In the following interview, Al Wimberly, broker/owner of Sellstate Select in Mooresville, N.C., discusses the advantages of Sellstate, agent development and training, branding and more.
Region Served: The Lake Norman area of North Charlotte, N.C.
Years in Real Estate: 23
Number of Offices: 1
Number of Agents: 64
Please describe your experience leading the first Sellstate office to open in the Mooresville area.
Al Wimberly: Having brought the franchise up from Ft. Myers, Fla., I can honestly say the experience has been great. Not only does Sellstate offer the best technology package, but our overhead is low, which keeps us from having to nickel-and-dime agents. We also pay a high commission split. While all of these factors are important, I think the biggest draw is Sellstate’s Agent Asset Development (AAD) Program, which is instrumental in establishing an alternative pillar of income agents can use by introducing people to the company. Unheard of in the industry, the AAD Program pays sponsoring agents 5 percent of the recruited agent’s GCI on a monthly basis.
Were there any specific challenges you had to overcome, and what most excited you about expanding the brand into a new area?
AW: A big deal 10-15 years ago, name recognition was huge because when people searched for a property, they searched at sellstate.com, remax.com, etc. With the advent of technology, the buying and selling public is taking advantage of sites such as Zillow, Trulia, Homes.com and realtor.com®, so it’s not necessarily all about the company anymore. Today, it’s more about the individual agent, and that’s who people are hiring these days. Agents should not only depend on their company for resources, but they should take advantage of these resources, as well. The bottom line is that real estate is more of a people business in this day and age. While technology is great, people want to know who they’re working with on a personal level.
What differentiates Sellstate Select from the competition?
AW: We’re very involved in our community and do a lot of charitable contributions and sponsorships throughout the year with local schools and the Lake Norman Volunteer Fire Department. Another thing that sets us apart is the environment of learning and sharing we’ve created within the office. Our agents know they can be open about their business, providing the opportunity to learn from their peers. This is the best family atmosphere I’ve ever experienced.
How have you used the Sellstate brand to better serve the Mooresville area?
AW: As we continue to grow more individual offices, the brand will spread even further. People recognize our logo, which is very unique, and they recognize the name more so than ever today. We don’t force our agents to talk about the company, but they constantly do because they’re happy and proud of what they do and where they work. This has been eye-opening because the overall reputation of real estate agents has been jaded for a long time, but our people aren’t intimidated by announcing that they’re real estate professionals.
In what ways are you setting your agents up for success?
AW: This begins from the top. My business partner Sanford Brown comes from an extensive corporate background, so his experience in the corporate sales industry combined with mine in the real estate industry gives agents a real presence with their business development and marketing capabilities. Agents learn how to run a professional business from his end, and how to deal with agent contracts, etc., from my end. He and I combined provide the best of both worlds. We also offer an eight-week career acceleration program that provides a solid foundation upon which our agents can depend. Starting from the ground up, the program covers everything from time management to technology. In the end, if agents have the correct foundation, they have no choice but to succeed.
As broker/owner, what achievements/milestones are you most proud of?
AW: My proudest achievement is the fact that my agents are proud of what they do. They’re happy, they know they’re in an environment where they can speak up, and they know they’re not being taken for granted. I’ve been in the industry for a long time, and I know we could have bought any franchise we wanted to, or developed anything we put our minds to. While the word “agent-centric” has become so diluted today, with Sellstate, it truly is all about the agent. We take a hands-on approach in order to get our agents established, creating a different perspective than what they’re used to.
What’s on the horizon as we head toward the future?
AW: In addition to controlled agent growth, we’ll also be growing into three target markets over the next 14-16 months. I think the more we grow in the Lake Norman area, the more our growth will offset into Charlotte, North Charlotte and South Charlotte. One of the large opportunities that I anticipate is creating a presence in these market areas in order to explode over the next 2-5 years.
For more information, please visit www.sellstaterealty.com.
Paige Tepping is RISMedia’s managing editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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