June 23, 2023
Darnell Cox, of ReMax Realty Associates sat down and spoke to us about how he is leveraging technology to help his brokerage grow, how is getting his agents ready for this new real estate market, and more. Watch the full video below or read the transcript.
We're gonna do another installment of five questions. We've got, Darnell Cox, with us today. Darnell. I appreciate you, joining today. What is your background and tell us a bit about your business.
Darnell Cox with Remax Realty Associates in Champaign, Illinois. I was licensed realtor in 2010. I started off on a real estate team for about two years and 2012 went off on my own as an independent agent. Actually up until last year, it was just me solo, no assistant, no transaction coordinator, just kind of handling the market.
I, got up to the point of about 65 transactions per year, and then I started to help mentor some of the new realtors in our office. Shortly after that, probably two or three months after I got started sharing my experiences, dos and don'ts and how to get through the industry standards, our office was looking to replace the managing broker, and they asked me to take that job. So I'm in the process of becoming the managing broker for four offices, soon to be five. Now I am overseeing agents, have a full-time licensed assistant, and just kind of navigating the market.
1. As you look at your role and the current real estate market, what's the big hurdle that you're facing right now?
I think we're getting back to what I consider more of a normal market pre covid. I bought my first house in 2004 and interest rates were like six and a half percent, and I was dancing in the streets. Now they're six and a half - 7% and people are losing their minds. So, I think it's become more of a traditional market where you have to make those connections with people. You have to, build that relationship with them to kind of keep their market going.
It's not so much drop a sign in the yard and you have eight offers, it's slowed down some, but it's still a market. I think right now where sellers, unless they have to move, they're not, they don't wanna give up that 3% interest rate. It's forced some of those realtors who got in during the hot time during Covid to kind of readjust and get back to the basics and learn what it is to assist buyers and sellers and their housing needs.
2. What gets you excited about a market like this?
I probably won't do the numbers that I did, which is perfectly fine. I get to spend a little bit more time with my clients, create that bond, create that relationship with them.
I'm huge on doing business by referral, advertising only when you have to. So now it is just bonding with the clients and and having that time to spend with them. You can really get a feel for what the client needs and make sure it's the right fit for them. So, yeah, kinda excited about getting back to the basics.
3. Are there any unique or new strategies that you're looking at to grow your business?
We are, in training the new agents we're teaching them to build that relationship with them. We are getting back to those touch base strategies.
I haven't had a chance to buy that pizza for the move-in party or for the housewarming party. So I'm excited to get back to those too.
4. As you think about agent development, especially as you're taking over more offices, how do you think about agent growth and developing new agents
I think us that are in the industry, the people who are in the position to recruit and bring in new agents, we really just need to give them the pros and cons of it all. A lot of times I'm talking to agents about their expectation levels. People come in and I I give 'em the sunshine and give 'em some cloudy days as well. Some examples of those things so that way their expectations are set and we can prepare them for those challenges.
Another thing that I've been kind of teaching my agents is that the word sales has been kind of misconstrued. I don't look at myself as a salesman. I don't look at real estate agents as being salespeople. We're guides and I always tell my new agents coming in that our job is to guide them with the best information. The best knowledge, the best resources to sell their house or to buy their house. If you take care of your clients, they're gonna take care of you. So we, we are really implementing that into our new agents.
5. What's one of the most important things for you as you consider new technologies for real estate teams and brokerages?
Tech wasn't really in the forefront when I started but today's world with how fast things move, it's very important. You're gonna have five to seven seconds to get their attention. If you want to tell them something, and then if they're looking for a house or request information on a house, you have about five to seven seconds to give them that information back before they're moved on.
We're also doing a lot of video. We know that in today's world you have to be out there in the forefront. Out of sight, out of mind is huge. We're implementing, even with our older agents, more video. Put that video out there, don't think too much about it, just give some valuable information and a little bit of laughs if you can give that as well, to keep them in interested and keep you top of mind that when they're looking for something that has to do with real estate buying and selling, that they're gonna think of you first.
I searched for four months, about a year ago for a CRM to use, and I, I had been using a previous CRM and I was having to create my own spreadsheet of all the steps that happened in the process and how to keep them involved and keep myself on track, but also let my clients know what's coming next.
I tried a couple CRMs that were out there and then I ran across Shaker and it changed everything for me. I was spending probably two or three hours a week just updating my checklist so I can email it out to them and let them know where we're in the transaction and copying & pasting email templates. I wanted a platform with a client portal. Now I have my transactions outlined. My deal stages, my tasks within those deal stages, my clients can log on, they can see in our timeline where we are in that transaction. I don't get the dreaded question of, Hey, Darnell, what's next? It still enables me to have the number of transactions that I had while also being able to take on some extra duties.
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