What I’ve Learned From Managing 150k Real Estate Agents • Greg Sexton

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Greg Sexton the Chief Operating Officer of Century 21 Real Estate LLC describes how he got involved in real estate. Greg talks about the the role of the brokerage in the success of the agent. Next, Greg discusses the importance of training and coaching in the real estate industry and he talks about his personal perspective for real estate in 2022. Greg and D.J. discuss Millennial and Gen-Z groups and how to prepare for their presence in the market. Last, Greg discusses leads and how to nurture them.

If you’d prefer to watch this interview, click here to view on YouTube!

This episode was brought to you by Real Geeks.


D.J. Paris 0:00
How would you like to hear from the CEO of one of the largest real estate companies in the world? They have 150,000 agents. How would you like to hear what they think is the keys to success? I know I do. Stay tuned. This episode of Keeping it real is brought to you by real geeks. How many homes are you going to sell this year? Do you have the right tools? Is your website turning soft leads and interested buyers? Are you spending money on leads that aren’t converting? Well real geeks is your solution. Find out why agents across the country choose real geeks as their technology partner. Real geeks was created by an agent for agents. They pride themselves on delivering a sales and marketing solution so that you can easily generate more business. Their agent websites are fast and built for lead conversion with a smooth search experience for your visitors. Real geeks also includes an easy to use agent CRM. So once a lead signs up on your website, you can track their interest and have great follow up conversations. Real geeks is loaded with a ton of marketing tools to nurture your leads and increase brand awareness visit real geeks.com forward slash keeping it real pod and find out why Realtors come to real geeks to generate more business again, visit real geeks.com forward slash keeping it real pod and now on to our show

Hello, and welcome to another episode of Keeping it real the largest podcast made by real estate agents and for real estate agents. My name is DJ Barris. And in just I’m your guide and host by the way through the show, I screwed up my own intro but just a moment, we’re going to be speaking with the CEO of century 21 Greg Sexton, he has 150,000 agents and he’s going to tell you what he believes are the key to agent success. I’m really excited before we get to to Greg just a couple of quick reminders please tell a friend think of one other realtor that you know that needs to hear what Greg is about to tell you and believe me it’s all gold, send them a link to our website or send just have them pull up a podcast app search for keeping it real, hit the subscribe button but our website where they can stream every episode is keeping it real pod.com Again, keeping it real pod.com And also please leave us a review. If you’re listening on a podcast app like iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify wherever please let us know what you think of the show. We read all those reviews and it helps us improve But enough about me let’s get on to Greg Sexton.

Okay, today on the show we have Greg Sexton from Century 21. He’s the Chief Operating Officer. Let me actually let me tell me more about Greg so Greg was actually appointed the chief operating officer of century 21, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Realogy corporation. So many of you listening are probably part of the realty family which includes century 21, Better Homes and Gardens, Coldwell Banker, Corcoran, a lot of a lot of major major real estate companies that that are in your market. But Greg was, has been the CEO since September of 2020. And he serves as the chief operating officer sorry, he also served as the Chief Operating Officer of century 21 Real Estate from 2013 to 2017, before taking on his role of the chief of business services for real G. Now Upon returning to his position as Chief Operating Officer, Sexton leads the company’s domestic and international operations, which includes the iconic brands industry leading platform of tech tools and apps learning and data driven products that si 21 professionals leverage to better serve their customers and clients. Plus, he oversees the organization’s real estate field servicing staff to ensure that it’s committed to improving the quality and efficiencies and building long term relationships with a century 21 systems broker network. Now he has also spent a decade over a decade rather with the real G Corporation. He served in a number of roles including senior vice president broker services of for century 21 real estate where he oversaw the consulting, sales and service efforts of the brand’s broker services teams, and as also the Senior Vice President of Operations for Coldwell Banker, residential real estate and Coldwell Banker Commercial. So he’s he is a titan of this industry. We are beyond honored to have him on here. And this is the first time we’ve really spoken to somebody at your level. We traditionally Greg speak to producing brokers, but who better to talk about producing agents than of course you who oversees a lot of them. But welcome to the show, Greg, we appreciate your time.

Greg Sexton 4:54
Thank you, Jay. Thank you so much for having me and the opportunity to spend some time with your audience.

D.J. Paris 4:59
We are We are a very, very grateful to to have you on the show and I’ve always I have a I myself, I’m not a practicing agent, although I do have a license. I’m on the recruiting side I work for an independent brokerage here a family owned company here in Chicago. But of course century 21, Coldwell Banker, all of Better Homes and Gardens, those are all those all have a presence, pretty prominent presence here in the Chicagoland area, including the suburbs. And in fact, our owner, Nick, before he took over the company that I work at, which was his family’s company. He actually started himself at Coldwell Banker for the first four years of his career, so he could learn the business and he will tell everybody, boy, what a great experience that was, of course, century 21 being under that same umbrella. But I would love to hear about your journey into real estate. Obviously, you you’ve been on the corporate side for quite some time. But uh, how’d you get involved in real estate?

Greg Sexton 5:57
Yeah, it was interesting. So there’s the real estate side of what we do and then the franchising side and actually came in through the franchising window or door, if you will, I had actually been in the franchising industry, in a different industry other than real estate. And that was my entree in and where I came into it was on the franchise, sales side of it. And I will tell you, DJ, I’m a I’m a proponent of for those that have gone into leadership within real estate, especially within the franchise side of it. That franchise sales background is really what helped me understand what happens at the street level, if you will, because a lot of us from corporate folks, a lot of times we’re inside, we’re developing tools and systems and thinking that, wow, this is going to be the greatest thing out there. When really, if you haven’t spent time understanding what happens at the brokerage, what happens for the agents out there, I think sometimes we don’t make those great decisions. And so being in franchise sales, I spent all my time, the first 11 years with the company out there in the trenches, with our real estate brokerage companies, talking to agents, you know, working to get them to understand the value that a franchise like a central 21 provides, and all the different tools in the systems, not to mention the branding. So that was really important for my start and that so I spent the first 11 years on that franchise, sales side and real estate, then I transitioned into the operation side, which for me, made it a really great transition because I felt like I really understood what I wanted to accomplish in the corporate side, working with our field, who was out there working with our brokerages, excuse me out there working with our agents, and that was really kind of the compelling thing for me is that try to take that knowledge never forget what is important for the agent, and how they drive their business, how they grow their business. And so I’ve always tried to keep that focus and remember where I learned it from?

D.J. Paris 7:55
Well, I think it’s, I think that’s an impressive sort of experience skill set. Because you you have that sort of boots on the ground understanding as well as what it takes from a corporate level to support those boots on the ground and support the franchisees as well as the agents, and then just to create infrastructure within the company to continue to support everyone, which is a daunting task. And you know, realtors require a tremendous amount of help and as do the brokerages and the brokers who run them. I know we we are an independent brokerage. So we have about 800 agents in our company and boy it’s it’s a struggle and and so I can appreciate the resources that that companies like century 21 Coldwell Of course, provide, especially for newer agents. And not not just newer agents, of course, but I’ve always thought the resource, you know, I get this question a lot. When someone’s past their broker, while in Illinois, we’re all called brokers. So we’ll just say agents for the for the because not every state has the same terminology. But when agents, people, people just pass their exam, and then they’re interviewing, the question that I get the most is, you know, how are you guys my firm? Or the firm I work at? How are you guys different from a century 21? How’s your training, compared to Coldwell bankers? And I said, Well, I would hope they’d have better training than we do. And they do. Because of course they do because they have a lot more resources at their disposal. And to me, that’s a wonderful place as it’s not just a place to enter the business because I think, obviously, there’s a lot of top producers who have been practicing for dozens and dozens of years who stay at Century 21 and other companies like yours. But I’ve always thought especially for newer agents who really want to learn, you know, having the most amount of resources at your disposal is a really, really important sort of thing to be able to dip into and actually I have a question for you because I I’ve always wondered wondered this myself because agents, people who pass their their licensing exam, we have a lot of them that listen to the show, because really our show was was primarily designed not just to help newer agents, but to help agents who are looking to get to that those sort of higher levels of production, figure out what they need to do. And so we interview we’ve interviewed a lot of century 21 and Coldwell and betterhomes garden and Corcoran people on our show, who are over already made it. But I have a question for our audience that maybe you can help answer because agents are always especially newer ones are struggling with this one, which is what is the role of the brokerage in the success of the agent? Or how do you see you’re, you know, the resources that the corporate mothership will say, provides, you know, down to down to the individual agent? And of course, I would I know what, what my answer would be as a much smaller company. But I’m curious to hear you know, what you think the role of the brokerage is in 2022. And by the way, I know I’m talking a lot, I do want to also say one thing, I forgot a century 21 just celebrated last year, their 50th anniversary. And so congratulations to them, they also recently named and I can’t, I’m forgetting her name, but but somebody a real G, I believe, just named COO, who’s, who is a woman, and if it is national, Women’s History Month was starting today. So congratulations there. But congratulations on the 50 years, century 21. They also just went through a rebranding, which is very cool. But anyway, back to my question. Sorry for that. What is the role of the brokerage these days,

Greg Sexton 11:42
let me speak to that, because I, this really goes to a word that you’ve used a couple of times here about that you’re with an independent company. And I think that, and I’m gonna come from the passionate side of the brand and branding. And what we provide our broker owners because we want to make sure that they can then provide it to their agents is a full suite of value proposition from technology to training. And let me just dive in, if I could, for a little bit on that. Because I think it’s very important that I go back to the role that I had in franchise sales, where we’re I’m talking to independent real estate companies and agents that maybe with companies that are giving them that full value proposition of the things that they need out there. And it’s that knowledge that really caused me to really want to dive into what makes the brokerage successful. Well, what it makes it makes the brokerage successful is that their agents are successful out there, and their agents needs are being met. And we as the franchisor, in central 21, our job is to make sure that we provide those resources for our broker owners so they can be passed down. And I will tell you, one of the things that that I often say to companies that come to Century 21, they want to be part of the Sichuan family, we take them on a journey of what our full value proposition is, because I believe that we have a great value proposition, but it has to be right for that company, for that companies, agents for that broker to deliver value to their agents. And so you’ll hear me often say to these companies, I don’t know if this journey ends with you being part of century 21. Family, I don’t know if that’s right for either one of us. But this I do know, brand with someone, because I believe brand is that important. And it is when you mentioned about being independent, I believe brand is important, not just because of the brand. But the things that are wrapped around that a large company like a century 21 can provide for our brokers who then provide for their agents are very, very expensive. Let’s start with technology. Technology is changing so rapidly in this industry every day. And for an independent or even for an agent with an independent company to keep up with that technology, much less purchasing it from the start. But the moment you purchase it next thing you know, you got to update it, you gotta manage it don’t.

D.J. Paris 14:05
I’m in charge of our technology at our firm. And I will tell you, it is an incredible expense. And even beyond being an incredible expense. You’re absolutely right, the upkeep of making sure the providers that we use or that we develop are sufficient is is almost a full time job. So I absolutely understand. And I hope our audience is if you are at a firm that isn’t offering the tool set that you think you need, sir, you could go out and purchase certain tools on your own. Or you could explore firms that have already done a lot of that legwork like a century 21 and say, Hey, we will they get courted by the very best tech providers on the planet or they developed their own technology. And they have their own staff to do that. And it is in a very, very impressive tool set that you guys offer.

Greg Sexton 14:56
Yeah, one of the things that we just announced is not too long ago, a DJ We’re getting ready to roll out in the process of now it’s called Moxie works. It’s actually a product, it’s been around for a long time in the desert. But now we partner with moxie works. And that’s just kind of showing what the power of a large brand, like a century 21 can do for their brokers for their agents, is make sure that they have a suite of tools, it’s one thing to have a good piece of technology, it’s another thing to have a good suite of tools, because the agents out there demanding it as they should today, and so are in clients, those people that are out there looking to buy a home to sell their home. And I believe it’s our job to make that journey as easy as possible. And a lot of that’s coming through technology, not to mention the other aspect of what we deliver. And what I think that agents should also demand is a really good training platform. Here’s what’s interesting to you, Dan, I know you work with a lot of agents and brokers, you probably know this better than I do. It is amazing to me that in the real estate industry, those agents that take training, take coaching on a monthly basis, it’s been your $1,000 a month or whatever, these are, typically your new agents, right? These are your most experienced, most professional, most successful agents. And to me, that shows the power of a brand that has good training that agents would realize that if I’m going to be at the top of my game today, and tomorrow, I gotta keep on educating, I gotta, I gotta gain as much knowledge as I can. So I can pass that knowledge down to help my clients. And I just think that’s kind of a little bit of an interesting twist for this industry, how agents really want to absorb good coaching and good training, that’s a differentiator between us and say, other industries.

D.J. Paris 16:43
I think you’re right. And it is interesting, the coaching part of this industry is such a big and the training part is so important, because as we know, and our listeners, and viewers know that being a realtor is a ton of work because you’re not just wearing the sales guy hat, you know, you go to, and I shouldn’t say sales guy, salesperson, hat, of course, because you’re not just working at a company where they put you they give you some leads, you’re calling because you’re selling maybe a SaaS product or some sort of, you know, some product that you only have to sell as, as a realtor, you have to wear a number of hats. And whether you work at an independent firm, or you work at a franchise firm, wherever you work, you are not a lot of those hats. And it certainly helps to have resources of a big company behind you and the branding that goes with that. Because, you know, and I’ve been in this industry for for, I think 12 years now, and I work in an independent firm. So if somebody were to ask me the importance of a brand, because I work at a firm that has a much smaller footprint on the brand side, I say, oh, it’s not that important. But it is important. And it’s certainly when you’re starting out, and you haven’t built your reputation. And you haven’t established yourself as as an expert, necessarily, you know, yet in the in the community, or in real estate, having a brand behind you that is affiliated with competence. Excellence is. Jameson, by the way is also one of the real GE brands, which I forgot to mention, they are also obviously a huge presence everywhere, but certainly here in Chicago. These are these are important, they do move the needle for the consumer thinking, Well, hey, you know, I’m going to I just sat through three listing appointments, one was a century 21 person one was, you know, maybe somebody at my firm, and one was, you know, somebody from another firm that it isn’t as well known? Well, you know, it factors in and the branding factors in because, you know, we associate brands like century 21, with some level of excellence, because you’ve earned that, and you have excellent training. And a lot of firms like ours, you know, that’s, that’s our biggest struggle is training because we don’t have those resources. So I absolutely appreciate that.

Greg Sexton 19:07
You know, one of the things I was just going to add there quickly, BJ to is, let’s face it, this pandemic changed everything to and I believe, and we’re seeing a flight of independent real estate companies that have actually come to us since the pandemic, we sort of saw this after the recession call it back and oh eight through 11, that after people survived that, they also realized, I don’t want to go through this again, from this pandemic that we’re navigating ourselves through now and hopefully out very shortly. That didn’t change landscapes too. And people’s thought process, especially when it comes to training. As a big company as a big organization like ces 21. we pivoted quickly to our training to make sure that we were giving agents what they needed for the moment. None of us exactly knew what that moment was, but we knew that we were at home we couldn’t be in front of our clients. Those who wanted to buy homes sell their home And we couldn’t be face to face. So what do we do, and we were able to provide a lot of training quickly on virtual open houses, virtual closings, all of those things that caused us to be able to continue to do our business. In fact, frankly, as you, as you know, the industry continued to help people in that process of living that American dream of homeownership. Nothing was missed there. And I think it’s because of the ability to pivot there. But I think that as we go forward, there’s gonna be a lot of things that we would never would have thought about three years ago in our industry, or frankly, any industry that are going to live on that we never thought that was going to be part of who we are as Americans going forward when it comes to the home. And I think that that’s one of the things that I love about our industry is, we’ve been able to still help so many people live out that dream, when their dream just took a complete change. And what I mean by that is, think about all the people that are working from home now, that probably will the rest of their lives, and never would have thought about that three years ago, that creates such an opportunity for real estate agents, real estate broker owners, because we can help people to still solve that problem, what they perceive problem, it’s now an opportunity, finding a new home that meets the needs of their families, homeschooling, none of us thought that there would be this rush to homeschooling, but they were forced to, I think parts of that live on forever. So do those people have the right situation in their home? Or can we in the real estate industry, help them figure out what their needs are and fulfill those. So that’s what I love about our industry is yes, this pandemic has been horrible, horrible, for so many. And we want to, we want to always remember that. But what I love about what we get to do in our industry, is make things better.

D.J. Paris 21:54
Yeah. And I think too, that the pandemic, what it’s forced companies to do, especially larger corporations, like real GE and the various brands is it’ll the technology has been really adopted. So that we are able to communicate more effectively and efficiently with people with with companies now. And so now, you know, jumping on a Zoom meeting, is is not only not unusual, it’s every single person basically does it from time to time, whether you’re in real estate, or you’re not working at all, and you’re taking you know, at home like raising children, you’re still probably jumping on video conferencing. So I suspect, and I’m curious to get your take is it’s allowed you guys from the corporate side, to more directly communicate directly all the way down to the agent level. Because that communication that technology now exists, it probably makes it easier for you guys to go, here’s all the stuff, we have Mr. or Mrs agent who might be holed up at home because of the pandemic or various, you know, restrictions outside, we can still directly train you educate you and provide you those tools that years ago would have been more difficult to sort of trickle down all the way to the agent.

Greg Sexton 23:10
Yeah, without a doubt. In fact, I think of how even myself and pivoted I, all of my meetings now that I normally have had them in person, I can have them through zoom just as easily. I still believe we’re in the people business. And I can’t wait till we get to connect on a regular basis. And I think we’re starting to see that. But here’s a prime example. We have our big what we call our 121 convention, that’s where we have 1000s of central 21 agents from around the world attend that event and have for years, typically, typically in Las Vegas. But for the past few years, we haven’t been able to get there face to face, and enjoy that networking in that training and all the good things that go from that one on one person. However, we did it virtually we had our virtual 121, where we had 1000s of people coming on a zoom screen. And if I had said that we were going to do that three years ago to our staff, they would have looked at me like I had three heads, which might be the case that they do anyways. But that’s a totally, totally different story. But that’s how much in a short period of time. We have moved. And I think it’s just phenomenal that as a country, we were able to move like that. And I do think it’s the power of large brands that have been able to lead in that and make sure that the agents out there are still able to deliver what is needed in our industry.

D.J. Paris 24:32
That’s very well said. I appreciate your answer there. I have a couple of challenging or I would consider to be difficult questions. Although I think I think you’ll you’ll be able to answer them just fine. So no pressure, of course, but I did want to ask some questions. My first one is probably the most. We pulled our audience saying hey, we’re bringing on Greg, do you have some questions and and the number one question we got in This is a difficult question because I know that you are not an economist. And I also know that, you know, you that is not your particular specialty, although you are an Operations Officer, but I was curious, if you had a general thought about real estate in 2022, understanding rates have started to go up on the lending side, inventory is still a challenge in a lot of communities, especially I know, in Chicago, it is probably most major markets, it’s a problem. But still, rates are still pretty low. So we have this sort of interesting confluence of, of lots of buyers with still a lot of purchasing power that maybe they didn’t have when rates were higher than they are even now. They’re still great. But of course, a shortage of an inventory. So increased competition, increased pricing, curious on what you guys see on your side, as somebody who has to really look towards the future more so than than us little independent guys who just kind of focus on the day to day, what do you what do you think might happen this year with respect to real estate? Sure. And

Greg Sexton 26:04
I’m gonna give you my personal perspective on this. And I think the industry looks very, very bright. I look at what happened during the pandemic, and how, wow, we still sold so many homes when you take a look at what we do on a year to year basis before the pandemic? Well, I think the future looks very, very bright. And for a couple of reasons that I’ll throw out there. Because I think that this also speaks to how your listeners, your audience, that are agents can really think about their business going forward and their business plan for growing their business. The reasons why I feel really, really good about 2022. And frankly, beyond is, first of all, yes, we’re going to hear that interest rates are going up going up. But let’s just say that they’re going to be in that 3.6, that 3.7 range, which we keep on hearing kind of bantered around there. That is still amazing, amazing, amazing interest rates. And that should be the story that us in the industry are out there yelling from the rooftops about this great opportunity to get into homeownership first time homebuyers, what a great opportunity. 3.6. I know, I’ll give away my situation here. But my wife and I bought our first home 32 years ago, and I would have done anything like that. So I think it’s still so I think it’s our job as an industry to make sure that we get that great message out there. There’s another when you talk about what is the landscape look like going forward. I believe that because real estate is global, we have billions of dollars that come out of the other parts of the world that want to buy properties in the United States. And let’s face it, that’s been super challenging the last two years, I believe there’s going to be a bunch of pent up demand internationally on properties as we navigate ourselves out of this pandemic. I hope that your audience, your agents that you all work with, really understand that they should add this group of agents that are going to be coming over these investors add these group of clients that really want properties. Because you can think about those states that traditionally the Florida’s the California has, that really take an influx of properties that they want the international investors want to purchase. That’s a great opportunity. The other one reason why I think that there’s a new segment, if you will, that’s really coming in. That’s millennials, we are now seeing millennials that may have been either straddled with, with college debt and things in the past kind of stay on the sidelines. They also really wanted to live in those big major cities, they were going to rent for a while, because that panned the pandemic changed all of that. And so now

D.J. Paris 28:45
they’re all moving to Nashville where you are, there you go. That’s

Greg Sexton 28:47
exactly right. But I will tell you, millennials now are storming into the real estate, they’re realizing that real estate is a great investment. And so that’s a change. And there’s still a many years to go of that that demographic being part of that home buying experience that we could tap into just another great opportunity. Also the Hispanic, you know, all surveys show that that’s going to be really over the next 20 years, about 70% of the homeowners that are out there looking for homes, it again to your audience, if that’s not a group that there really has traditionally been part of their prospect list. I would encourage that. I think that’s another way to expand who maybe that prospect list didn’t include millennials, Hispanics, first time homebuyers. I think that we have a great opportunity to go out and give the dream of homeownership to more than we have in the past. And I think it’s gonna continue to drive what we’re gonna see in 2022 from an overall housing experience and even beyond that,

D.J. Paris 29:52
I think that those are really great, great insights and I was wanted to tag on to the millennial and I’m sort of Gen Z market, which often is ignored by realtors, because we know that that that age group, or people in that group, those groups tend to buy a little bit later than in previous generations. However, there is a an amazing transfer of wealth that is happening. For those people, a lot of them are receiving, you know, as their parents get older, they’re gonna start receiving transfers of wealth, whether in the form of gifting or as, as a parent passes away, maybe that money then funnels down to those millennials and Gen Z ers, and you’re going to see a lot of people with a huge influx of capital that they have to now do something with. And and I absolutely agree that these are people that are going to be buying a lot of property in the upcoming years. And so for all of our listeners, and viewers definitely consider how to start educating that the your, your sphere of influence who have or talking to your clients, who are of those of that advanced age, and saying, Hey, let’s talk about what is your wealth, sort of transfer strategy. And, you know, I want to be part of that. And I want to know where you’re headed so that I can help maybe for your heirs, I can help provide real estate advice.

Greg Sexton 31:23
Yeah, DJ, you’re spot on with that. And let me let me run with it just a little bit further, for your audience. Because I think that this, we’ve hit on something that’s really an opportunity for those agents out there that are that have the great fortune of listening to your podcast. I’m a firm believer in a, you can make a customer for life through really delivering unbelievable service, and then following up and keeping in touch with your clients. Because yes, your client may not buy a house next year. But all the studies show three to five years, they’re probably moving on. So I think about this millennial group that you and I have been speaking about here, what an opportunity, if this is the first time they are jumping into the home ownership, to show them the experience that they can have by dealing with you that great agent, that great central 21 agent if I if I can’t, because if you can do that, you’re going to tap into their rest of their family, their friends, and be there for them when that transition comes that you just spoke about. So if again, if they’re not part of the your prospect list, I would encourage everybody to not kind of just shy away from millennials and say, well, they’re probably just going to rent, because everything has changed.

D.J. Paris 32:34
Everything has changed. Now people can live wherever. And they can work from wherever. And I was I was shocked. I traveled overseas last last year, and got to spend some time in a few different countries. And I was able to work and I met many people who were they have a place in the United States, and they were not traveling. And, you know, they were trying to figure out what what am I going to do? Where am I going to where’s my home base going to be? And I think that’s a great opportunity, especially if you work for a company like a century 21 Because now you have access to their network of agents from all over the world, really. And all the Realogy agents I’m sure as well, which is even gosh, I got I got on the news. How many do you do? Is there a total count for the number of agents under the Realogy? Umbrella? It’s got to be it’s got to be over? 100,000? I’m guessing.

Greg Sexton 33:29
Well, we have 155,000 agents at Century 21.

D.J. Paris 33:33
So there we go. Well, hundreds of 1000s of agents.

Greg Sexton 33:37
Yeah, there is a lot of and you know, which I will tell you, it speaks to back to that global thing that I mentioned, I were in 85 countries. And that goes back to that branding is so important. But here’s why branding, and you sort of alluded to it a little while ago and some comments you make. But I think it’s super important when we think about those independent real estate companies, which there’s some fine ones out there. But when it comes to somebody who is in Germany, or France, or somebody that’s thinking about buying property, they’re probably not looking for that independent name. They don’t even know who it is, what they knew the century 21 is, and I think it is agents out there really think about the future of where this industry is going and how we are global, it’s really important to have a brand behind you that you’re immediately recognized. And then because of the great job that your agents do out there serving their clients, you combine that with a great brand. There’s your customer for life.

D.J. Paris 34:35
You know, it’s really funny, I was thinking about this psychologically there there is a sense of sort of well being when you’re in a foreign place, and you see something familiar, I was in I was in Nicaragua of all places. And this is about seven or eight years ago, and I walked by an empty storefront and I sort of had an idea for a business just a fleeting thought. You know, it wasn’t something I was going to actively pursue and I saw it was it was available for rent and it said CBRE, which is a very prominent commercial firm, global commercial firm. Or maybe it was Jones Lang LaSalle. I think it was CBRE. Anyway, I said, Oh, I know what CBRE is, and then all of a sudden I went, Oh, I trust whoever the name is, which of course the person I didn’t know what whoever was representing that property. And and, you know, of course, there’s a variety of competency and agents all over the place. And there’s good agents and not so good agents everywhere. But because I recognize that name. So you know, it’s funny as an independent person. I’m like, My inclination always like brands not that important. Of course, I’m a marketing guy. And I know the power of branding, and century 21, of course, is is a very, and Jamison and Coldwell Banker, and all the real GE Better Homes and Gardens. Corcoran, these are names that most people know, right, and they’re names that have earned a spot of a earned a spot in in a sort of Americana sort of culture because of what they provide. And I’ve always just been nice, I love when when an agent meets with me, and they’re meeting with people at Century 21 or Coldwell, or wherever, and they go, Well, what do you think of those companies? And I’m like, those companies are awesome. And that’s my only answer, because I go, I love those companies, we have maybe a different pricing model than they would but aside from that, yeah, awesome, really, really great. And their pricing model is perfect for them. And and I encourage agents to explore independent companies as well as franchise companies, because the value proposition is different. That, you know, what you guys are offering is really leaps and bounds. But I did want to ask you one more tough question. And I apologize for this question. Because I have an answer for this. And I know you have to go shortly. But let’s quickly talk about leads for a moment only because it is for a new agent who doesn’t maybe know is as much as an experienced agent, of course, about leads. Oftentimes they will, as they’re interviewing brokerages, and I know it because I get this question too. Somebody will say, Well, how do you provide leads, and I say, oh, and I love talking about it, because I say we really don’t provide leads in our company. But and I understand that you can’t speak for all the century 21 franchisees, but we talked about the difference between leads and training, and I think they’re one in the same in the sense of training is going to get you leads, leads isn’t necessarily going to get to training. But can we talk about sort of the role of leads only because it just gets asked by everybody, at some point in their career?

Greg Sexton 37:43
Yeah, lead leads are very, very important. But I also think that that goes back to what a lot of our conversation has been about brands and branding, because that does, absolutely drive leads. But I think for my personal opinion about leads is we spend a lot of time on how many leads you’re going to drive from how many leads, you’re going to get me Yeah, I like to reverse the question and say, how many leads are you going to convert? Because if we did a great job of incubating, and then actually closing the leads that we have, it would be phenomenal the amount of business we will be doing. And so what I tried to talk about you nailed it. I love what you said there about the correlation between training and leads. Because we spend our time and energy Yes, we do drive leads, but the time and energy is spent on training so that agents know how to a source even their own leads, and do a better job of that. But more importantly, once you get that lead, what do you do with it? Because not everybody and not every lead is going to want to buy a house tomorrow. And as agents, sometimes we don’t pay attention to that, that that consumer who might want to buy that house in a month from now, heaven forbid, a year from now, or maybe even five years from now. But what if we started really putting an incubation strategy, a drip campaign strategy down behind all that leads, one that start those leads from happening month after month, once we generate all of that focus on the actual closing of those leads and leading them to that, to that closing? To me, that’s where we can really control the leads, because a lot of people will just say to your point, give me leads how many leads you’re gonna give me how many? I don’t think that that’s really the focus. I think we’re focusing in the wrong place.

D.J. Paris 39:31
Yeah, I think so too. And I could not agree more with you about that. And I we used to have, actually there we believe they’re coming coming back with Zillow would come on our show monthly and talk about leads because that’s their business and they they they will talk they will talk exclusively about the incubation period and how critical it is. And the lead itself. Is is not it’s not really where I think the juice is. I think it to to your point. I think it’s about the incubation it’s How to follow up. And in order to automate that, as you get busier, you need to have tools and technology to assist. You talked about drip campaigns, whether it’s print, email, text, whatever medium, you’re going to be actively reminding your sphere of influence and your your contact list about, hey, oh, by the way, I’m the guy or the or the woman, I’m the person that wants to work with you, when you’re ready. You need to have some tool sets behind you and companies like century 21. Just have it.

Greg Sexton 40:30
You know, in one of these I know, we’ve got to run here. But quickly, just to pique my interest on when when agents are looking for the company that’s going to be best for them to grow their business to grow their career. Sometimes they don’t even look at that technology, like what what what CRM does this company make available that can really be the database for all of my prospects? And then and then does it help me do those drip campaigns? Keep up with my, my customer base, follow up with my customer base? Give me those notices when I need to follow up? And that seems kind of elementary. But how important that is that for growing, not just your next closing, but growing your career. I just think that’s an important point.

D.J. Paris 41:15
Well, I think that’s something that that the rheology brands have done an exceptionally good job of. And of course, that’s evidenced by how successful those brands are, and how they continue to be major. I mean, the biggest major players, really in the real estate brokerage space. And so hats off to Century 21, congratulations on 50 years, or 51 years now, of a successful and impressive company. Real G is just just an amazing powerhouse in Century 21. Being being one of one of their brands, is of course, also beyond impressive. And so I encourage everyone who’s listening this year 2022, if if you you know, if you do an annual audit of or you’re doing an audit this year of your brokerage, you know, are they providing me the tools I need? Am I getting the resources, the support, and I think support and training are and tools are the three pillars of what a brokerage can provide. I really encourage everybody, even our own agents at our firm, although we hope you stick around our firm, but we really encourage all of our listeners to check out real G check out century 21. In particular, Greg, Greg’s a great guy. And they the company is outstanding. And there’s just a lot that there is offered there. So really we encourage everyone to if you’re in that process of trying to figure out, is there a better fit? Or maybe I just got my license and I’m not sure where I want to go. Give century 21 a chance. We we’ve we’ve seen what they’ve done here in the Chicagoland market. Agents are exceptional here, of course, our audiences all over the world, really. But check find your local century 21 office and speak to them. And Greg, if anyone out there has questions about maybe what makes century 21 different from other firms. We didn’t really get into competition, because, you know, obviously, we just don’t have a limited amount of time. But if somebody does want to chat with somebody from Century 21, about what they offer, whether it’s as a franchise, ie somebody maybe to open an office, or maybe wants to join an office that’s already existing, what’s the best way they should reach out to you?

Greg Sexton 43:23
Absolutely. I have a email address that I’d like to give. It’s Peter dot Mosca at Century 20 one.net. And he is the aggregator of all the great emails that we receive and questions and comments. And He will direct those that to me, and if somebody has a direct question for me, DJ, I encourage them to go through Peter and I will respond personally, to engage in that conversation. And to your point. We are very proud of the SR 21 brand. And we welcome anybody that wants to take a look at the value proposition we’re offering. But most importantly, I love the fact that we’re able to do these podcasts like you who are out there serving our agents across lots of brands, and delivering that dream of homeownership. So thanks for all you’re doing.

D.J. Paris 44:05
Greg, thank you very much. And we will have a link to Peter who is works with Greg, we will have a link to Peters email address in the show notes of this episode. So don’t worry if you missed it. We will have it there. You could just click on it and talk to talk to someone from Century 21 about what they offer. Greg, we are so thankful to have you on the show, Greg’s got to run to his next meeting. He’s an important guy. So he’s got important stuff to do. But he took time out of his day to share with our audience and we’re really grateful you are the first of all we’ve been doing this five years you are the first CEO to actually have a big major brand to come on our show and even offer to come on our show. So we honor you for that. We thank you for that. On behalf of our audience we say thanks. On behalf of Greg and myself. We thank the audience for sticking around all the way to the end. And we ask everybody to just do two quick things. Number one, tell a friend think of one other realtor that could benefit from I’m hearing this great conversation. Oh, by the way, if you know anyone who works at one of the real GE brands, send them this to say, hey, here’s what I just heard of somebody from leadership talking and send them a link to our episode, you can always send them right over our website, which is keeping it real pod.com. And then also, please leave us a review whatever podcast app you might be listening on. Let us know what you think of the show. Give us a review. It’s how we continue to improve. So Greg, thank you so much. And the next time I’m in Nashville, I, you and I can go to the Ryman and ghosts or the grand old Opry and we can go see a show because I would absolutely love to do that.

Greg Sexton 45:32
Let’s do it. It was my honor to spend time with you today. All right. Thank

D.J. Paris 45:35
you, Greg. And we’ll see everyone on the next episode. Take care everybody

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