Amy Stockberger believes that her eponymous “teamerage” and the agents who hang their license with her, should be there for their customers throughout their entire homeownership experience. She calls it her lifetime lead strategy.
“We are [customer] focused,” she said. “There are so many seasons of homeownership and our [customers], who know and like us, want our opinions on different parts of that experience. So, we’ve created a good group of partners — everything from HVAC to electricians, lawn care, window cleaners, home warranty companies — all the people they are going to need throughout those stages.”
Stockberger’s strategy has clearly paid off. In 2021, Stockberger’s Sioux Falls, South Dakota-based team, The Amy Stockberger Team, completed 558 transaction sides for a total sales volume of $170.39 million, making the team the No. 23 ranked large team by transaction sides in the U.S., according to the 2022 RealTrends + Tom Ferry The Thousand rankings.
RealTrends recently caught up with Stockberger to discuss her lifetime lead strategy and
the importance of team culture.
This interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.
Brooklee Han: Can you tell me a bit about how you ended up in real estate?
Amy Stockberger: I came into real estate right out of college. Growing up my plan was always to become and attorney, but the end of my college days it just didn’t feel like that was my path.
My dad was at Coldwell Banker at the time, and he did the best thing he could for me, which was pay me less than $25,000 a year and put in in a dark, damp back office and say sink or swim.
So, I learned the industry from the ground up, and now I’ve been in the business for 22 years. I got my license in 2002 and started working with buyers. At that time, teams weren’t really a thing.
In 2004 or so, I decided to start a team and my dad did the second best thing he could have done for me — his oldest child who always wanted to please — he told me that it was too scary and that there was no way I cam make it in the intense market.
That was the fuel I needed. I hired my first buyer’s agent, who was my sister, and then we hired our first assistant. We ran anywhere between 15 and 25 open houses a weekend back then. My biggest advertising spend was an ad in the local newspaper.
Eventually my husband joined me and in 2009, we started to build the team. Now we are a “teamerage” with our own brokerage operation.
BH: Can you tell me a bit about the makeup of your team?
Stockberger: In 2021, we had 15 selling agents and 11 staff. Right now, we have 22 agents and a few others who are still in school, so they’re not onboarded yet. I also have 13 employees, two of which are in the Philippines. I have a transition team, a listing coordination team and a dedicated inside sales department and an outside sales department, as well as a marketing department.
BH: How is your team structured?
Stockberger: Everyone does their own thing, and everyone has different lead sources. I have some agents who [work with] first-time homebuyers. It isn’t all they do, but it’s their niche. All of my agents have to be part of a functioning leads group and that can be any organization that they are interested in and can network through. It’s great because the agents can work on their market share and build rapport.
BH: As you’ve built your team, what are some of the biggest challenges you have faced?
Stockberger: My motto: We don’t lose, we learn. We pivot. I think back to when I started, and I didn’t know so many things. I started coaching back in 2013, and that was a big help for me. Then in 2015, I created our VIP Club. because I wanted to have that lifetime home support model for my customers. That was a real game changer for us.
Our VIP clients have access to moving trucks and vans to use for free. We also have a party shed attached to our building that has party supplies — banquet tables and chairs, bouncy houses and cotton candy and fondue machines — for free.
We also have tools, like commercial grade sprayers and high tree branch trimmers that they can borrow. That helped up boost our repeat business. I think over 70% of our business is referral or repeat [customers]. This helps our new agents. In their first two years, about 65% of their business is [comprised of] company-fed leads and that helps them build their own book of business.
BH: How has being part of a team changed your business?
Stockberger: In every way possible. I think I was really scared when we first started to grow our team. I didn’t want to alter too much. We have a really fun culture and there is a strong family approach. It’s a small market, and we wanted to make sure we were getting the right people who wanted to do things for the right reasons.
BH: How has creating your own team brokerage helped you maintain that culture you wanted to protect?
Stockberger: It is a game changer. We were basically our own entity before that, but now we have our freedom to do what we want. If I want to fly a plane with a banner behind advertising us; I can. Or, if I want to drive our billboard truck around advertising my listings, I don’t have to run it by someone. Our agents love that freedom.
BH: Teams have become more popular over the past several years. Why do you think that is?
Stockberger: [Buying a house is] a huge transaction in people’s lives, and they need and tons of support. A team can provide so much more than a single agent. I can’t imagine being a single agent getting through this industry, especially now as the market is shifting and changing.
When you get your real estate license, they don’t teach you anything about running a business or making sure your customer’s needs are met. The training and support you get in a team environment is just so beautiful. My 18-year-old son has been an unofficial employee for us, and he just got his real estate license. It’s nice to see all of the support he has as he starts out.
BH: Why do you feel real estate is a good career option for someone?
Stockberger: I don’t think it’s for everyone. I think building wealth through real estate is one of the most fun things to help people do. But if you put your head down and do the work and stay within a service-minded model, you can grow however much you want.
But you have to be dedicated to self-development. You need to be a learner for life, and you need to know what is going on in our industry and all the other industries that affect ours. But if you take care of your clients everything else will fall into place.