Game Changers: Clear strategy for growth based on where agents spend money

With a clear strategy for growth on individual productivity and recruiting, this Game Changer understands the important of having a laser-like focus.

One thing is obvious, Greg Harrelson, CEO of CENTURY 21 The Harrelson Group in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, is a strategy guy. When asked, what propelled the company into high-growth mode, Harrelson immediately told me on his focus on internal growth and external growth. “I was very intentional with both,” he says. And, it’s worked. About 70% of his growth over the past five years has been organic. “I did a few small acquisitions that accounted for about 30% of our growth,” says Harrelson.

Harrelson says he’s been on a journey to discover how brokerages can stay relevant. “All you have to do is follow the agent’s money. They spend money on coaching and leads. I knew then that I needed to be a coaching company, a lead company, a marketing company and a transaction management company,” he says.

Boosting agent productivity

Once that was decided, Harrelson “looked at all the agents’ production levels at that time and used that information as a strategy for growth. “I wrote down a number for every agent. So, let’s assume an agent was doing 15 transactions a year. If I coached that agent, what do I think would be realistic for them to be at next year?,” he says. “So, the 15 transaction agent could get to 45 transactions and the 20 transaction agent could get to 60.”

Then, he built a plan for each agent. “What could I do to help them get to that new number? It’s a lot easier to get someone from 15 transaction sides to 45 than it is to figure out how to recruit another agent and blend them into our systems,” says Harrelson. From that, he set up the coaching and accountability structure to support that type of growth internally. “I started promoting through video content. I created a lot of coaching content, put it on YouTube and distributed it to my marketplace,” he says. And, that also helped his external growth.

The laws of attraction

From the videos, he says he, “attracted new people who were seeking coaching.” What happened, he says, is that, “I was coaching agents in the MLS more than their companies were coaching them. Then, the agents looking for growth started calling me. It really was an attraction process,” says Harrelson. “That became my recruiting platform.”

Harrelson’s philosophy has always been about controlled growth. “I would rather grow the slow, right way than grow quickly and have retention issues.” As for recruiting, he notes that there is a leader in every office responsible for recruiting, but that they are moving towards a recruiting department. “All the growth over the last five years has been the main manager is the recruiter, but we didn’t have a lot of outbound recruiting efforts. We were doing it from an attraction process. So, our recruiting opportunities were low, but our conversion was extremely high because agents were usually knocking on our door versus us knocking on their’s,” he says. “For the next five years, we’re going to enhance the model we have with some outbound recruiting.”

Coaching and leads

Once they had the coaching program in place and scaleable, says Harrelson, “The second thing we wanted to do (as a strategy for growth) was make sure we could support our agent lead flows.” Through paid services and organic leads, Harrelson says his firm is distributing around 500 to 600 leads a week. “I wanted to make sure we had the coaching, leads and support in place so that incoming agents can flourish from day one.”

As for the coaching program, Harrelson says he is the main coach. “I pair people up for efficiency.” He creates a lot of the coaching courses and built a coaching portal for agents in the office. “I was in Mike Ferry’s coaching program for about 20 years and use a lot of the basic principles he taught me,” he says. The whole program he offices is customized for his company and it’s scaleable.

Harrelson recognizes that not all agents will take advantage of all that is offered, but he notes that about 75% to 80% engage in at least one portion of the coaching program. “If they don’t show up for a live training, we offer them a way to view it afterwards. We want to meet them on their schedule and offer them multiple ways to consume our materials,” says Harrelson.

A way to sum up Harrelson’s view on real estate brokerage and his strategy for growth — If you help enough people get what they want, ultimately, you’ll have everything you can ever dream of, a favorite saying of Author and Motivational Speaker John Maxwell. “It really comes back to the wealth you accumulate over time will be in direct correlation to the difference you make in other’s lives.

Greg Harrelson, CEO of CENTURY 21 The Harrelson Group was named a RealTrends 2021 Game Changer. In the past five years, between 2016 and 2020, his firm saw 85.3% growth.