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REAL Trends Game Changer: Robert Lyszczarz, President and co-owner of RE/MAX Select Group in New Jersey

May 13, 2020 6:00:00 AM

Robert Lyszczarz, President and co-owner of RE/MAX Select Group in New Jersey.

Tracey Velt:

This is Tracey Velt, editor and 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 Robert Lyszczarz, President and co-owner of RE/MAX Select Group in New Jersey to find out how they managed almost 347% growth between 2014 and 2018. Welcome, Robert.

Robert Lyszczarz:

Welcome. I'm pleased to be here.

Tracey Velt:

Yeah. Great. So we'll start out with the easy question and that is tell me a little bit about your brokerage, when and how it got started?

Robert Lyszczarz:

So I started my company in 1997 when I was in the business as a mortgage lender. At the time, I was working on the mortgage lending side with growth-minded real estate agents at several competitors to a RE/MAX in the market I was in. At the time, it seemed like most of those agents were planning their move or their promotion to a local RE/MAX when they hit about $5 million in sales volume or were consistently closing about 18 units a year.

Robert Lyszczarz:

At the onset, when I purchased the office, I viewed my role more as a landlord in a shared office environment where I was just striving to provide a healthy environment that would empower top producers to do their business successfully and independently. It wasn't until the great recession that I was forced to reinvent myself. At this time, I had over 20 offices and I was engaged by the agents of all different productivity levels to help them navigate through that unprecedented market.

Robert Lyszczarz:

This recession or market shift was in retrospect a blessing in disguise to me as it forced me to redefine my position, commitment, and my role in the organization as a leader for the agents that had been with me at that point for 10 or 11 years.

Tracey Velt:

Okay, great. So yeah, obviously achieving that type of growth over the past four years is incredible. So tell me a little bit about those years. Mergers, acquisitions, how much of that growth was organic?

Robert Lyszczarz:

So five years ago, we started out with... Or four years ago, we started out with five offices and our sole focus was on how to provide additional growth opportunities for our agents. All of our initial growth was organic with our existing agents driving the growth by increasing their sales volume and helping us to grow the business by word of mouth.

Robert Lyszczarz:

Then we made a few key hires and these helped us to take our growth initiatives to a new level. For example, in our flagship office, my key hire and broker of record, Jennifer [inaudible 00:03:08] was originally tasked to bring on a net gain of 12 agents in her first year. And with the synergy that we had together and the passion for helping others, we were able to grow the office by over 40 in one year, adding tremendous value to the agents.

Robert Lyszczarz:

And at this point, we are now the top office in our market and number five in the entire MLS of more than a thousand offices. So over the past two years, we've added five additional offices to our network with three of them being organic and two of them acquisitions of existing RE/MAX offices.

Robert Lyszczarz:

In addition to these offices, we've added a new commercial division. RE/MAX Select Group and an office in Florida along with a couple of partnerships which were not included in the numbers that we discussed earlier.

Tracey Velt:

Okay. So how many offices and agents do you have right now?

Robert Lyszczarz:

So all combined, we have 15 operating offices and approximately 450 agents.

Tracey Velt:

Okay, great. So obviously in every entrepreneur's life there's an aha moment. The moment when you realized you needed to change the way you were doing things in order to scale and grow or stop doing something and get creative. What was your aha moment?

Robert Lyszczarz:

My aha moment was redefining the business that I was in and instead of looking at myself as being in the real estate business, which was a passion of mine to get into lending and into the brokerage business, I redefined myself as being in the real estate agent business and identified myself as a business that builds businesses.

Robert Lyszczarz:

As a coach and a leader, I'm never afraid to step up into the game and ask for advice and suggestions from leadership and top agents. I never ask my agents to do things that I would not be uncomfortable doing myself. The agents know that my team and I are constantly accessible and we personally get out and do the things that help drive their business. Whether it would be door knocking, cold calling, running masterminds. Today I just finished a mastermind standing room only in our Fort Lee office and it was just an incredible energy that exists there. On Fridays, to give access to the offices that I can't be in, we even broadcast it on Facebook Live.

Robert Lyszczarz:

It's not just about being creative, but also about coming from value and caring and helping. We try new things and fortunately most of them work out, or I should say more of them work out than fail. But it's that creative energy that helps us distinguish ourself in the marketplace. The best ideas come from our brainstorming and not being afraid to try something and fail that hasn't been done before. But we always try to keep our fundamentals in check and keep the agents grounded on what we know will help them have a sustainable and successful career.

Tracey Velt:

Okay, great. So let's talk specifics about your growth. What did you and your leadership do to create such growth? Let's talk a little bit about recruiting, your business practices, and your culture. I know you mentioned it a little bit, but let's go into some more detail about that.

Robert Lyszczarz:

So I think one of the key distinctions of our organization is at RE/MAX we have a culture of abundance and we're always looking to share ideas and grow. We feel if you feel like you've stopped growing, that it's a very dangerous place to be. We're an agent centric company and we provide opportunities to our agents, much like a successful team would do for its team members. And we really try to balance providing opportunities with avoiding an entitlement mindset, which I feel is dangerous to an organization's culture. Our culture embraces abundance, growth mindset, we're always looking to add or build learning-based agents. We're always trying to add value, hold agents accountable, all in an effort to better serve our clients and the community at the highest level.

Robert Lyszczarz:

Our leadership team, from myself to Jennifer and all the managers, we're committed to helping each of our agents build their own business within our business. To accomplish this, we look to model in the value proposition of mega teams in the local and national marketplace and emulate the value they provide in conjunction with the brand awareness that our organization has leads, training, accountability, all of this to ensure consistent production. Regardless of the external market force, regardless of the external forces or market conditions, we believe that our agents are positioned to grow their business in any market.

Robert Lyszczarz:

It's my belief that when the market shifts or changes adversely, we will be the place for agents to go. As agents look to maintain or grow their income, they will be forced to abandon the status quo and make these changes. We like to say it's not the split that you're on, but the value and what your income opportunities within a broker that will really matter when the change happens.

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Tracey Velt:

Okay. And so let's talk about recruiting a little bit. Is there a certain question or something you look for? How do you identify agents who are willing to learn and grow?

Robert Lyszczarz:

So I think the recruiting process is really a vetting process for both of us to identify not just if somebody is productive, but if they're consistent with the values that we have. So we will often ask agents, where do they see their business going? And then try to identify the value proposition that we have that can help them get there either quicker or get to a higher level in a shorter period of time. So I think it's about having a congruent recruiting strategy, not just an all out try to recruit as many people as possible strategy.

Tracey Velt:

Right. Okay. So last question. If you could offer other brokers some advice on growing their businesses, what would it be?

Robert Lyszczarz:

So it would be, first you need to identify your core values, create a plan, utilize leverage, associate yourself with like-minded leaders, and hold yourself accountable to your mission. And if you do that, all the other things will fall in place.

Tracey Velt:

Okay. And you had mentioned, what did you say? You said leverage?

Robert Lyszczarz:

So identify your core values, create a plan, utilize leverage.

Tracey Velt:

Utilize leverage. What do you mean by that?

Robert Lyszczarz:

So utilizing leverage. It could be as simple as putting the right people in the right places from a team perspective. If somebody is a rainmaker, we don't want to have them doing administrative tasks or anything excessively administrative. From our leadership role, we've complemented our recruiting strategy with outbound dialers that help produce appointments for us to get in front of as many people as possible. I'm a big proponent of looking at what everybody's expected return is or income and trying to get them doing more and more activities that are producing income at that level or above the income level.

Robert Lyszczarz:

And for example, if an agent wants to make $100,000 a year and they're working 40 hours a week, they can't afford to be doing activities that are less than $50 an hour or their income will be dropping. Conversely, if they're doing activities consistently above that line, their income will go up. That's the leverage mindset that we have.

Tracey Velt:

Okay, great. Well, congratulations on being named a REAL Trends game changer and I appreciate you taking the time to speak with us.

Robert Lyszczarz:

It's been a pleasure and I thank you for the honor and the opportunity.

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