With a whopping 700+% growth between 2014 and 2018, Keller Williams Realty Elite and it's leader Jennifer Arsenault are changing the game in real estate. Find out how they did it and what they plan for the future.
Tracey Velt, editor in chief of content for REAL Trends. REAL Trends 500 data shows that there are a handful of brokerage owners who consistently achieve high growth year after year.
These brokers were selected to be 2020 REAL Trends game changers. Today we're speaking with Jennifer Arsenault, vice president and principal broker of Keller Williams Realty Elite in Oklahoma to find out how they managed 726% growth between 2014 and 2018. Welcome, Jennifer.
Yeah, so tell me a little bit about the brokerage, when and how it got started, and when you came to Keller Williams and to your current position.
Okay. Yeah, so actually it's a pretty special story. We were one of the first regions outside of Texas. And Mo Anderson had met Gary Keller and heard his vision for Keller Williams, and was very excited about it.
She was talking with him as an educator, came back to Oklahoma and connected with two investors she had worked with before, shared the vision and the rest is history. We launched that office in 1992.
okay, great. So obviously achieving that type of growth over the past four years is incredible. So tell me a little bit about those years of mergers, acquisitions, and then how much of the growth was organic.
Okay. So I joined Keller Williams in 2007 as an agent. I had worked in property management previously for about nine years .and I was working out of a business center. So in 2014, we needed a branch office broker and I stepped forward to do that at the small business center.
And then in 2015, leaned in and moved over to our main office. And that's when I stepped in there. So I stepped in as the principal broker at first, really just to support the team leader that they had had there. She was from out of state and really didn't know the logistics of the Oklahoma contracts and things of that nature.
So really, when I think back to that time, what I found was that a lot of the associates were really great at converting leads and getting connected with the client. They were not competent to keep deals together, to perform negotiations at a high level, pricing, things of that nature.
That other leg of real estate. So I got hyper focused on increasing skill sets. So as far as mergers and acquisitions, we did fold in a couple of smaller independent firms. And really from each of those, there were three of them, we really just had one or two top producers that were there.
So really about 80% of the growth has been organic. It's been hyper focused around coaching, consulting, training each... Year over year, I personally have about 350 consultations with the agents in my own brokerage.
Okay, great. And how many offices and agents do you have?
All together, we have about 310 and we are in three different locations. We just launched a third location about two years ago.
Okay, great. So obviously, in every entrepreneur's life there's an aha moment. And you talked a little bit about that, where you decided to increase skillsets, but there's a time to change the way you're doing things in order to scale or grow or stop your current business plan and get creative. What was your aha moment?
I think that honestly it was whenever I went to a luncheon at the association as the new principal broker. And another broker introduced herself and asked where I was from. And when I said Keller Williams, she said, "I'm sorry." And that was a gut punch. And so no one was ever going to say that to me again.
So that was really what kick started the initiative. We're going to be the best of the best. And we're going to be known for the way we take care of our clients, for the culture that we have inside the office, for the way we give in the community and we're going to have fun.
And so it was really just rolling up my sleeves, and getting in the trenches and digging deep to find out what people knew and what they didn't know. And not making them feel badly about it. I often say that the brokerage is like real estate church.
It's the place that you can come and have fun, and have a potluck and you can cry. You can get some snacks from my office. If you have a question, Don't be afraid to ask it. If you messed up, don't be afraid to say you messed up. We'll figure it out together.
Okay, great. So let's talk a little more specifically about the growth. What are some of the things that you do that you think contribute to the growth in your office? And we can talk about recruiting, business practices and your culture.
First and foremost, I got hyper focused on the executive leadership team, the people that were around me, because they're who I work through. And so I spend a lot of time and have spent a lot of time working with them, understanding who they are, what they're about and what they want in life, and then helping them to achieve that.
And so it makes for a really great environment when they're really happy. And we've had such stability with the leadership team. And then we just went outwards from there, having a personal relationship, connecting with each and every one of the agents. And not just sitting down to visit, actually sitting down saying, what's the most important thing we need to talk about today?
And then looking at their goals, determining the gap, figuring some numbers, putting an action plan together, and asking them, what will you do, by when, and how will I know that you did that?
And then holding them accountable to it. And I found that people really craved that and needed it in a safe environment, where they didn't have to feel bad for... There's no shame. We're all doing the best we can. And then leveraging the leaders to also do the same thing. So we've got a great technology department, we have a great compliance department, we have a great marketing department.
And each of those people have one-on-ones with agents. I might formulate a plan and then say, okay, this is who's going to help you do that. I'm not the one to sit and go through and start show you where to click on what. And so I think by really [pouring 00:07:25] into the leadership team, it allowed them to really grow to their highest potential, which in turn allowed them to help the agents to grow.
Okay. And so it sounds like you have a lot of experience that you could offer other brokers. So what would some advice that you can offer to other brokers who are growing their businesses? What would that advice be?
I think they probably all have a lot of humility. And I think servant leadership takes a really high level of humility and serving others. And so that's been probably one of the most critical things, is that if I need to be right, it means that somebody else needs to be wrong.
So we really strive to not focus on righting wrong and really get into the trenches and find out what they know, and what they need to know and support them. I never want to make them wrong. I always want to help them learn how to do it right. So I often will say, I'm your offensive tackle. I'm your blind side, and so come to me. We're in this together.
And just really treating it like a true partnership. It certainly helps that I'm a noncompete. Literally, I've set my real estate business aside to help them build theirs. And so each and every one of us talk about that. I meet with my leadership team every single day. And if I'm not there, someone else is there leading the meetings. So they all meet every single day.
And then we have a longer meeting, just about 10, 15 minutes. We have a longer meeting once a week. I stack my day, my day is just what I would expect the agent's day to be. It's meeting with clients. And so we really work to lead by example in that.
Okay, great. Thank you so much for sharing all of your knowledge with REAL Trends and congratulations on being named a game changer.
Thank you so much, Tracey. It's a true honor.
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