Pamala and Mark Thompson combine their strengths and personal styles to find success selling South Carolina real estate
By Betsy Gilliland
More than 30 years ago, when Pamala Thompson managed a small law firm in Houston and her husband, Mark, ran a car dealership, they had a weekend ritual. Only one of them actually enjoyed it, though.
“Every weekend I would drag him through open houses,” Pam says. “He finally said, ‘Why don’t you bring people who would pay you to do this?’”We've never been happier than we are now with The RE/MAX Collection. Click To Tweet
She took her husband’s advice, passed the real estate exam and started building her real estate business on the weekends. It’s been her business ever since. The luxury agent’s recent move from Sotheby’s to RE/MAX Tattersall Group in Aiken, South Carolina, is the latest in her business-building journey, and she didn’t make the change alone – Mark joined, too.
Making a decision to go all-in
Pam started her own real estate company in Aiken 18 years ago. At the time, no Aiken real estate offices were open on weekends, but she answered phone calls 24/7. Her sales exceeded $1 million the first year her company opened. That figure jumped to $3 million the second year.
In 2001, Mark put 27 years in the auto industry in his rearview mirror when Pam, who was working out of their home on their Aiken horse farm, asked him to join her in opening an office downtown. She leased a 1920’s movie theater turned sporting-goods building, extensively remodeled it and turnede it into an antique filled, comfortable place to both work.
After doubling the size of the offices by taking in the back half of the building, their business attracted some attention in 2006 when a Sotheby’s International Realty representative stopped in their office and said he wanted to bring a Sotheby’s luxury real estate franchise to Aiken.
The Thompsons got the Sotheby’s franchise and kept it until last spring when another opportunity presented itself.
Finding a home at RE/MAX
In May of 2014, the couple combined forces with the RE/MAX Tattersall Group and embraced a different luxury brand – The RE/MAX Collection.
“They have an incredible work ethic. They bring a lot of experience and two different personalities that can work through any situation with their clients,” says Karl McMillan, owner of RE/MAX Tattersall Group. “Pam has years of experience in the real estate business and Mark has a background in sales, so they’re a good fit for anyone who might be buying or selling.”
“Pam has years of experience in the real estate business and Mark has a background in sales, so they're a good fit for anyone who might be buying or selling.” Karl McMillan, Owner of RE/MAX Tattersall
The Tattersall Group, which now has 15 agents, moved across Laurens Street into the Thompsons’ historic movie-theater building. Steeped in Southern sensibility and charm, the office features hardwood flooring, equine art and the daily company of the couple’s poodles, Nicholas and Giacomo.
“We really felt honored that Sotheby’s wanted us, but we’ve never been happier than we are now with The RE/MAX Collection,” says Pam, as Nicholas curls up on the back of a red leather couch in her office.
Mark agrees. “The brand is more appealing universally to more people,” he says. “It has a larger referral system, and the name recognition is phenomenal.”
After the Thompsons became luxury agents for The RE/MAX Collection last year, Pam says, they did twice as much business with RE/MAX between May and December 2014 than they did all of 2013 with Sotheby’s.
With more than 100,000 agents, professional marketing materials, referrals, a website, technical support, training, online tutorials and the RE/MAX Rewards system at their disposal, it’s no wonder the Thompsons’ business has grown. And because The RE/MAX Collection caters to upper-end clients, the transition from Sotheby’s was seamless.
Pam says the RE/MAX brand has earned them referrals in all segments of the marketplace. “That’s the beauty of RE/MAX,” she says. “We reach everyone.”
Playing to their strengths
Pam and Mark often show houses together. Otherwise, Pam quips, the two of them probably wouldn’t see each other. However, their tag-team approach benefits clients as well.
“Mark and I have strengths that complement each other,” Pam says. “He sees a property a little bit differently than I do.”
Pam’s strengths lie in selling properties and helping people understand the community. Mark’s strong points include historic preservation, sales, development and design. They are both adept at developing personal relationships and understanding the needs of their clients, which is especially critical with luxury properties.
And in a business that’s all about family, it’s only fitting that the Thompsons’ daughter, Michelle Adams, and 21-year-old grandson, Jacob Klarman, have a strong presence in the office. And not just on the shelf of family photos that line the half-brick wall behind Pam’s desk. They work for the company, as well.
However, close relationships extend beyond their relatives. One year during the annual Christmas Parade party at the Thompson home, which is just steps away from their downtown office, a guest asked Pam if she had any friends who hadn’t bought a house from her.
“I have very few friends who didn’t start out as clients,” Pam says.
That’s fine with her. After all, it’s the personal bonds that she loves most about the business.
“You meet really nice people. You help them in a stressful time in their lives. You develop an intense relationship in a short amount of time,” Pam says. “The ones you really connect with, you keep forever.”