With an average transaction count per agent in 2O22 of more than 25 ends, Kristen Trembinski leads a powerhouse brokerage that has enjoyed #1 market share in Sault Ste. Marie since 2O17. Now Kristen is rebranding EXIT Realty Lake Superior and expanding her proven recipe for success across northern Ontario as EXIT Realty True North, Brokerage.
“From the time my older brother started kindergarten, my Mom jokes that I had my backpack equipped with paper and pencils ready and determined to go to work!” remembers Kristen. With a mind for hard work and a heart for people forged at an early age, Kristen bought the brokerage from her father in 2O12 and plunged into a male-dominated marketplace. “It was shortly after my 3Oth birthday that I took over the brokerage. I jumped right in and recognized what needed to be done. Everything I learned from EXIT’s Founder and Chairman, Steve Morris, about the affirmation principle helped me because I put my vision in place and grew from an office of about 14 agents to more than 47. I attribute a lot of our growth to the genuineness I bring to the table as a woman in leadership. I’m authentic and I don’t make promises I can’t keep,” she says.
THE BEST OF BOTH WORLDS
Owning her own franchise has provided a platform for Kristen to utilize EXIT’s superior business model, systems and technology while building a holistic environment to nurture her agents both personally and professionally. “I put in place a lot of compassion and empathy in terms of mental, emotional, physical and business health. Too often in the real estate world we’re driven to achieve such high levels of success at the detrimental expense of our health, well-being and family life. At our company, we’ve embraced personal development and the understanding that in order to be whole, we have to take care of all aspects of ourselves.”
The needs of an agent who closes a deal or two per year are very different than one closing dozens or even hundreds of transactions. “We’ve implemented all kinds of training that historically in brokerage you don’t necessarily see, for example, financial planning. When you’re getting into real estate as an agent, you’re running your own business within the business and not everyone can manage money. And so, in terms of taxes and overall financial planning we cooperate with financial planners, accountants and lawyers locally who work individually and in groups with our agents to bring knowledge to them in terms of how to operate their personal real estate corporations, handle write-offs and so on. We do business planning with the agents yearly with quarterly check ins. We’ve structured things for the agents so they’re set up for success as long as they participate and show up.”
This “best of both worlds” opportunity for growth is possible because Kristen has the backing and structure of a strong brand which provides not only the proven track record of a franchise, but also the autonomy for her to do things her own way as a woman in ownership.
“When you’re taking on leadership and investing all you have into a belief of success, it can be a very scary and lonely place for some people. It never was once for me. I was supported,” she says. “From a structural standpoint and systematizing the operation to any questions I have, EXIT’s leadership and franchise support have been there for me every step of the way. I have always based my business on mimicking the structure at EXIT’s head office and I’ve learned from the best.”
GROWING INTO THE FUTURE
A holistic approach to leadership will play a key role in EXIT Realty True North’s expansion which at this writing includes 67 agents in six locations and counting.
“Over the past few years, many agents’ businesses went from zero to 1OO overnight and they were operating at a level that no one ever imagined,” she says. “We’ve got a very sizable group of strong people who know how to produce and be successful, but they won’t book an hour for a massage. Many are not taking care of themselves to the extent that they should.”
Kristen’s operation emphasizes that there’s more to life than the next transaction so she and her partner, Jamie Coccimiglio, recently added someone to their team who will work with the agents across all of their offices on building and maintaining the principles of a well-rounded life to help prevent burnout.
“I’m trying to be mindful of what people need from the standpoint of the importance of meditation, taking the time for themselves and developing a manageable routine in their day because if you don’t have your health, you really don’t have anything,” she explains.
Kristen muses on the opportunities for franchise ownership for women at EXIT, saying, “Owning brokerages is certainly not for everyone, but I can honestly say there’s nothing more fulfilling than being able to provide value and put support systems in place for agents that they never thought possible, setting them up to where they’re bound for success. Being a woman in franchise ownership with EXIT has helped me believe in myself now more than ever.”
As seen in Buzz Magazine. Reproduced with permission.