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Meeting Agents Where They Are, Getting Them Where They Want to Go

With the powerful training and technology resources of Keller Williams Realty at their backs, Nancy Marcotte and JD Pierce can turn their full attention toward what matters most: the success of their agents. Understanding that success means something different to everyone, the operating partners of Louisiana-based Keller Williams Realty The Gulf South Group are there to run alongside each agent, providing whatever it takes to guide them toward their respective goals. In this interview, find out how this servant leadership approach has led to the company’s growth and profitability…and why there’s no end in sight.

Maria Patterson: Please briefly describe your career path in real estate and how you came to lead Keller Williams Realty Premier Partners.
Nancy Marcotte:
I got my real estate license in 2001, right before 9/11. I started with Keller Williams in Mandeville, La., and six months later my husband got transferred to Lafayette. I interviewed with some of the other real estate companies there, but they just weren’t Keller Williams. So, I started Keller Williams Realty Acadiana in Lafayette, La., in 2003. About five years into it, I hired JD Pierce as my team leader. We then moved into the Lake Charles, La., market very successfully, and from there, JD and I were offered many opportunities to take over failing or stagnant Keller Williams Market Centers. We caught a few folks’ eyes. Initially, I was operating partner of all the offices, and JD was my partner and general manager. We then decided to split them up; Premier Partners in Denham Springs is one of the Market Centers I kept as operating principal.

MP: JD, how about you?
JD Pierce:
I had spent 23 years in the restaurant business as a restaurant executive and owner, and needed a second career. I am now in my 12th year in real estate.
NM: I had a different team leader when I started the business and he and I interviewed JD, who at the time mentioned management. I called him to see if he was interested in management, and that proved to be a really great choice.

MP: How many offices and agents does the firm currently have?
NM:
PM Partnership, which JD and I started, has six Market Centers and two Business Centers, currently. With all of them combined, we have a total agent count of 831 as of mid-July, but the number grows monthly. For example, in January 2017 we started out with 740.

MP: What is the difference between a Market Center and a Business Center?
JDP:
A Market Center is a fully-staffed location, and a Business Center is more of a support satellite office. Business Centers help us get into geographic areas where we may not be able to open a full office.

MP: Your growth is very impressive. What would you attribute that to?
JDP:
Our growth is really supported by our culture and commitment to our agents. We have a saying around here: “Yes is the answer; now what’s the question?” We take care of our people first—for us, our primary customer is our agent, and we focus heavily on supporting their dreams, hopes, goals and financial prosperity. We’ve also added so many great people to our team over the years, which has done a real service to our growth.
NM: We’ve always been forward-looking and follow the Keller Williams models of growth and productivity. If an agent isn’t productive, they will not be in the business for long, and we give them every opportunity to become productive. We feel we attract those that are likeminded.

MP: How would you describe your firm’s positioning in the marketplace?
NM:
We’re very strong in all our markets. In Denham Springs, we’re currently No. 1 in Livingston Parish, and have our sights set on becoming No. 1 in the Greater Baton Rouge Board of REALTORS®. We’re No. 1 in Houma/Thibodaux, La., and neck and neck for the No. 1 spot in Lafayette. What sets us apart is our training, our culture, our ethics and integrity, and our technology.

MP: Tell me a little bit more about your training.
NM:
The production of our agents is really important. We want them to be profitable and make a good living, and we don’t want them to find another career because they’re not doing well. That’s why all our Market Centers offer training. This is not continuing education training, but training about how to run their business—how to go out and get business and how to do things so they can grow their business, and, therefore, grow themselves and their team.
JDP: Every Market Center has training that’s all about advancing prosperity for agents. We’re committed to that.

MP: I understand you’re both very involved in coaching…
NM:
We both believe greatly in coaching and training. We work to have productivity coaches in each Market Center, and we have our associates teach classes that they’re strong in already or would like to get stronger in. JD actually coaches and helps teams for up to six months. I’m working on becoming a Keller Williams University Instructor and have taught CE for the state in the past. We both attend training regionally and nationally. We also have our own mastery coach through KW MAPS, as do all our team leaders, and many of our Market Center Administrators.
JDP: I’m available to coach anyone from point A to point B. I assist agents in jumpstarting a business model, reorganizing what they’re doing now or changing direction altogether to find a new path. Keller Williams is the No. 1 company for training, and we’re lucky to have that support. Nancy and I go out and get the best training we can, then bring that back to the Market Centers. If there’s new training in another state, we go get that information and bring it back to our agents. We are consistently in the classroom in our Market Centers.

MP: Can agents also access on- demand training?
JDP:
Yes, through KW Connect, which is, in essence, YouTube for Keller Williams agents. They can use this platform for training and education if they’re not in the Market Center. It’s training that’s available 24/7 on whatever topic you can imagine. There are hundreds of videos on numerous topics shared by top producers all over the country. One of our core beliefs is that together, we all achieve more.

MP: What’s your company culture like?
NM:
We do things as a family. Even though our Market Centers are large, we do our best to help everyone feel like they belong. We do huddle-ups and talk about our concerns and look out for each other.
JDP: Our commitment to stay connected to every agent routinely is part of our system. We stay connected to their goals, their dreams and making sure their business is on the path to get them there.

MP: How do you help your agents become more productive?
JDP:
We leverage technology and are part of a franchise that really supports that. We have really high-level technology that’s always advancing, and we’re constantly putting forth new initiatives through the technology piece.
NM: Our agents have access to everything they could want via their intranet site provided by Keller Williams.

MP: That’s great that you have all this cutting-edge technology, but how do you ensure agents take advantage of it?
JDP:
Again, that’s training. And we make sure to meet them where they are. One of the things we say internally is that we’ll go as slow or as fast as you need us to. We’ll run right alongside you. Every agent is an independent contractor and is always looking for a better mousetrap. Some of the best ideas come from agents who are out there exploring and doing a little pioneering.

MP: How do you stay ahead of the curve on technology, online marketing and social media?
NM:
Keller Williams does that for us. They’re introducing several new technology upgrades at Mega Camp in Austin this month (at press time). They provide websites, transaction management, reports, listing presentations, buyer’s presentations, email, Profit Dash, and so many other things currently. Keller Williams Realty International will be announcing Kelli, cloud-based documents, and other technological advances this month.

MP: What most attracts agents to Keller Williams Realty, and why do they stay?
NM:
I think initially they’re attracted by either the training for the newer folks, or the commission splits. They stay for many different reasons: the culture of the company, the technology, and the opportunities.
JDP: Our value proposition is unique to each agent. For one, it may be our high profitability; for another, it might be our culture or compensation model, and for others, still, it may be our education and training.
NM: We look at people as individuals—we don’t have one set of prescriptions for everybody; we figure out what they need.
JDP: What we do really well is meet agents where they are and help them get where they want to go.

MP: Please describe your leadership philosophy.
NM:
We believe in the WI4C2TS of Keller Williams. That is: Win-win—or no deal; Integrity—do the right thing; Customers—always come first; Communication—seek first to understand; Creativity—ideas before results; Commitment—in all things; Trust—begins with honesty; Teamwork—together everyone achieves more; and Success—results through people. JD and I are both involved in our Market Centers, and we do our best to be quick to respond. With Keller Williams Realty behind us, there’s nothing we cannot achieve.
JDP: We have a servant leadership style. Both Nancy and I are in the office daily, and in the classroom training weekly. We’re everywhere, and have our hands in the day-to-day. We have also hired great leadership teams to support us.

MP: What’s your strategy for effectively marketing the firm and best serving the needs of prospects and clients?
NM:
We’re an agent-centric company, and, therefore, we let the agents best decide how to market and sell their properties, and how to best promote themselves. We provide them with a lot of online tools, and they have the opportunity to get 100 percent of their commission dollars, so they will have the funds to promote themselves and their clients.
JDP: We commit very little resources to market our brand. In turn, we spend that time and money to help the agent market themselves as the brand. Because we’re a profit-sharing company, we’ve chosen not to spend that money on brand marketing, but instead, assist agents with their individual marketing.

MP: What’s on deck for the future of the firm?
JDP:
We’re always looking for opportunities. If there’s an opportunity for us to open another Market Center and support agents in that marketplace, we’ll look into it. In the meantime, we’re going to continue to support the folks currently with us, and maybe add more.
NM: We will continue to grow and provide opportunities. Who knows—there may be another Market Center in our future!

For more information, please visit www.kwrpp.com.

Maria Patterson is RISMedia’s executive editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at maria@rismedia.com.

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