Game Changers: Broker expands through agent-centered organic growth acquisition

Reframing the conversation from recruiting to growth acquisition, Game Changer Greg McClure aims to share the brokerage’s story to build his company.

Greg McClure, CEO of Realty ONE Group Complete in Rocklin, California, constantly tells himself and his colleagues to focus on “the relentless pursuit of growth.” It’s a mantra he’s followed since switching his 18-agent brokerage to a Realty ONE franchise in 2014.

“We don’t call it recruiting anymore. We call it growth acquisition,” McClure says. “We’re still trying to share our story with as many people as possible to show them why we think we’re a better fit than maybe where they are currently.”

The relentless pursuit of growth has paid off handsomely: Realty ONE Group Complete, which operates with a flat-fee structure, posted a growth rate of 120% between 2016 and 2020.

In the seven years since establishing Realty ONE Group Complete, McClure hasn’t relied on a single M&A transaction to achieve growth. Depending only on organic growth, with McClure calls growth acquisition, the brokerage has bulked up to nearly 700 agents.

Identifying his target agents

Back in 2014, McClure and an assistant recruited agents by identifying web-savvy professionals — those with a blog, a website, a Facebook page and an Instagram presence. They loaded up a spreadsheet with the names of the top 200 agents in the firm’s market and, one by one, targeted those who “were highly vocal on social media,” he says.

“Social media just blew up around our brand in our market,” McClure recalls. “People were really talking about it. And the phone started ringing, and then we just leveraged that.”

In its first year under the Realty ONE umbrella, McClure’s brokerage exploded his growth acquisition from 18 agents to nearly 100.

“And then I just kept [my foot] on the gas pedal,” McClure says. “We are as active today in our growth acquisition as we were almost seven years ago.”

Scaling his growth acquisition strategy

The growth strategy has evolved in that seven-year span, though. McClure regularly questions whether a growth initiative that works today will still work with perhaps 200 or 400 more agents on board. In other words, Realty ONE Group Complete’s growth strategy is anything but static. And, he adds, it’s more sophisticated.

“We use software that allows us to keep things more organized in a more systematic way,” McClure says.

On the human side of things, McClure and his office managers actively recruit. In fact, growth and retention are factored into office managers’ compensation.

“I have tried to hire a recruiter. It did not work,” he says. “And I think the reason why it didn’t work is no one is going to be as passionate about the brand and my company as me.”

Fortunately, most of the folks recruited to join Realty ONE Group Complete are in it for the long haul. McClure says his firm doesn’t have a significant retention problem., which means his growth acquisition strategy is working.

“I think we do have a great value proposition, so the people that come over tend to stay,” he says. “However, we do have people leaving. I’m not going to ever say that we don’t. That would be just a lie.”

How does McClure’s firm manage to hang on to agents?

The four-office brokerage believes strongly in supporting agents by making several brokers available seven days a week to answer questions. In addition, Realty ONE Group Complete promotes a pro-retention work culture complete with events like “pop-up pizza Fridays” and “pop-up taco Tuesdays.” And through social media and other means, it recognizes agents who earn transaction-based entrance into the monthly “Million Dollar Club.”

Outside the office, the brokerage emphasizes a commitment to the community to help engage its agents. “More than ever today, businesses need to be purposeful and intentional with what they do in the community, and I think it resonates with people,” McClure says.

One simple form of in-office terminology definitely resonates with the agents at Realty ONE Group Complete. Rather than calling them “agents,” folks at the brokerage refer to them as “customers.”

“This is a hard thing for some brokers to wrap their minds around, especially the more traditional brokers,” McClure says. “The consumer, in my opinion, is not the brokerage’s customer. The agent is our customer. So we strive every day to do great customer experience. And when I say that, I’m talking about the agents, not the consumer.”

“It’s easy for one of our transaction coordinators to get mad at an agent. It’s not as easy to get mad at your customer,” he adds. “Just that mindset shift changes the dynamic of the relationship, and it changes the way our team interacts with our customers.”

Greg McClure of Realty ONE Group Complete was a RealTrends 2021 Game Changer. In the past five years, between 2016 and 2020, his firm saw 120% growth.