Does life happen to you or does life happen for you is a question EXIT owners Sonny Downey and Ray Rivera help their agents contemplate as they grow and develop their career with EXIT Real Estate Gallery – Northeast Florida, now with seven offices and 450 agents and counting!
2021 Flexibility Key
People are feeling powerless says Sonny and there are a lot of things we can’t impact.
“We help our agents focus on what they can do and attitude. Learn a lesson from everything and apply it. 2021 is already teaching us adaptability which can be difficult. We are a company of relationships built on engagement and helping develop human potential. Now we are adapting to doing business virtually and keeping our agents engaged. We don’t know what the year has in store for us but we are being flexible and pivoting when needed,” Sonny explains.
Ray and Sonny’s desire to grow leaders definitely makes them different from their competition.
“Some brokerages can be fearful in helping people aspire to their dreams due to a fear of losing them. In our 14 years with EXIT, we take new agents and turn them into top leaders encouraging them to become brokers. Everybody deserves to dream. We enable them with tools, training and coaching to help them win deals. We look at people for their human potential,” Sonny explains. “In 2010, Bob McKinnon said 40% of the 80% wants to be the top 20%. The 80/20 rule shows that 40% of the 80% wants to be the 20%. Rather than us focusing on top producers, we focus on the 40% with the human potential to drive and will to climb to the top.”
This definitely starts with our leadership and continues through our agents says Ray.
“Any real estate company is as good as the people who run the brokerage, the culture of their office and their agents. This separates us from our competition. We take mentoring our agents very seriously and are always looking to see what is around the corner and helping them get ready for it,” Ray says.
Opportunity drew the duo to EXIT and the dream of a future they never saw possible.
We tell our agents we are here to help you grow a business, be happy and successful and this is what we were sold says Ray.
EXIT Realty Corp. International Founder/Chairman Steve Morris and CEO Tami Bonnell did a great job of painting this future we never saw as possible. If it wasn’t for their belief in us, we couldn’t have done it says Sonny.
“They saw something in us. We knew we wanted to launch a brokerage but did not know to what scale. When you open, you want a boutique brokerage because it is obtainable. At Broker/Owner training, Steve does a great job of inspiring us. Agents choose brokers for the same reason because they believe in them or are convinced there is a better opportunity out there,” Sonny said. “Ray and I don’t sell houses. We sell dreams and help our agents understand there is a better tomorrow.”
The residual income helps turns real estate into business and bridges the gap between pay days. From a brokerage standpoint, it helps with recruiting explains Sonny.
“Are you causing opportunities for your agents to be able to sponsor agents into the company or are you hoarding all the sponsoring for yourself. It will be fine short term but you’ll never be able to grow,” Sonny said. Ray added, sponsorship gives them the understanding of more opportunity and if they don’t have residuals, it is easier for them to leave.
The partners take any annual sponsorship residuals and reinvest into their brokerage.
The Not So Secret To Their Success
There is no secret to our success because what we are doing other people can do says Ray.
“The difference is are you willing to put the work into it. We also not only tell our agents we care but we show them. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) survey of consumers showed the #1 reason people choose an agent is trustworthiness. They like and trust an agent. Same thing goes for us. We have them tools and resources but they also have to trust us,” said Ray.
I think a willingness to grow has also been one of the reasons for our success says Sonny.
“We were green in the beginning but had a vision to grow and sold people on this as well. Today, there has been a natural disconnect in offices due to the pandemic. We have had to help our agents develop good habits to thrive. We are working to re-engage, try new things so we don’t lose any relevancy with our agents,” Sonny said.
You definitely have to remain relevant in business or you will fall behind Ray added.
Most Effective Marketing Tools Today
Facebook remains a great marketing tool for EXIT Real Estate Gallery. (Click here to connect.)
“Your online presence matters and we use Facebook to project the successes of our brokerage. Long before an agent walks in for that interview, they have an impression of you. Smart brokers use Facebook to their advantage to sell their own story. At first, I was hesitant to highlight top producers so other brokers wouldn’t steal them and they still might. But, highlighting our agents accomplishments is important to them and everyone else,” says Sonny.
Advice For New Agents
“Release yourself from any preconceived notions of business and prospecting. Some will say they don’t like cold calling or knocking on doors. I ask have you done it? And, if they say no so, I dig deeper to see if their opinions are formed by history. Be a student of life. Don’t be constrained by uneducated opinions and notions. Do the homework and use what works for you,” says Sonny.
Biggest Lessons Learned
Building on the first mantra shared, Ray returns to things are happening for you by sharing people don’t do things to you, they are doing things for themselves! When an agent decides to go to another company, they are doing it for themself.
Years later, Sonny says they still have to remind themselves. In 2019,166 people left their brokerage for multiple reasons. On the flip side of this, they shared that 185 agents were inspired to join them – a net increase in a difficult year.
“It is easy to get focused on the wrong things. You have to be focused on the positive. We make sure we are doing enough positive to off-set the negativity of the world,” said Sonny.
Connect with EXIT Real Estate Gallery – Northeast Florida
Connect with EXIT Real Estate Gallery owners Sonny Downey and Ray Rivera at firstname.lastname@example.org.
EXIT Southeast 2021 Awards – Going Virtual – Feb. 24
On February 24 at 10 a.m. CST/11 a.m. EST, join us on YouTube as EXIT Southeast Regional Owners Kenny Lynn and Stacy Strobl broadcast our annual EXIT Southeast awards from Jason Aldean’s Kitchen & Rooftop Bar on Broadway in Nashville!!
You can join the premiere party virtually on our YouTube Channel so subscribe here today! Emcee will be Annette Anthony, EXIT Realty Corp. International VP of Technology & Engagement, with inspiring words by CEO Tami Bonnell. We’ll have guest appearances throughout the morning and there will be an amazing cash prize for most engaged office!!
During the event, we’ll post the YouTube link on our Facebook page here. In the comments underneath, add your fun photo or comment!
You can also comment on the YouTube post during the event underneath. The event link will be shared to Stacy Strobl’s LinkedIn page, Kenny Lynn’s LinkedIn page, EXIT Southeast’s LinkedIn page, Twitter and we’ll post a pic on Instagram. Don’t forget if you share to stories, tag @EXITSoutheast and add hashtag #EXITSoutheast…..whew!
So many ways to engage, have fun and virtually celebrate all the amazing EXIT Superlatives!
Here are more fun details!