After 25 years with Coldwell Banker, a Georgia broker made a bold move
– and her 25+ agents are glad she did
By Deborah Kearns
RE/MAX Regency might be a new name to the Suwanee, Georgia, real estate market, but the work of the firm’s top-producing agents has been well known for decades.
Much of the brokerage’s success came during its 25-year tenure under the Coldwell Banker brand and, more specifically, the leadership of Broker/Owner Lisa Macy. But after years of competing with corporate-owned franchises for resources and market share, Macy realized she wanted more for her agents. More tools. More technology. More commissions. More leads. More support for teams.
As Macy considered a move, one brand topped her short list. Converting to RE/MAX meant her nearly 30 agents could get more quality leads. They’d have unfettered access to tech, social media and marketing tools. They’d have hands-on training through RE/MAX University. They’d have all the competitive advantages of the worldwide leader in residential sales.
In May, the office converted. After all, Macy thought, the more successful the agents, the more successful the brokerage.
The right time for a change
Relative isolation under the Coldwell Banker brand started the ball rolling on possible options, says Jennifer Baxter, who is Macy’s daughter and president of RE/MAX Regency. Already, the heightened energy and camaraderie as a RE/MAX office in a thriving region has reaffirmed the move, Baxter says.
“Multiple RE/MAX Broker/Owners reached out to welcome us to the network, and we’ve received ongoing support from the regional team. It feels like we’re among peers now; before, it felt as if we were competing against everyone else.”
Macy recently traveled to the training center at RE/MAX Headquarters in Denver to learn about managing her newly minted RE/MAX brokerage. When asked how her agents have handled the transition, Macy’s green eyes twinkled as a big smile spread across her face as she recalled the day she announced the move.
“They couldn’t be happier. They’re already thriving with that RE/MAX Balloon behind them,” Macy said. “We’re more focused on helping our agents build their businesses and become entrepreneurs. It’s built into the culture here. RE/MAX lets people run their own businesses while offering the right mix of support and encouragement. We didn’t have that before.”
A ‘servant’ mindset
Real estate is a relationship business, and Macy views it through a lens of a servant mindset. Just as her agents put their clients’ needs before their own, Macy says her business revolves around doing what’s best for her agents.
“That’s really where our success lies individually and as a group,” Macy says, adding that she not only mentors agents one-on-one, but she also prays for each of them every week. Her service mindset isn’t hyperbole; she exudes authenticity.
Perhaps that’s why her agents – seasoned veterans and novices alike – have great confidence in her decision to join RE/MAX. Real estate veteran Andy Ford is one of them.
Ford retired from a successful career with AT&T after 30 years, but he wasn’t quite ready to hang up his working hat. Instead, he launched a second career in real estate in 2003 with some close friends. He worked at Century 21 for several years before landing at Macy’s brokerage. Right away, he could tell his business would boom under her leadership, he says.
“Lisa brings a lot of enthusiasm to the business, and she wants successful people around her,” Ford says. “She puts a lot of thoughtfulness and effort into attracting the right people, and because she’s been doing this for years, she understands our needs.”
Building a team of entrepreneurs
Being a longtime business owner and sales mentor, Macy says she can usually get a strong sense whether a potential agent is the right fit for the brokerage. During a chance encounter at a local Nordstrom, Macy had one of those feelings when she struck up a conversation about jewelry with another shopper, Emily Chetlin.
At the time, Chetlin, 23, was working two retail jobs to support herself. In that brief chat about jewelry, Macy saw an entrepreneurial spark in the young woman, so she handed Chetlin a business card and invited her to call if she ever wanted to explore a real estate career.
A year later, Chetlin took her up on that offer. Now she specializes in new-construction listings and has steadily grown her business, leaving retail in the rearview mirror.
Chetlin has seen how carefully Macy runs the operation – from requiring business plans of all new agents to offering coaching and frequent agent roundtables. And that made the conversion to RE/MAX very easy for her. She had no reservations about staying with the office, and is excited about the new levels of support coming her way.
“I have access to social media, my own branded website and a mobile app to share with my clients – and the name recognition is much more powerful, too,” Chetlin says. “I’m really happy to be with RE/MAX now.”