From Scared to Success in Owning a Real Estate Brokerage

You don’t have to have everything figured out to take the first step on your journey to success.  Julie Jenkins, Broker/Owner of EXIT Realty Twin Bridges, Brokerage, with three locations in and around Sarnia, Ontario shares how trusting her gut and surrounding herself with the right systems and people paved her way to success as a business owner.

You were a successful agent. Why did you think you could succeed as a brokerage owner?

It’s such a scary thing, thinking about buying a brokerage. I wasn’t sure at first if I was going to succeed. Right away, I attended EXIT’s Broker/Owner Training and I realized that everything I needed to know was in that room; I just needed to follow the steps that EXIT’s leadership laid out before me. That completely sealed the deal for me, and I just jumped in.  

So why an EXIT Realty franchise?

Support and technology are so expensive nowadays to try to figure out on your own.  With EXIT, we have support and leadership who answer the phone.  We have a map and a plan laid out for us. We have the opportunity to earn single-level residual income.  Being able to collaborate with all the other franchisees across North America and listen to their success stories has been life changing.  I was astounded that other successful brokers willingly shared what events they were doing in their communities, how they were getting engagement with their agents, what trainings they were doing, and what their schedules looked like.  I didn’t have to try and figure things out on my own.  I took their advice and put my own twist on it to help me build my business the way I wanted it to be.

What development opportunities at EXIT do you take advantage of?

Going back to Broker/Owner Training has been huge.  <Broker/Owner Training is offered by EXIT Realty Corp. International at no cost to franchise leadership who can attend as often as they like to “sharpen the saw”.> I’ve been there at least once a year, most years. Owning a brokerage can be a lonely business, but you’re never alone with the support of EXIT’s regional owners and head office. I think if you were an independent, you would be all alone. There wouldn’t be anybody in the same position to talk to who would understand what you’re going through.

Also, I tell agents when I’m interviewing them that I walk the walk and talk the talk. If I’m telling them they should be in the room every time we’re doing a training, I need to do the same thing. So, if EXIT corporate provides something for me as a broker, then I do my very best to attend every single thing that’s offered to me because I can’t be a good leader for my people if I don’t learn from the experts.

What EXIT tools do you use to attract agents to your office?

I love that the career night presentation and collateral are all done for me. It’s not a good use of my time to be putting together a PowerPoint presentation. I love that we have separate Success Plans for agents new to the business and new to the brand that show our agents exactly what to do.  This strategic onboarding plan gets them up and running very, very quickly.

You’re developing some of the company’s top producing agents. How do you keep them?

The culture – people care about that more than you would ever expect. They want to know that somebody is going to be there when they need them. They like our open-door policy where they can just pop in and get a pep talk or a strategy to use in their business.  Our agents absolutely want brick and mortar.  I know that the virtual world works for a certain kind of a person, but they’re probably not the best fit for us.  At EXIT, we attract like minded people who thrive in a collaborative, team-based environment.  Although we can do most of our business on the road, people crave people and connections. I think there’s a certain amount of motivation that comes from being around other people who are doing things as well.

We’re very involved in the community with fundraisers, client appreciation events and participation at the Home Show. Our agents like the tools we provide like lead generation through the EXIT Ad Center. The amount of training we provide is unlike any other brokerage in our area; we’re consistently pouring into them. Also, we have an onsite coach. Ken Patterson is our Director of Growth and Development, and his job is to help them to be successful in whatever way success looks like for them.

What would you tell other women who are considering franchise ownership?

You don’t have to have everything figured out in order to say yes and I think that’s a stumbling block for a lot of people. If you’re looking at somebody who looks like they have it all together, it doesn’t mean they know everything. With EXIT, all the support is there for you. All the training is there for you. You can lean in, and you’ll find that help, support and guidance are there. Everything you need to be successful is there for you if you just have the courage to say yes.

As seen in Buzz Magazine. Reproduced with permission.

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