Ronnie Glomb acquired a taste for the customer service industry after building out a client relationship management and scheduling platform for his appliance installation business.
“We invented the appliance installation business,” he said. “If you were to go to any appliance store today, you go in, buy the appliance and then somebody comes out and installs it for you. We were the first people in New Jersey [to build] a business around that. We were in every major big box or chain store. We went from putting little pins on a map and routing our trucks out to taking all the data we were collecting from the clients, phone numbers, addresses, names, and putting things into a computer system. Clients were then able to make appointments through the system, and we had their information stored so we could sell the warranties or reach out when their appliance reached a certain age.”
Eventually, Glomb decided to leverage the customer management platform he created in the mortgage industry, which soon led him to real estate.
“It was a time in real estate, where if you asked buyers or sellers what they didn’t like about real estate, they would tell you the communication was a problem,” Glomb said.
Glomb’s commitment to customer service and his ability to leverage technology to manage his clients has paved the way for him to become the No. 45 individual agent by transaction sides in the 2022 RealTrends The Thousand rankings. In 2021, Glomb closed 242 transaction sides for a total of $137.83 million in sales volume.
RealTrends recently caught up with Glomb to discuss the early days of the internet in real estate and the importance of knowing your value proposition.
This interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.
Brooklee Han: Can you tell me a bit about how you got into real estate?
Ronnie Glomb: I was always involved in the customer service industry. We developed our own systems for customer acquisition, customer nurturing and managing client relationships. That led me into the mortgage business.
It was a time when you either did mortgage or real estate. We started applying our philosophy of customer service and we wondered, why doesn’t a customer deal with just one person? We were referring them over to real estate agents. We wanted to make it more of a seamless transaction, where everything is in one place. It took off from there.
BH: What were some of the key things you did as your built out your business that you feel really paid off?
Glomb: Communication is key in this industry and frequently I would hear from people that they were frustrated by the lack of follow-up. Then, your typical real estate professional would walk around with a daily planner and notebook full of contacts. We had PalmPilots that we used to keep track of our client’s progress.
Also, in our appliance business, people were always amazed that we called to confirm appointments and then showed up on time, I quickly realized that people want to talk to you, and they want you to be accountable.
BH: Generating leads is something a lot of new agents struggle with. How did you go about getting leads when you first started out and how did you try to leverage your technology to help you?
Glomb: I don’t believe your value is based off of the amount of money you make. I think your value comes from the number of people you can help. As an industry professional, the more people you help, the more practice you get and the better you get at your job.
But what I think is key, is having a completely different value proposition, a completely different angle than everybody else. As I said, when I started, the internet was just becoming more of a thing. I have a friend who went to school for graphic design, and he went on to work for Wired magazine, and he told me to go out and buy domain names. We had no idea what these things were, but we bought all the names that we could think of that were real estate related.
When everyone started to get online, if they wanted to be on a real estate-related site, they had to be with my company. I had something that nobody else had, but I had to figure out how to market it and to get people to see the value in it.
Today, I own thousands of domain names and it allows me to do hyper-local marketing. I found a niche and used that niche to market myself and be different from everyone else in the industry.
BH: What do you feel your value propositions is?
Glomb: We are the only company out there that is really engrossed in the technology and systems, and we know how to apply it. We know what marketing systems are going to work and what aren’t and that enables us to quickly pivot should something come up tomorrow that change the real estate industry.
BH: You are now one of the top-performing agents in your state. To what do you credit this success?
Glomb: Nobody works hard than I do. It is like an iceberg; you see what is out of the water, but you don’t always know what is below. I set up my day before anybody else gets up, [sending] emails, planning meetings, and figuring out who I am going to call. And these aren’t cold calls, these are check-ins with past clients and networking with different people.
I always say that agents are like ghosts. They’re just about everywhere you go, but you might not always see them. When I’m out, I wear a shirt that has the name of my brokerage on it or is Realtor branded letting people know that I am an agent.
BH: What are some of the biggest challenges you have faced in your career?
Glomb: I now sell real estate throughout New Jersey, but each time I go into a new area, or people ask me questions about a part of the state that I’ve never been to, I feel like I’m a new agent again. Even if you are listing in an area, if is important to do your research and know what things are like [in that area].
Everyone has a real estate license. They are coming out by the hundreds every month, but there is not a lot of inventory, so it comes down to relationships and word of mouth and really providing over the top customer services for people.
BH: How had the industry evolved since you started out?
Glomb: The amount of information available to buyers is changing things. One of the biggest changes right now is that buyers don’t [always] see the value in buyer’s agency anymore because of the amount of information that is available to them.
It almost makes the buyer’s agent irrelevant. Buyers are seeing their agents more as an adversary, they don’t trust buyer’s agents anymore and they don’t see why the buyer’s agents should earn their commission. So, I think in the next 12 months or so, you are going to see buyers starting to negotiate the buy-side commission because, more often than not, the buyers are the ones who find the property.
BH: What are you doing to prepare for this shift you feel is coming?
Glomb: I am perfectly fine with what is coming, and I don’t want to fight this trend, but we have be changing some of the ways we do business because the buyers we do have. We want them to have a great experience and to refer us to everybody.
We are willing to offer buyer rebates or negotiate our commission. Of course, I am still here to turn a profit, I am a business, but at the end of the day I would rather have 300 customers a year than have 50 but have a higher commission rate.
BH: What is something that you wish you could change about real estate?
Glomb: I think access to homes should change. In New Jersey we have 11 MLSs, and if you are a member of one, that doesn’t mean you have access to the lockboxes or houses if they are listed on another. So, if I were to change things tomorrow, if you were a member of an MLS, you would have access to all of the lockboxes in the state.
BH: What do you enjoy most about real estate?
Glomb: It is the biggest transaction of someone’s life and it can be an emotional rollercoaster and managing the emotional side of things and those expectations are two of the hardest things in this business, but that is that part I enjoy. It is all kind of like a puzzle that you have to figure out.
BH: Why do you feel real estate is a good career option for someone?
Glomb: Real estate is a good career to get into because from an investment standpoint, it provides stability. Plus, there is so much more to the industry than selling houses. There are a lot of opportunities out there.
BH: What is your best piece of advice for new agents starting out?
Glomb: Surround yourself with people that are where you want to be five years from now. Network yourself with those people and write a business plan and write a value proposition that is different from everyone else. But most importantly, network, talk to people, have conversations everyday.