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Agent Attraction & Retention Secrets of Louisiana’s #1 Team Leader

 

It doesn’t matter how many agents join your team if it keeps on being a revolving door and agents are not successful in closing transactions. In this episode, Tammi Montgomery & Jason Williford discuss agent production, attraction and retention. Tammi and Jason share how you can give great value to the real estate community and attract agents to your team by keeping them happy. Tammi believes that money doesn’t move towards being the same as all of the other teams in your market; it moves towards being different, and choosing the right people is a key part of that money-moving process. Listen in as they provide us with dead giveaways that help you figure out whether or not people are the right fit for your team early in the hiring process.

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Agent Attraction & Retention Secrets Of Louisiana’s #1 Team Leader With Tammi Montgomery

How To Attract High-Quality Agents, Get Them To Stay In Longevity, Change Their Lives While Being Highly Profitable

I have a special guest on that is going to drop not even golden nuggets but diamond nuggets. Ms. Tammi Montgomery has been the number one real estate team in Louisiana since 2017. She got licensed in October 2010, has been in the business for years and generated in 2021 over $200 million in real estate volume with 428 units.

That’s a magnificent job. She does it running lean and mean with her team that has to be highly profitable. She has multiple revenue pillars that are built in her business that give her more profitability but also give her clients a lot more client experience. Without further ado, thanks for being on, Ms. Tammi. How are you doing?

I’m good, Jason. Thank you for having me.

I’m excited. Can you tell us a little bit more about Ms. Tammi Montgomery? You’re at your lake house. Congratulations on your purchase. I’ve seen that you also have a place in Dallas. Let us know a little bit about you.

Here’s a little professional information. I was licensed in October of 2010 when I was 45 years old. The story behind that was I had been retired from an advertising career. My husband said, “You don’t want to get your real estate license.” Like all the good wives and partners that you know, I did exactly what I wanted to do. I went out and got my real estate license.

Quickly, there’s the trajectory of me being a solo agent and then a team. I’ve always wanted a team because I love to help and elevate others. From there, fast forward from $23 million in my first year as a rookie to almost $201 million in 2021 with the fantastic environment that I operate in, which is my team, admin and staff.

Starting, that’s an amazing job of doing $23 million in year number one. If I was a betting man and I am sometimes, that marketing background of yours paid off pretty big from the beginning and still pays off in your business. If you don’t crack the code of client acquisition and know not only how to acquire new clients but also how do we make those clients lifelong clients, which I know you do an amazing job of. Would I be right or wrong in that assumption?

The key to this whole business is lifelong clients because my clients are my referral ambassadors. We have a great referral business and we do it all. We do online leads. I pay for leads. We do referrals and list a lot in our market, so our sign calls are great. We got a good thing going. I had a mindset I’m going to share with you. I’ve never spoken to anyone about this because this is a new thing. I had a mindset that I had five agents. That’s all we were going to do.

Number one, we were happy, fat and happy. You’ve heard people say. I was talking to a couple of people. You know how you have friends like you and me all around the United States. They were like Tammi, “You should scale your team because you can only get so much profit out of each agent. If you want more profits, you need more people.” I started thinking. Our goal for 2022 is to scale the team with more people and profit and expand to a South Louisiana location.

UREM 2 | Agent Attraction

Agent Attraction: With agents, money is the least motivating factor of all. They want leadership and value.

 

I do not doubt that you will be super successful at that and here’s why. Number one, you’re not just a marketer but a master marketer. Also, you’ve built systems and processes that are duplicable into another market. You and I have also had those conversations a time or two about you scaling into another market. The systems that you have that worked so great where you’re at would work as great in another market.

If you’re doing it right, you should be able to drop me in any market and I should be able to go. Plus, I have the help of a friend, Jason Williford and the fantastic book that he published. You talk about gold. There’s some good stuff in there. I would highly recommend that you follow Jason and get that book if you don’t already have it.

Thank you. What would you say 1, 2 or 3 of your top takeaways from the book were?

There’s a lot about marketing that aligns with my business principles and values so much because you come from such an area of contribution. We operate from an abundance mindset, not scarcity. There’s plenty for everybody. That’s your value too. I put that over onto my team members. I let them make money and give them opportunities. That’s one thing that team members or team leads sometimes stump their toe because they vet their leads, don’t give their team the good stuff and cherry-pick. I don’t cherry-pick. You get what you get.

I knew you would be amazing at this. Amazingly, you got $200 million in business. Wait until the readers know how many agents you have that do that. How many?

Five.

Are you out in the field too?

I do simple things. I don’t do any buyers. I do listings. Another one of my strategies is to build a brand so that I can continue to step back. We’re in the process of doing that. I am in production.

Being in the highest dollar-producing activities, I talk about this a good bit. The top three for an agent are, 1) A listing appointment, 2) Negotiating a contract, and 3) Prospecting. For a team leader, the top three activities are, 1) Strategy, 2) Marketing, and 3) Innovation. I’m tearing out from Tony Robbins’ Business Mastery playbook those three top things that an entrepreneur or the leader of a company should be doing. That’s per Tony Robbins. Do you know how many homes your average agent sells per year, approximate volume and what their net profit approximately is?

You're either committed, or you're not. You're either all in or you're not. Click To Tweet

They’re all fairly equal. Of our 428 units, 212 were listings. It’s almost 50/50. They service the majority of those 200-plus buyers and bring listings if they have an opportunity. Between the 5 of them, we’ve got anywhere from 24 units to about 50 units. If you want to talk about money, they are in the $150,000 to $250,000 a year.

A lot of the general public thinks that real estate agents are all rich. It’s like, “They’re all rich people and they make so much money,” but the facts are that is not the truth. The latest report that came out per NAR stated that for the average realtor, it was over $42,000 gross per year with over $5,000 in expenses, which brings the average net to around $38,000 per year. That’s realtors.

If we talk about all licensees, it’s probably around $20,000 to $25,000 net income. Your agents are netting $150,000 to $200,000 per year. You’ve changed some lives in there. Can you give an example of where one of your agents was before joining your team? Where were they in life? Was one a hairstylist that made $30,000 or $40,000 a year and then they’re doing $200,000 a year?

I have story after story but I’ll tell you two. One was a nurse making around $60,000 a year. She came to us and said, “I want to be a real estate agent.” We talked to her and she was a good fit. We had the value and leadership that we thought she needed. She made almost $200,000 in her second year. 2022 is her third year. She’s and her husband is happy. Another one was an agent at RE/MAX that was struggling.

We happened to sit by her at a company function. My husband was sitting between her and me. He whispered to me, “I like this girl. She’s smart. How much had she done?” I said, “She struggles.” He said, “Let’s see if she would even be interested in coming up under your wing and seeing what she can do.” We have quarterly income meetings and when we do, it’s tears of joy every time.

How did you take that struggling agent from mediocrity into greatness?

This is what I feel like agents need, especially on a team. I’m pro-team with new agents. They need to get their start so that their learning curve is not so steep. With a new agent, we want to make sure that they’re included. Believe it or not, agents don’t go to or leave brokerages. Money is the least motivating factor of all. They want leadership and value. That’s what we offer them from the technology to the training. When I talk about inclusion, I always tell people, “We love on our agents.”

If they’re sick, there’s the sick box. If it’s their birthday, there are flowers. If they’re struggling, we make sure that we bring them the Struggle Bus and get them off the Struggle Bus quickly. We’re transparent. There’s no special deal for you and a different one for the next one. Everybody has an opportunity to exhale. Here’s the most important thing. I don’t call it goals. I call it commitments because I have a commitment to them and they have a commitment to themselves, which some people call goals. I like commitment better. Our commitment to them is a success.

If they follow our onboarding, we give them the leads, technology and anything that they need. Most importantly, they love inclusion and recognition. They like to be recognized. We’re starting to recruit through our social media. I want people to know what my team agents do. I have a brand-new agent that joined the team and she has five deals in escrow. She has been an agent for years and never had five deals in escrow. Isn’t that crazy?

UREM 2 | Agent Attraction

Agent Attraction: The math doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter how many agents you attract if you don’t retain them.

 

Amazingly, it does not change their business. This changes people’s lives.

That’s what it’s all about. I did a Facebook post about Nicole, our new agent. Same girl, different environment. She needed some confidence, support, somebody to look her in the eye and tell her, “You can do this. Let me help you do this.”

The topic of this episode is agent attraction and retention. It doesn’t matter how many agents you attract if you don’t retain them. If I’m hearing you right, not only do you get agents but they stay with you. What do you think the key is in what you’re saying as far as loving on them and the unity part of them being a part of your team?

They like each other. They call me Mama T. I take care of them. It’s not just team agents. We’re all in this together. The retention is because we let them make money and they know that. Everything is transparent. I had a past client call. Anything over $1 million is a luxury in our market and there are not many of them. I had a $1.375 million buyer. It was Jennifer’s turn. I try to be as fair as I can about my calls. I called her and said, “You go show my friend this house.” $1.275 million down was what it sold for right before Christmas. They know the good is coming from what they do and from what we’re going to give them.

I know by your numbers, how much business your agents do and the culture that you have that you don’t just hire anyone. What are the standards that you have for someone to be on your team?

I’m a little different. I don’t care what their DISC is or their personality profile. A lot of people push that. I don’t care. I like to meet them and if I like them, they’re going to get a chance.

What qualities do you like?

When they come and interview me, the first thing is I like them to look at me and talk to me. I like the twinkle in their eye. I like to know, “Do you want to make more money? Do you want more time? I can help you with both.” I get them talking. At the end of that conversation, I’m like, “I liked Jason Williford. Let’s get him in here and see what he can do.” I have a little bit different philosophy. We don’t have several calls that they have to make. To me, a great real estate agent is not a call center employee. You can hire us some VAs for that.

Is it part of your team makeup that you have ISA?

You need to hustle in a good way. Hustle to make a difference in people's lives. Click To Tweet

We have one and we use him seasonally. We have never been in a seller’s market in my whole career until the last few years. Where we generally carry 110 listings, we’re down to about 35. He helps with drumming up listings. I don’t think that model works for us because that’s not where we are. We don’t cold call and circle bell. I know how to do all of it. I’ve done all of it

It’s because you’re a marketer. Attract the business versus take it.

We let someone do those cold calls and nurturing calls for us. We have a great CRM. I take care of them and check on them every day by text or phone call.

During the interviewing process, what are turn-offs to you?

It’s if they start telling me that they only want to work. They need off at 2:00 every day. They don’t want to work the weekends. I’ll meet them where they are to an extent because we only hire full-time agents. All of my agents have kids except one. They’re all at that age where they are self-sufficient, like 13, 14 or 15 years old. That’s helpful because little kids require a lot of mom and dad time. It’s not that kids are a turn-off. My children have supportive husbands. It’s pretty much a requirement that I speak to the husband to let them know what commitment their wife is about to make.

I implemented that as well. What I found out is their professional and personal development. That was years ago from doing a lot of interviews. When I’m interviewing, I want to not look after Jason’s best interests but the best interests of that person on the other side of the table. Quite honestly, when I’m done interviewing, only about 50% of them are going to be coming to the team.

The other 50% are going to say, “I appreciate it. This isn’t for me but I appreciate you being honest with me.” It’s not just them. It’s their family they’re having to support. There’s one issue that I had early on in interviewing because I do come from a strong sales background. Unintentionally and subconsciously, while interviewing, I go into sales mode about how great we are and what we can do for them versus a true interview digging in to see if they are going to be committed. You’re talking about being committed. You’re either committed or you’re not. You’re all in or you’re not.

I always tell them, “If you got on the team today and we fast forward a year later, what does that look like to you? What have you been doing for a year?” It’s easy for them to say, “I’ve made $150,000.” We do work for money.

You work your tail off in real estate. You are not given anything if you netted or even grossed $150,000 in real estate.

UREM 2 | Agent Attraction

Agent Attraction: When interviewing, look after the best interests of that person on the other side of the table.

 

You have worked. In my first year, we spoke about me doing $23 million. I have cool stories but the main thing was I had this favorite pair of black shoes. One day I’m sitting there with my feet propped up and my husband’s like, “You have holes in the bottom of your shoes.” I took them off. He put them in a bag and said, “I’m keeping this forever.” I’m like, “No. Those are my lucky black shoes.”

It’s not about your black shoes. It had more to do with the woman inside of those shoes.

I wore the soles off, especially when you hit the ground, “I wasn’t from here. I didn’t have the church, the high school and that sphere to come in.” I was brand-new, pulling them over at the country club when they let their dog out to pee saying, “You got a license plate from Illinois. What are you doing in Louisiana?” I was selling them houses.

I worked fourteen hours a day. When I got up, I went and hit the new construction neighborhoods. When I got home, I started putting them in a CRM. Truthfully, my CRM was a piece of paper and pen. That’s all I had time to do. It’s a funny thing because I have a great CRM but when I’m doing something like meeting with you, I have no trustee.

It’s what works best for you. Doing $23 million in volume in your first year, you got grit. You’re a hustler in a good way. You hustle to make a difference in people’s lives. Why do you feel the agents leave other teams? A lead is not a lead. An independent agent is not an independent agent. If someone says, “I have a team,” all teams are not the same either because you have some teams that may have 20 agents and do $8 million in volume and a decent price point market with a lot of turnover and churn. Why do you feel agents leave other teams?

I don’t think it’s the money. It’s leadership and value. You have to feel like you’re getting value because on a chain, you’re splitting money at some level, whatever your structure is. What do we give our agents? They have no expenses. We supply the transaction coordinator, put out their sign in a lockbox, the market for them and do everything. All they’re required to do is to list and sell. There’s value there.

It’s in the book. Abraham talks a lot about having upside leverage and as little as possible or no downside leverage. Downside leverage is expenses, risk and all of that stuff. The upside is the reward. There’s upside reward and downside risk. To be an agent on a team even though you’re paying back splits, you have a very little downside and all the upside. Like how you have your structure set up for your team, there’s not too much risk for the agents. Heaven forbid if something automatically crashed in the world, the economy or the market, they’re not left holding the bag.

If it’s out of our control, that’s one thing. Any other thing than that, then we’ve got their back and they know it. If I found out Jason moved from broker A to broker B, then I’m going to call him a month or so in and say, “I know you left. Would you tell me why? I want to know and make sure that we don’t duplicate.” It’s almost always rarely money. It’s usually acknowledgment and recognition. They say this over and over, “They weren’t doing anything for me.”

You have to check on people. People need to feel like they're a part of something bigger than themselves. Click To Tweet

Do you feel a lot of time it came back to communication and misunderstanding?

I do because some of the brokers that left would be more than willing to do anything for them but that line of communication was broken at some point. You got to check on people. People need to feel like they’re a part of something bigger than themselves. That’s important. A great structured real estate team got that inclusion. The girl that we brought on wouldn’t do $1 million a year. She will do over $1 million this month. She felt like she was out there floating. Why so many real estate agents fail in their first couple of years is because they don’t know what to do.

I know you’re like me in this sense of building and onboarding. You have an onboarding process. Going back to my processes, that was the standard. You’ve been licensed for 1 day or 30 years. Everyone went through our immersion boot camp. In that very 1st week, there are 44 hours of in-class training and then another 20 approximate hours after that was at home role-playing, drilling, practicing and rehearsing over and over. A lot of that was also incorporated in the 44 hours of in-class training. It’s not only that but there was an 84-day ramp period. Theoretically, the agents knew that they grew in their first year what it would take for them to do in 7 or 10 years by themselves.

That’s invaluable. Another important thing is your principles and values have to be clear. What our agents know is we expect 24 transactions a year out of a minimum. It’s not the first year. We will give anybody the first year. At the end of the second year, if they don’t meet those requirements and we have done our part to get them there, I’m not a bad person to stay, “You would be better off somewhere else.” They already know what’s coming because our principles and values are spelled out. We have an operating manual and everybody signs it. The clarity and confusion when agents leave, a lot of times, they’re also confused. They need a straight path and a lot of communication.

I had a friend that said this in a mastermind one time and I won’t forget it. It came from a book that he read. He said, “Expectations without an agreement is a dream.” In our relationship, we could have expectations of each other in our minds without any agreement. We could be expecting things from each other that we never agreed upon. The same thing goes back to you and your husband. It sounds like you have an amazing husband and relationship with each other.

It’s also going back to the team members. It sounds like, you have commitments that not only they’re making to themselves but they’re also making them to you. “Here’s what Tammi is going to be giving for you. Also, I need a commitment for you too that you’re going to do X, Y and Z.” One of those big KPIs for you are 24 deals a minimum per year, which in a team model is easily achievable by working a little bit, not 90 hours a week either.

Going into agent attraction, you’re looking to expand your team into a new market but also add additional agents to your team. Agent attraction is marketing. You’re not marketing for sellers and buyers. You’re marketing for new agents. What are some things that you have and strategies in place that you’re going to use for attracting agents? It’s proof of what you’ve already done.

I want them to look at our social media. Nicole has been with us for a short time and had five in escrow. I want them to feel like something is different. There is something there that I have to have a piece of. I want them to be from the outside in. My conversations when I call or message an agent is rarely about recruitment or even real estate for a while. I touch them 3 to 5 times on a personal level. I congratulate them and hope that I am giving something that’s missing so that they fall in love with my team and my leadership and think, “I got to go there and try this.”

UREM 2 | Agent Attraction

Agent Attraction: When agents leave, they’re often also confused and just need a straight path and a lot of communication.

 

I know you do and it sounds like you do. You do it because that’s who Tammi is. That’s the type of person that you are. You’re not operating in that mindset of scarcity. You operate in the mindset of abundance and you don’t have that fear of loss. “I’m training the competition by letting this other agent know this.” You’re truly trying to help people. That’s the key. When you deliver more value than they’re getting, they automatically start to gravitate towards you. We see on your social media the success that your agents are having. It’s flat out phenomenal that you can do over $200 million in 1 year with 6 agents total, you and 5 others.

It’s also from reaching out to agents at other brokerages, not for recruiting. Many of them have no intention of leaving. I still offer my help. They will come and speak to me, “Can I come and talk to you?” My door is always open. Agents from other brokerages that have never had any intention of coming over to my chain want some good advice like, “Where did you come from? How did you do it?” That’s another key. You have to give your gifts away. That’s so important because that elevates everybody.

What’s your number one gift?

It’s talking to people and making them feel included. I’m a strong listing agent. “Let me role play with you and see what’s going on if you’re struggling to have a listing.” I don’t care what company they’re with. If they want to speak to me, I give it away daily to my agents, even in the market. That’s a value of Tammi, not on a professional level but a personal level.

That’s who Tammi is. I’ve never been to Bossier City but if I was willing to bet and I went there, I would bet that not just the agents on your team and at RE/MAX but many of the agents in your marketplace, no matter what brokerage they work under have respect and love for you.

I would sure hope so because I sure do pour into all humans, not just on my team. I have two RE/MAX agents that left my team because they were doing so well. They wanted to go out on their own and we support that fully. I still talk to them 2 or 3 times a week. They still call me for guidance and share their wins. When you’ve got other agents that you have no benefit from calling you to share their wins, that’s when you know how they feel about you. They want me to know.

That’s from parenting to kids or pouring into people outside of a professional level and on a human level. It’s so important and gratifying to me. That’s why I get up every day and go to work and why I want to grow a team. For-profit is a great thing but it’s more for you than it is for me. My agent that left that had done so well in 2022 was a cop in Bossier City making $35,000 a year. When he left, he was making $250,000.

I would bet that the gentlemen never fathomed in his entire life that he would be making $250,000 net in a year. It’s net, not gross commission. There’s a huge difference. It’s easy for agents to get drunk off of growth. We see that a lot with teams. I’m sure you’ve seen that a lot in your years, “We sold X amount of volume this year and did Y amount of commission,” but you also know behind the scenes that there wasn’t much profit there.

Their profit loss was horrible. That’s another thing. We try to get our agents to invest and save. The profit is so important. My husband is huge into investments. We provide them with the tools. We’ve got a contractor that will help them. You mentioned different pillars of business. My husband owns a mortgage company. We’ve got our fingers in a lot of pieces of the pie but it’s also good. It’s profit-first. It doesn’t matter what you gross.

Expectation without an agreement is nothing but a dream. Click To Tweet

I applaud you. There’s a saying that I learned and it’s not mine, “Life gives to the givers and takes from the takers.” Without a doubt, you’re a tenth-degree black belt in giving. I see it all the time on social media, in speaking with you a couple of times and in this interview. Is there anything that you would like to leave us with as far as other team leaders that haven’t reached the pinnacle that you have yet that are struggling as team leaders? Is there any advice that you would like to give them?

Continue to recruit is number one. If they want to hopefully watch my business growth, we’re expanding that in South Louisiana. It’s a two-way street. We talk about communication and value. They give to me and I give to them. Remember, as humans, there’s a lot more to attraction than money because, at our core, we need other things outside. We have to have money to pay our bills. That’s a given. I’m talking on a different level. If you will operate from a spirit of abundance and not scarcity, people notice that. That attracts them to you and you should be able to grow. The sky is the limit.

Like with lead gen, it’s the same thing with agents. Not per marketing but being a strategic marketer, I would much rather attract agents, sellers and buyers than have to chase them. You’ve probably seen that old movie, Glengarry Glen Ross, where they say, “ABC, Always Be Closing.” I changed that to ABR, Always Be Recruiting. You have a rabbit on your salesforce. What’s your top agent doing in volume approximately in 2021? It’s the best of the best.

I have another Nicole who ended up with around 50 or 55 units. She’s close to $22 million to $23 million.

That’s a great year. That’s one agent looking at $22 million and 55 homes. That’s the difference if your top agent did $4 million and 12 homes. That’s an example that the rest of the past season. A crucial piece of all of it is having that figurative rabbit that’s proving your business model and profitability works. You are doing and have done an amazing job. I appreciate you being with us. When agents have some referrals that are available in Shreveport and Bossier City, how do they get in touch with you?

My website is CallTammi.com. That’s the easiest. You can Google Shreveport or Bossier Realtor and I should be at the top of the Google list. It’s Tammi Montgomery at RE/MAX. On Facebook, my personal is Tammi Montgomery but my team is Tammi Montgomery “Real Estate Experts”. If they want to connect with me online, we’re easy to find there too. I’m happy to share anything with them, like any systems that we use and anything like that. We would love to take care of their referrals.

Tammi, thank you so much.

You’re welcome.

I know you and your agents will have an amazing 2022.

Thank you. We will talk again soon.

Important Links:

 About Tammi Montgomery

#1 real estate team in Louisiana since 2017. Licensed in October 2010 and was a single agent until 2013. Started a team in late 2013, Me and 5 buyers agents 1 referral agent 1 admin/listing coordinator $200M plus in 2021 428 units. Servicing north Louisiana.

Shreveport – Bossier City la Total population right at 400k. Currently expanding my team locally and into south Louisiana. Married – 2 daughters and 2 grandbabies Spend my downtown at a house we own in Dallas.

 

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