At Middleburg Real Estate | Atoka Properties, Showalter says that “everything has been built off the framework of what makes sense and not what is standard in real estate.” Per Adkins’ point about hiring people from outside of real estate, Blake started her career in fitness and had no experience in the industry when she started, “but I’m just the kind of person where I see a problem and go find a solution.”
For the brokerage, that has meant hiring some full-time staff members in certain positions, and then using strategic partnerships to help fill in the gaps. When hiring, Showalter says that they try to get very specific and detailed with job descriptions outlining the basic details and duties of the gig, and then they can hire with a narrow focus on the position’s needs.
“Our creative director started in more of an admin marketing assistant role, and we realized she was great at the creative marketing side of things,” Showalter explains. “So when we hire the next person, we’ll ask our creative director, what does she not like to do? Let’s try to make that part of a different role. And what does she enjoy doing? That’s what we want her to be doing.”
Showalter also seeks out strategic partnerships to help support the in-house staff they’ve got. She uses a branding strategy and content creation project that they put together and attempted to execute in-house. “We tried to handle it in-house, and we had a staff, but it wasn’t going to work out,” Showalter explains. “But at that point, our agents had bought into it.”
So she scrambled to fulfill what they’d promised their agents and were able to find a local company that could execute on all of those services. “It was a win for everyone because we want to support local business, and for our agents to have a really high-touch experience, and it makes sense financially, and it will allow us to scale.”
This even drills down into service provider partnerships, such as website providers. Middleburg Real Estate | Atoka Properties has created an agent template on its website platform, using approved branding and typefaces, so that agents can instantly (literally!) create a website that’s customizable to them and their preferences, but also falls strongly within the brokerage brand guidelines and spectrum.
Placester’s concierge services also allow agents to request even more from their website without having to find a developer or designer experienced with IDX to help them with it. Agents can submit requests for design, writing, or engineering tweaks to their websites, and the effort that goes into finding creative support and solutions to implement those changes is taken on by the concierge. Like magic, the changes are made. It takes the pain out of hiring for at least one critical part of real estate services.
Middleburg Real Estate | Atoka Properties has also created strategic partnerships for photography and videography, marketing assets, transaction management, and collaborations with title companies and lenders. Showalter surveys agents quarterly about their experiences with the different service providers so she can ensure that agents are happy with what they’re getting from their brokerage.