The 40 agents of Exit Strategy Realty – the No. 1 Exit Realty office in Illinois in production and agent count – work out of a tech-savvy, loft-like office, following a “work hard, play hard” philosophy that emphasizes enjoyment, entertainment and productivity as they build their business, says Broker and Owner Nick Libert.
“We are a fun group and we like to enjoy ourselves as we build our business,” says Libert.“From the music pumped in daily to our flat-screen cable TV, we like to give our agents a bit of entertainment as they prospect.”
A big part of the office’s success has been its in-house short sale negotiating team, a group that Libert says is “taking the market by storm.” Bypassing the standard, time-consuming process of dealing with banks, Exit’s short sale team instead takes a short sale listing, markets it to get a solid purchase contract and then turns the file over to their processors.
“(Our system) allows the agent to maximize their return on invested time, and they get their full commission without the intense maintenance a short sale listing requires at other firms,” Libert says.
Social media and technology, Libert says, have been similarly influential for Exit Strategy Realty.
“Social media has completely changed our industry,” Libert says. “Thirteen years ago, when I first became licensed, making every neighborhood event was key. Now, visibility is as much a Facebook post or tweet as an in-person event.”
So while real estate will forever remain a relationship-based business, Libert says the medium upon which agents build their relationships will now function primarily on the Internet, via such outlets as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, ActiveRain and YouTube. In addition, Libert’s agents use Exit Realty’s E-Listings system and custom squeeze pages to market their listings, along with the Exit PromoShop CMS system to engage their database.
A graduate of the Valparaiso University School of Law, where he studied contracts, negotiations and real estate transactions, Libert has been buying, selling and investing in real estate since 1998. Since purchasing his Exit Realty franchise in 2009, he has grown it from eight agents to more than 40, and production has increased sixfold.
As his office’s broker, Libert says he distinguishes himself by functioning as a “business incubator” as much as a broker.
“I truly believe that my role is to build businesses with each of my agents,” Libert says. “I lead by example and am learning-based, so I can share with my agents at every possible opportunity.”
To build that business, Libert’s office seeks experienced, tech-savvy agents who are eager to work with other top-producing professionals. Though Libert looks for agents who are forward thinking, he does not expect them to be all-knowing.
“We are a training and consulting company as much as a brokerage,” Libert says. “I like to see agents in the office daily, and as we have grown, we have taken time to ensure each recruit is a good fit for our team.”
A big way that his office assists agents, Libert says, is through marketing. A full-time marketing coordinator builds custom websites, fliers, QR codes and text messaging response systems, among other strategies, for each listing, while the office constructs custom Facebook pages, YouTube channels and blogs for each agent. And finally, the office uses PromoShop, a powerful CMS tool that builds monthly e-newsletters, print newsletters, holiday mailings and more. It’s all part of letting agents do what they do best, Libert says.
Years as broker/owner: Seven
Years in real estate: 13
Number of full-time agents: 40