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REAL Trending Special Edition: Leading Through a Challenging Market

Aug 21, 2020 6:00:00 AM

Rob Roham, broker/owner of RealtyWeb.com

Personal contact with his 22 agents has made all the difference in retaining those agents. Find out what Roham is doing to lead through this challenging market filled with shutdowns, reopenings and market uncertainty.

 

Tracey Velt:

In this special edition of the REAL Trending podcast we're speaking to real estate leaders, on how their businesses are adapting to the new market, their keys to success and more. This is Tracey Velt, editor-in-chief of content for REAL Trends. Today we're speaking with Rob Roham, broker/owner of RealtyWeb.com. Welcome Rob.

Rob Roham:

Thank you Tracey. Good to be here.

Tracey Velt:

Yeah. So tell me a little bit about your brokerage and your geographic footprint.

Rob Roham:

Great great. Yes. I work in Silicon Valley, California. It's the high tech capital of the world. And we cover the entire Santa Clara County and the Peninsula area. So essentially from City of Gilroy all the way to San Mateo in the beautiful Silicon Valley area.

Tracey Velt:

Okay. And what is your brokerage model? Do you have offices or are you virtual?

Rob Roham:

We do have a office, but with the trend going online and the real estate world changing with the technology, we are virtual. We have everything online and available for clients and agents to work from the comfort of their living room.

Tracey Velt:

Okay great. So obviously the country is reopening in various phases post COVID-19. So tell me how was your business impacted and how are you doing today?

Rob Roham:

Yeah. Interestingly real estate market is doing really well over here. And there are a few factors that are contributing to a good market right now. First, the interest rates are at an all time low. God! It's under 3% which is crazy. Second, the stock market is doing exceptionally well and no one knows why.

And third, our inventory is very low. So I'm assuming that a lot of people are not comfortable having strangers walk through their home, and that may be the reason why they're not putting their homes on the market. So with the low inventory, low interest rates and a good stock market, our real estate market is doing really well.

Tracey Velt:

Okay great. I'm glad to hear that.

Rob Roham:

Yeah.

Tracey Velt:

So I'm sure that you've learned a lot of lessons adapting to a virtual market during COVID, but I'm sure you've likely learned some lessons along the way while building your brokerage as well. So what do you feel are your top two lessons that you've learned?

Rob Roham:

That's a good question Tracey. I think looking back there are couple of lessons that I've learned that are very important. First I think you have to treat people right. Like the old saying goes, "Do unto others what you want done to you." That's the golden rule. What goes around comes around. So doing good things will bring you good things back. So we have to learn to take care of our clients well and do good for them.

And I think the second lesson that I've learned is that to be good at anything requires hard work. I mean you can't be good at anything in life if you don't work hard at it. I say roll up your sleeve, get your mindset in order and go out and make it happen. Do the best that you can. And you know Tracey not all of us can do great things, but we can do small things in a great way. And that was a quote from Mother Teresa which still works.

Tracey Velt:

Yeah definitely. So how many agents do you have and when did you start the brokerage?

Rob Roham:

We have about 22 agents right now. We are particular in who we work with in terms of quality. And we started back in 2014. 2014 is when we opened up RealtyWeb.com. It's an online brokerage with one brick-and-mortar place. And it's the new trend in real estate.

Tracey Velt:

Yeah definitely. So let's talk about growing the brokerage. Did you kind of build through a strategic mix of organic growth and MNA or are you just growing organically? Tell me a little bit about your growth strategy.

Rob Roham:

Yeah that's a good question. We know the world is changing and ways of doing business is always changing. So we've learned to adapt to new ways of doing business. Technology has really changed how people do real estate these days. And we've learned to use online technology to reach more buyers, more sellers and more agents, and gain exposure over our competitors.

Our online marketing is heavily focused on reaching buyers and sellers and really networking among the real estate agents, because that's where everything is happening. So those are just a couple of ways that we get exposures for our business, for our clients and the route to grow the business and do more.

Tracey Velt:

Okay. So give me a little more specifics. When you say online marketing what specifically are you using and how?

Rob Roham:

Yeah that's a good question. Well using the internet all the top real estate sites like Zillow, Trulia, Redfin, those are sites that general public knows about and they are spending a lot of time there. So we want to have exposure on those sites with our listings, with our programs for agents, and to reach more contacts.

But really I think what it boils down to in terms of growing the business and recruiting more agents, it's just going back to the basics. Which is personal contact. It's still the best way to meet, greet and connect with agents. I mean this is still a people's business. And to grow a brokerage agents want to know that you care and you will do what it takes to help them succeed. And that's exactly what we do.

Tracey Velt:

Okay.

Rob Roham:

So making those contacts is very important.

Tracey Velt:

And have you found that a lot of your recruiting has gone virtual because of the pandemic?

Rob Roham:

Yes. A lot of our personal contact per se is virtual because the pandemic is there. Everyone is worried. For safety of everyone we want to do it that way. So still getting online on a camera face-to-face with agents, that's what counts. Having that face-to-face meeting online these days and showing that you care.

Because ultimately people don't care what you know unless they know that you care. And that's a quote from Theodore Roosevelt and that's the essence of our business. Is working with agents, with clients and taking good care of them.

Tracey Velt:

Okay. And so what do you think is your greatest challenge in the business right now?

Rob Roham:

Well, greatest challenge is... There are really three main areas of concentration in the real estate brokerage business. It's recruit and retain agents by providing the best tools and work environment. Number two is finding people who want to buy and sell to win their trust.

And number three is providing unparalleled service to clients so that they can recommend the store to their friends. So essentially is finding the agents, helping them do business by providing them leads and clientele, and doing a great job for the clients so that we can get repeat and referral business. So that our wheels can continue to turn.

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Tracey Velt:

Okay.

Rob Roham:

That's always been the challenge.

Tracey Velt:

Yeah definitely. So you mentioned that you're very selective in what agents you recruit. So tell me a little bit about your philosophy. What are you doing to kind of recruit and then retain these agents?

Rob Roham:

Yes good question. Well we want quality people to work at our brokerage. Quality agents create the quality image for our company. So knowing people/agents that have integrity and are willing to work hard to take care of their clients, is the number one factor behind our philosophy. So making sure that we get good people that can do a good job and are willing to work hard, is the key factor that we go after all the time.

Tracey Velt:

And how do you find that? Are there specific questions you ask or things that you research? How do you know someone is a good fit for your brokerage?

Rob Roham:

Yeah. Great question. Well I think after being in the business for over 30 years and dealing with people on a daily basis, you get to learn about people. Of course we have a series of questions that we ask. Try to find out more about their personality and their style of doing business. But it just comes from a lot of experience dealing with people and knowing what to look for, when you sit in front of someone an agent who wants to join your company. So it's not a easy task.

And we don't always make the right call. But for the most part we find the right people. And just by do having a lot of exposure, a lot of prospecting actually what it boils down to. If you're always prospecting for new clients or new agents in this case, you have a flow of leads of potential candidates that are available to talk to. So if you have enough leads to choose from, you can make better choices and you're not desperate for just getting anybody. That's the key.

Tracey Velt:

You're right. And do you look for experienced agents or new agents? What are you... What-

Rob Roham:

Yeah, generally we go after experienced agents who've been in the business for a while and know what they're doing. Occasionally we'll take a couple of younger guys/girls who are new or inexperienced. And if they're willing to work hard and willing to learn, then we can bring them in and teach them the ropes. But generally speaking after experienced agents and people who know how to run the business.

Tracey Velt:

Okay. So my final question is just where do you see the most opportunity in real estate brokerage in the coming year?

Rob Roham:

Good question. I think the most opportunity is going to be working online and going after agents from the bigger companies. Agents who work in big companies are somewhat not satisfied with a heavy split going to the house, and not getting enough attention or support from their office broker manager at times that they need it. So personal service, personal coaching, mentoring, and just caring for the agents, being available for them is the key to getting good agents.

And the opportunity lies with all these giant companies that are coming in with millions of dollars in backing, and buying everybody out and just running everything on numbers. So we want to go after those situation, get agents who want more personal service and support and provide that for them. That's where the opportunity lies.

Tracey Velt:

Okay. Well Rob thank you so much for sharing your expertise with REAL Trends on our podcast. We really appreciate your time and that you were able to join us today.

Rob Roham:

Sure. Sounds great. Thank you for having me Tracey. It's been great.

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