Part one of a two-part series.
Market share. Profitability. Those aren’t just buzzwords in the real estate industry. They’re key components of a successful brokerage. So, is there a secret to growing market share and increasing profits?
For Nimesh and Minesh Patel, Broker/Owners of RE/MAX Fine Properties in Sugar Land, Texas, it boils down to developing and nurturing the skills of their team leaders. “We’re not here to be in a landlord/tenant relationship – as if you pay us your dues and do your own thing. . . talk to you later. No. My brother and I are there for our people every single day,” Nimesh Patel says. That mindset is paying off, and the brokerage has been honored as the largest RE/MAX single office in the U.S. for three years running.
The Magic Pill of Real Estate
The brokerage, which struggled before the Patels purchased it in 2009, now runs like a well-oiled machine, with 180 agents making up 38 teams. Agents at the brokerage closed over 2,300 transaction sides for more than $768 million in sales volume in 2017. That’s impressive production, fueled by outstanding leadership.
“There’s no magic pill for leading a great brokerage,” Nimesh says. “My brother and I come in every single day to work. We dive into everything. If our agents see us doing it, then they know they can do it. There are no excuses here.” Being in the trenches every day makes the owners very approachable. Agents are wise to take advantage of their accessibility. Nicole and Doug Freer, Team Leaders of the Nicole Freer Group at RE/MAX Fine Properties, realized that right away.
Attracted to the RE/MAX brand because “it’s so recognizable,” Nicole Freer joined the brokerage as a team member in 2013. A year later, she became an individual agent, seeking the Patels’ mentoring and insight as she blazed her own trail. “I went to Nimesh and said, ‘I hope you don’t mind, but I’m going to consult with you often and get your feedback on how to grow.’ He said ‘Absolutely. No problem.’ It was refreshing to know he was so supportive. And we still meet regularly to evaluate the business.”
Building a Successful Brokerage One Agent at a Time
Overseeing 180 agents might seem daunting, but the Patels handle it efficiently in part due to a mentoring strategy they’ve developed over the years: The brothers treat team leaders as entrepreneurs, mentoring them on growing and running their teams.
The Patels can invest more direct, intensive one-on-one time by concentrating their efforts on a core group – their 38 team leaders. The reasoning: If you coach your team leaders, provide them with skills of their own, and give them the tools they need to be successful coaches, you essentially reach every agent in the office. “The spirit of it is that people are building a business. They can do it however they want. We’re there just to guide them on certain principles,” Nimesh says.
“There’s a fundamental difference between mentoring and managing. Managing is performance driven, while mentoring is development driven.”-Nimesh Patel
Cultivating Real Estate Leaders
There’s a fundamental difference between mentoring and managing. Managing is performance driven, while mentoring is development driven.
The Patels’ mentoring strategy begins with conversations. “Too many mentors and coaches try to tell you what to do because it’s worked for them,” Nimesh explains. “We gauge what type of business our leaders want – whether they prefer to be on the managing side or the real estate side, or whether they want to work 70 hours or 30 hours a week – and then we help them understand how to get there. That’s much different than simply telling them what to do.”
Effective mentoring builds entrepreneurial thinking and opportunities for leadership. And the Patels do an outstanding job of cultivating an entrepreneurial mindset in their team leaders. Of course, mentoring is a two-way street. As Freer says, “The biggest factor is that after you gain the knowledge you actually have to implement the things you’ve learned. And do the work.”
Nicole Freer took what she learned and built her own team. She went from being an individual agent to a team leader to growing a team of nine licensed agents. Today, she leads the No. 1 team at RE/MAX Fine Properties (all within less than five years of getting her license). She’s quick to credit the Patels. “They’re always available to their agents and they provide different learning platforms so that you understand all the different aspects of real estate. On top of that, they’re just being great people. And great leaders.
Next: Broker/Owners’ weekly book club instills habits of top producers. Coming soon!