On September 3, 1996, twenty years ago, EXIT Realty opened for business with very little money and a great big goal; to become the largest and most productively successful real estate company in North America, bar none.
The dream of EXIT started 13 years earlier, in 1983. I was working with RE/MAX at the time, one of the largest companies in the business. I enjoyed my time with them and I wore their sweater proud. One day I remarked to my wife that the only way to outflank the desk fee system was if you could earn more than 100% and not pay any desk fees. What if there was a way? I went to bed that night still pondering the question and at 3:17 in the morning I jumped out of bed ran to the dining room. I had it! I had the ultimate solution for a lot of the problems in the real estate industry. With this idea, I could revolutionize the business.
How many people get a great idea and never pursue it? We, as human beings, are pure potential, pure inventiveness and creativity. If the idea comes to you, it comes to you for a reason. Everything you have ever accomplished began as a thought; this I know to be true. I have spent over half my life studying the human mind and how the proper use of this mechanism can lead to unlimited achievement, success and gratification. My experience working for Revlon taught me marketing. My experience on the floor of the stock exchange taught me that many people follow the followers instead of the leaders and to succeed one has to do something different. My experience in the insurance industry taught me the value of residual income. The recruiting records I broke at RE/MAX taught me how to get, keep and grow real estate professionals and build successful brokerages. Everything in my life built in a crescendo to 3:17 that morning when I had the answer to the question What If? I had 20 years of real estate brokerage management under my belt and I had been gifted with the concept of EXIT Realty. It was my responsibility to bring her to life.
After that day in April, 1983, I was on cloud nine but I had to keep EXIT a secret for 13 years before I was ready to bring her to market. During that time I laid the groundwork and invented the magical EXIT Formula of single-level residuals, our unique business model and the backbone of our company.
Searching for our name took six months and during that time it became obvious to me that the word I was looking for was strategically located above every corporate door in North America, namely EXIT. Everyone in life is looking for a way out and the word EXIT suggests safe passage. Ultimately this particular word is one of the most highly advertised words in the world and this carries with it tremendous subliminal effect; in fact, it’s hard not to notice the EXIT signs!
Then we needed a corporate logo and color. I designed a logo that would be reminiscent of the famous sign in Hollywood, rising proudly from the hill with the building identifying us with real estate. Studies show that the color teal is one of wisdom and evokes feelings of credibility and trustworthiness and everyone looks good in that color!
From the very beginning we took the position that the real estate salesperson is ultimately the main asset of the corporation who generates all the front line money that pays all the bills and creates all the profit for the broker. With this in mind we structured our teaching, training and coaching specifically to get the most and the best out of each one of them accordingly.
Countless hours were spent on conceptualizing and developing the EXIT Formula of single-level residuals. Based on the premise that if agents could get a piece of the action for assisting management in the recruiting process thereby helping to build the business, they would have a vested interest in the success of the company and a culture of mentorship would be created. In this way they could earn more than 100% of their own commissions and could enjoy the leverage of unlimited income potential. Add to that retirement and beneficiary benefits not to be found anywhere else in the entire industry and a financial future was created where one never existed before.
The ingenuity behind EXIT’s 10/7/5 Formula is that sponsoring bonuses are paid by EXIT Realty’s head office based on closed transactions. This was strategically designed to far outflank all multi-level marketing systems. Agents are able to sponsor other agents into EXIT offices continent-wide so in order to track single-level residuals past one’s demise, we had to create a system of centralized control. This gave birth to MEMO – Managing EXIT’s Momentum Online – the engine that runs the production, associate and sponsoring data for the corporation and is the brainchild of Chief Operating Officer, Erika Gileo.
Centralized control didn’t stop with residuals and MEMO; we also built into the Formula other ways to multiply everyone’s efforts. For example, a portion of every transaction fee collected by EXIT Realty Corp. International is pledged to our corporate charity and to-date, we’ve pledged $3 Million to Habitat for Humanity. We also set aside a portion to pay Administrative Bonuses to the support staff in our brokerage offices. These individuals don’t work for EXIT Realty Corp. International but we believe so strongly in their contribution to the running of a successful brokerage that we wanted thank them for their efforts.
I’ve learned over the years that there are some things I do very well and I stick to those things and delegate everything else. For most of my adult life I have studied the power of the Affirmation Principle and I affirm daily. In fact, all of the success we’ve achieved at EXIT was affirmed into being. We teach this principle at our Broker/Owner training and it is a part of the fabric of the company.
Twenty years of EXIT is only the beginning. Since our first 10% sponsoring bonus was paid in 1997, our first retirement residual in 1998 and our first beneficiary benefit in 2001, to-date we’ve paid out more than a third of a billion dollars in single-level residuals to our associates. From the sale of our first franchise in Canada in 1997 and our expansion into the U.S. in 1998, in the first 7 years of the 21st century we sold 1,600 EXIT franchises and this overwhelmingly demonstrated the popularity of this new system. Under the leadership of CEO, Tami Bonnell, we’re looking forward with great excitement to achieving our goal of 3,600 productively successful brokerages home to over 100,000 agents who love and respect the company. And together, arm-in-arm, we will pave a new yellow brick road into the future.