lot more when agents had the opportunity to make that a lot more commission.
The last recession saw more of a concentrate on distressed properties. Through our national brand and regional resources, we helped our agents retool their business for that kind of economy by training them on distressed marketing.
The other thing we’ve been very attuned to as an organization is maintaining a good financial foundation and keeping our debt in order. Whenever we went in to the last recession, we were quite strong financially. Every owner must make sure they will have the financial capabilities to keep to place dollars back to the organization to allow them to assist their agents.
MP: How can you describe your firm’s positioning available on the market? What sets you from your competition apart?
JB: First of most, by riding out many storms, we’ve gained an extremely advanced of respect within the neighborhood marketplace and the. Myself, Kathy [Martello, vice president of operations] and several agents during the last 40 years have already been very engaged with charities, associations, MLSs, boards and committees, including some agents who’ve been recognized at local and state levels. We likewise have an excellent reputation within the true estate community of dealing with other brokers. You want to help solve problems for the agents and their agents and continue steadily to move the true estate industry forward.
We likewise have the best per-agent unit count for companies which are at the very least 100 agents or larger. We’re ranked in the very best 50 of the very best 500 reporting companies in the United States—our small, quiet company in Milwaukee hit the very best 50. Everything comes to the standard of our agents back. That, collectively, sets us apart. We search for individuals or team leaders that are looking to build an ongoing business that’s sustainable and projectable—each day not really a job to come quickly to and begin over.
MP: What most attracts agents to your firm, and just why do they stay?
JB: The support that people offer them, the professional business environment, the various tools and the operational systems, the marketshare and the grade of agents we’ve all around us. We don’t have the frills. We don’t want them to think about this year&mdash just; they’re wanted by us to take into account three, five, 15 years from now. It is a continuing business, and they might have their very own business within it and really grow it. We’ve the longevity also. We’ve experienced and down markets and we&rsquo up; ve seen a whole lot of items that other people running organizations haven’t been through.
In addition, the financial strength we’ve had the opportunity to get through good markets allowed us to weather the storm of a recessionary market. Agents know they will have a accepted spot to come to. We’ve cut support, laid anyone off because of downturn on the market never. If anything, we tried to include help in a down economy.
Kathy Martello: Agents often seek another, shiny object they think may grow and improve their business. But it is a simple business—should they look after clients and first put them, they shall be successful. But they need to be with a company which has great organization and branding, and leadership with an area sense of the marketplace who runs that organization and truly gives them support.
When interviewing and recruiting agents, I ask why they&rsquo always;re considering a move, and they say often, ‘I want support.’ The plain thing we’ ve were able to do on the full years is deliver support to agents on individual levels. In a ongoing company our size, we’re in a position to do that. Us of companies carries a great staff around 24 and litigant Services Division (myself and six others) to have a tendency to their needs…and Jeff is really a master at talking people through their marketing plans.
MP: How can you describe your company’s culture?
JB: I feel we have been a caring culture that helps our affiliates build their very own personal business in your model. The various tools are participating by the culture, the operational system and the branding, and all that helps maintain us in tune with this mission, core and vision values.
MP: So how exactly does your caring culture factor into your method of coaching?
JB: Whether you call it coaching or guiding, whenever we sit back with someone, we’re likely to find out what they would like to accomplish. A whole lot of folks are successful if they reach us, but they desire to take it to some other known level. It gets back again to that question: ‘Where do you wish to take your organization?’ Predicated on their responses, we help them create a plan that incorporates plenty of ideas and concepts gathered from existing agents during the last 40 years. We’re a lot more than pleased to put an accountability program together to allow them to accomplish what they attempt to do. A whole large amount of times, folks are switching careers from corporate America and know the sales and relationship-building process but need to adapt their skills to match the true estate business. We make an effort to provide that additional help, aswell.
MP: How perhaps you have marketed the firm through the years?
JB: Plenty of it has related to the RE/MAX concept—we’ve grown through quality agents who market their high professional standard to clients and prospects. We do local advertising through radio and billboards also. But in the ultimate end, it all comes home to the known proven fact that the branding in the united states is indeed strong. We’re probably the most recognized property brand in the global world and we use that to your benefit. We continue steadily to send exactly the same message—we have been the real home of the very best producer.
MP: How can you stay prior to the curve on technology?
JB: It’s challenging. We leverage the neighborhood, regional and national support from RE/MAX and the operational systems and technology they offer. We use that as a springboard and do the others within our Client Services Division, where we help and train agents understand new media and new technology.
MP: What’s waiting for you for the firm’s next decade?
JB: You want to continue steadily to expand our local marketplace with quality agents. We wish to keep to expand our footprint in Southeast Wisconsin also. There are a great number of great things here happening. The Foxconn [electronics factory] deal provides a large number of jobs to Wisconsin and offshoots of local companies.
MP: Appears like you’re well-poised for further growth&hellip even;
JB: We’ve been blessed in order to grow through mergers, affiliations and acquisitions, also to deliver our value proposition to attract quality agents. We’ve been blessed with employees and agents which have stayed around for 10, 20, 30 and much more years. Most of us recognize that without our agents, this organization is nothing. It dates back compared to that basic belief that should you surround yourself with the very best group, you’ll forward continue steadily to move.
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Maria Patterson is RISMedia’s executive editor. Email her your property news ideas at email@example.com. For the most recent , bookmark RISMedia.com.
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