Jack Markham, senior vice president of strategic growth for Realogy’s Better Homes and Gardens® Real Estate (BHGRE), joined the company last May to lead its national sales team. With more than a decade of experience in real estate technology, Markham is laser-focused on lending his expertise to support the brand’s aggressive growth goals as part of the Realogy Expansion Brands portfolio, which also includes ERA® Real Estate and is a division of Realogy Franchise Group.
During the 2021 REALTORS® Conference & Expo, hosted by the National Association of REALTORS® in San Diego, California, last November, we sat down with Markham to discuss how he faced the pandemic head on, his forward-looking strategy at BHGRE and his best advice for new agents to thrive in the current market.
Jameson Doris: Briefly tell us about your role with the Realogy Expansion Brands.
Jack Markham: I joined Realogy and Better Homes and Gardens in May 2021. Previously, for the past 14 years, my background had been in real estate technology companies. I was at Market Leader and I ran three companies for Constellation1, so I think my whole real estate career has been built around partnering up and helping agents and brokers grow their business.
The opportunity to join this brand and join Sherry Chris at Better Homes and Gardens was an ideal fit. I’m very passionate about the lifestyle brand, and figuring out how to help agents be better in their local market and become neighborhood experts.
JD: At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, you were able to adapt to the challenges and find new ways of doing business. What was your strategy?
JM: For one, when hit, I didn’t believe that we were going to close offices. And then I literally had 48 hours to displace 150 salespeople and service people and marketing people. I was not really prepared, and so for my salespeople and service people, not having the voice over IP and not having laptops to work remotely, there was a huge scramble. We were asking ourselves: How are we going to do this? How are we going to serve clients?
I remember my biggest goal was, how do I still help my team? But at the same time, I was running three tech companies with 10,000 clients. How are we going to serve people when they fall? How are we going to help people? And more importantly, when this happens and real estate is shut down for however long, how are we going to help them with the product?
What I decided to do was keep the leads flowing but pause billing. Let’s help people get through this, but not pause their business. So, when they come out of it, they can hit the ground running. I think that was very beneficial for our clients at the time.
JD: Are there any tools or other tech that you used during those early months of the pandemic that became so integral to your business that you continue to use them today?
JM: Outside of virtual technology, I think we rely more—especially today—on CRMs. I think that’s a good lesson for agents. What tools are you using? And as a sales guy my entire career, I think that you have to rely on your CRM and one of the things that still sticks in my mind the last 14 years is the best CRM is the one you’re using. Just be dedicated to that and use that, and I think right now, that’s the one tool that you have to hold onto. As a real estate agent, when you get up, make that your morning cup of coffee.
JD: Moving forward, can you offer any advice to better adapt to a post-COVID real estate market?
JM: It’s been going in this direction, and I think COVID maybe pushed it a little bit further, but I think everything is sort of consolidating down. I think if you’re an agent, you have to take a step back and ask yourself: How can I be a neighborhood expert and really focus on being hyperlocal?
Again, one of the reasons why I joined Better Homes and Gardens is because I think, as an agent, you have two paths; I can do it really artificially and buy those tools to help me stay relevant, but what I get really passionate about at Better Homes and Gardens is the fact that we have a brand that stays relevant 365 days a year. It’s one of the only lifestyle brands in real estate, and I think for our agents and affiliates, I think they can use this brand in so many ways to stay hyperlocal.
This article was originally published by RISMedia. To read the full interview, click here.
Stay tuned to RISMedia.com for continuing coverage of the 2021 REALTORS® Conference & Expo.