Industry Influencers: Letting Others Experience Your Business

Sep 1, 2019 by

Editor’s Note: The Industry Influencers series analyzes the industry’s most effective marketing efforts and shares experts’ actionable insights.

Record. Review. Repurpose.

That’s the ideology Michael Hellickson—CEO and founder of Club Wealth®, a real estate coaching and consulting company—follows. His company’s YouTube page has nearly 2,000 subscribers and his Facebook business page has nearly 10,000 followers. Hellickson typically speaks to a broker audience, presenting video resources to help them grow their business.

“We use video in ads and posts on social media outlets like Facebook, Instagram and YouTube, as well as our blog and in training videos,” says Hellickson. “Once recorded, our production team analyzes, edits and repurposes the videos in numerous ways. Video is at the core of our marketing.”

Leveraging Immediacy With Live Broadcasts
Hellickson’s presence is particularly strong on Facebook, where he’s been able to use the Live functionality to host webinars with multiple panelists. These events span myriad topics, such as agent onboarding, building an army of inside sales agents and tricks to boost business.

Typically, they range from 30 minutes to an hour, and viewers can ask questions and have them answered in real time.

On Instagram, Hellickson creates a more personalized experience, speaking directly to the camera about quick takeaways for ensuring business success. Additionally, he blends personal posts with business tidbits, allowing viewers to experience the coaching side of the company, along with the personality.

“When someone engages with enough of your videos, they begin to know and trust you, and often feel like they know you before they’ve ever met you,” says Hellickson. “This leads to increased opt-in and conversion of leads. Traditional marketing fails to offer consumers the opportunity to experience you and get to know you.”

According to Hellickson, video performs much better than other types of posts on social media.

“Most social platforms rank videos higher in their algorithms and serve video up to far more people than images or text,” says Hellickson. “Additionally, motion creations emotion, so your posts get noticed.”

Hellickson shares the following tips for agents wanting to incorporate video into their marketing:

  1. “Use what you have, even if it’s just a smartphone camera. You don’t need expensive equipment.”
  2. “Caption everything. Over 80 percent of all video views are done without audio.”
  3. “Despite No. 2, audio quality is very important. Consumers expect clear, clean audio, and will leave quickly without it.”
  4. “Don’t overthink it. No one cares about your hair, makeup, etc. Just be your authentic self and learn to get comfortable on camera no matter what you’re wearing.”
  5. “Post regularly (ideally daily) and in multiple places.”
  6. Watch the video below to see how Hellickson approaches live broadcasts:

Liz Dominguez is RISMedia’s associate content editor. RISMedia is the residential real estate industry’s definitive source for news and information. Email Liz your real estate news ideas at  

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It’s Okay to Borrow Influence From Others

Aug 6, 2018 by

The most successful real estate agents in the future will be the ones who provide the most benefit to their clients. The ones who are experts in all things real estate. The ones who can answer, with confidence, just about any question a client might ask and become a trusted advisor and valuable resource in the process.

Here’s the problem, though: For most of us, it’s impossible to know everything and to have answers ready for every single question that might be asked. This is where your personal connections and your vendor list come into play.

If you want to become a real “influencer” in your market, buyers and sellers must consider you the local expert. Even if you don’t have the ability to give all the right answers or to provide the appropriate guidance yourself, you need to be able to find the answer—or provide another resource that can.

Here are five things you must do to become your market’s most influential agent:

1. Tell people you’re a market expert. Tell everyone you know that you want to be a resource for them, and offer your services whenever possible. This extends beyond simply helping them buy or sell a house. You should offer to help with property tax questions, mortgage information, home inspection questions, estate or probate questions, and more.

2. Happily find the answers. It’s easier to tell everyone that you’re a market expert than to actually be one. It takes time to do the research or to find a vendor or other resource to answer every single question someone asks. You’ll very likely want to quit searching before finding answers, but don’t ever stop, because once you find the answer to a question the first time, you’ll be able to answer the same question with confidence every time in the future.

3. Follow up. Make sure you follow up with the person who asked the question and provide a clear and concise answer. Additionally, follow up a few weeks later to see if the information you provided was helpful, and to see if they need anything else.

4. Create a vendor/resource list. Keep accurate and up-to-date records of the vendors and other resources you rely on to help you answer questions. This will allow you to easily reach out again when the need arises next. Make a habit of adding to your list every time you meet someone who can help you in the future.

5. Read, listen and watch. Keeping up with current trends in real estate requires an investment of time. Read all trade publications, listen to informative podcasts and watch instructional videos. And really pay attention. Think about how you can use whatever information you’re learning to help your clients and position yourself as an even more valuable resource in your market.

I’m happy to share a sample of the spreadsheet we use to keep up with vendors and other people we rely on as resources. Email me at if you’d like a copy.

Once you have a copy of the spreadsheet, you’ll have to commit to updating it regularly (at least once a month). Stick with this plan for a year or so, and you’ll become the most influential agent in your market, and everyone will rely on you for answers to their most important real estate questions. As more people rely on you as their go-to resource, they’ll also turn to you whenever it’s time to buy or sell a home, so you better prepare to close more sales.

Cleve Gaddis is a master coach with Workman Success Systems and a team leader in Atlanta. He learned sales the hard way, selling vacuum cleaners door-to-door, and now puts those skills to use in helping his team close $ 60 million annually. He loves to share his systems and strategies to help others succeed. He hosts the Call Cleve Atlanta Real Estate Show heard weekly on NewsTalk 1160 WCFO. Contact him at For more information, please visit

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RE/MAX of Reading: Empowering Others and Generating Success

Jun 9, 2018 by

REMAX_Reading_July18_Cover_300x420_300dpiWith more than 3,800 transactions produced by 140 agents last year alone, RE/MAX of Reading has sold more homes than any other single-office RE/MAX company in the country. But for broker/owner Jack Fry, that’s only the tip of the iceberg. What he’s most fiercely proud of is the generous spirit that pervades his Berks County, Pa., firm, and the commitment to a high-touch culture that empowers others and generates success.

Fry, who grew up with a dad in the real estate business, earned his license while still in school, and, fresh out of college in 1973, joined his father’s independent company in the Reading area. Four years later, a member of the Million Dollar Club, he won a state award for sales from the Pennsylvania Association of REALTORS®.

At the 1978 National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) convention, Fry found himself in tune with the RE/MAX real estate system and, with his father as a 50/50 partner, bought the RE/MAX of Reading franchise in 1980. There were two agents on board.

“I was impressed with the approach and objectives of the brand,” says Fry, “and its commitment to independent agents. Everyone carried their own weight. I liked the RE/MAX synergy.”

The two worked hard to get the franchise off the ground, but when his father died suddenly that same year, Fry became the sole owner and broker of record. He was 27 years old.

Today, he leads a company with more than 140 full-time agents and an administrative staff of 16. The office regularly holds more than 30-35 percent marketshare for all listings sold in the scenic Berks County and Greater Reading countryside region some 45 minutes from Philadelphia, and the company is ranked by service guarantor QSC as one of the top three companies in the country in customer satisfaction.

RE/MAX of Reading's support staff enables its agents to exceed national productivity averages.

RE/MAX of Reading’s support staff enables its agents to exceed national productivity averages.

But something more than dedication has driven the company’s achievement.

“By 1993, when the nationwide average was six transactions per agent per year, we were doing three times that number,” says Fry. “The phones were ringing, and everyone was busy, but I sensed an undercurrent of negative energy. I realized that I didn’t like our own culture very much. Then I had an epiphany. If I was unhappy with our company culture, it was my responsibility to change it.”

He called a meeting, attendance mandatory, and thanked everyone for their considerable achievements. But he also called for a new way of conducting business.

“I was inspired to run a high-touch company, to put the emphasis on service and accountability, and I knew it had to start with me,” says Fry. “I told them I was taking full responsibility for beginning a new era of positivity—for building a culture that embraces change, supports positive energy, and excels at serving others.”

His plan, he says, was to make company business transparent to every agent, downplay ego and negativity, provide a new kind of coaching and training, and create a workplace that thrived on support and service.

The new vibe wasn’t for everyone. Within 30 days of this momentous meeting, 10 percent of the firm’s 56 agents had summarily left the company. But among those who remained, Fry sensed a positive change in energy, and in the following year—with no discernible change in the market—they added 13 service-minded agents, and business grew from an average of 18 transactions per agent to 28. The new culture was making a tangible difference.

Annual company meeting, reviewing business plan and annual expenses for the year

Annual company meeting, reviewing business plan and annual expenses for the year

“By being transparent about operational expenses, and sharing the basics about how the company operates, I gained the trust of my agents,” says Fry. “And gaining their trust empowered me to lead, which, in turn, empowered my agents.”

Among those who stayed was manager Jim Williams. An industry veteran primarily responsible for recruiting, coaching and training, Williams was a firm advocate for the firm’s new policy.

“I’d been with the company four years when this new era began,” says Williams, “and I quickly began to see the change.”

“It’s not about who’s right” became the company’s mantra, notes Williams. “It’s more about what’s right.”

Fry and Williams introduced new individual and team training based on the self-help lead generation and accountability philosophies of Brian Buffini and Tom Ferry.

“The goal was to help our agents become the best people they could be,” says Williams, “and to meet and surpass their own goals by passing that positive energy on to others.”

REMAX_Reading_PQ_p79As business grew, so did the need for improved and expansive marketing concepts, with a focus on technology and the growing field of social media.

Enter Tavia Ritter.

A veteran in retail customer service with a keen eye for technology and the value of social media networking, Ritter came to RE/MAX of Reading in 2006.

“I loved this place from the beginning,” she says. “I liked the people and the purpose, and the energy that was being produced.”

Ritter created new profiles and automated communication platforms for agents to use with their customers, as well as introduced a strong digital footprint focused on recruiting.

“It’s all about relationships,” she says. “We’re all on the same page about what we stand for, and what each of us does best. We know the value of personal communication, and our agents stay in touch with their customers long after closing.”

REMAX_Reading_PQ_p80Technology makes that easy.

“The agents aren’t out there looking for the next shiny, new toy,” says Ritter. “We do all of that for them so they can go out and do what they do best.”

In fact, there’s a multimedia room that seats 100 where group training is ongoing, but individuals can also get special attention when they need it.

“In a sense, that’s our advantage,” says Williams. “We have a United Nations of real estate agents here with a variety of backgrounds and experience, but we have almost no turnover outside of retirements because people work together and flourish here. We enjoy working in this environment.”

In great measure, he adds, it comes from the top.

“Jack is one of the most trusting and caring individuals I’ve ever been around,” he says. “It’s our pleasure to share that caring attitude with our customers.”

In recruiting both new and experienced agents, Williams looks for team players who enjoy working with others, are focused on achieving goals, and motivated to do the very best job for their customers.

Recruiting efforts are helped by the company’s reputation in the real estate community as a workplace of high-achievers who seem genuinely glad to come to work.

“We put each other and our customers first,” says Fry. “We’re completely transparent, and we have great producers who don’t let ego stand in the way. That’s rare, I know—and I’m very protective of the culture we’ve created.”

Part of that protection means providing his agents with an abundance of services, including transaction coordinators who free the agent from paperwork, a service desk to handle promotions and marketing, and an IT department that reliably brings in state-of-the-art but easy-to-use technology and practical social media training.

The firm also has an unparalleled leadership team. Under Fry’s presidency, with Williams as general manager and Ritter as IT officer, Joe Peterson serves as compliance/dispute resolution manager and KJ Fry and Keith Malone as team managers. Kelly Pieja is the firm’s chief financial officer, while Kate Flowers heads human resources and agent services.

“You do the As,” Fry tells his agents. “We do the Bs and Cs so that you can be out there doing what you do best.”

In return, Fry expects that each agent will touch the consumer at the highest level, doing everything within their power to help customers achieve their real estate goals.

But it goes deeper than that.

Every RE/MAX of Reading agent is deeply involved in the community, supporting national organizations like the American Cancer Society, the Children’s Miracle Network and Women in Crisis, as well as a myriad of local causes—more than 100 in all. And they’re not simply donating funds. They’re out there coaching kids, stocking food pantries, teaching literacy, and more.

“Paying it forward is more than just a phrase here. If there’s a need, we support it,” says Fry. “When you have it in your heart to help, it permeates into the community.”

Not only does this kind of work ethic and caring approach become its own reward, but also continues to drive agent productivity and enhance the bottom line. In a region with an average sales price of about $ 180,000, RE/MAX of Reading has received the Pennsylvania/Delaware Regional Award for highest transactional volume—over $ 650 million—for several years running.

What’s on tap for the future?

“We’ll continue to stay aware of changes in the market environment and vigilant in our effort to be first with the best to the consumer,” says Fry. “Tavia is our eyes and ears in terms of technology and marketing, and Jim’s longstanding commitment to our company ideals will help bring the best and brightest agents to us for the long haul.”

In the 16 years since Fry’s decision to change the company’s focus, the market has seen change upon cyclical change. But steady and consistent growth remains the hallmark and strength of the franchise he guided from its fledgling stage to the company it is today.

“The arithmetic is easy,” concludes Fry. “High, positive energy and a culture of caring will always equal success.”

For more information, please visit

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Stock Market Volatility Good for Some Housing Markets, Bad for Others

Apr 10, 2016 by

Instead of starting with a bang, 2016 kicked off with a plunge. On the first day of trading, Jan. 4, the American indexes recorded the biggest losses ever for a year-opening session. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 275 points, with the S&P 500 and NASDAQ indexes each shedding 1.5 percent and 2.1 percent, respectively. […]

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