By Phil Smith, RE/MAX International Editor
ROSELLE, Ill. – The time was right – and the times were right – for superstar agent Sharon Falco to return to RE/MAX.
From 1980 to 2002, the Sales Associate with RE/MAX Central in Roselle ranked among the top 10 RE/MAX producers in the world 10 times. But she and her husband, Joseph, had a deep desire to run their own office. So in 2003 they took their entire team, which included six buyer’s agents, and opened an independent company.
While she and her team were successful as independents, the changing industry and changing technology prompted them to begin rethinking their business.
In July, she and Joseph rejoined the RE/MAX family, back in their familiar RE/MAX Central home.
“The simple explanation is that it’s just easier this way,” says Joseph Falco, the team’s marketing and technology expert. “You still have your own business, but you don’t have to deal with as many issues because the office and the RE/MAX network provide a lot of support.”
“Being affiliated with a franchise right now is more important than ever,” Sharon says. “Much more important than it was before. My name was so synonymous with RE/MAX that we could not get the consumer to relate to the new company. In today’s atmosphere, having the support and the synergy, and having my name reconnected to RE/MAX, is all critical.”
Falco adds these RE/MAX advantages:
• ”RE/MAX has a strong brand and continues to lead the industry in name recognition.”
• ”RE/MAX offers a wonderful way to expand your business and reach out to more consumers.”
• ”RE/MAX is far ahead of the curve in terms of technology with remax.com and the LeadStreet lead-generation system.”
The technology revolution prompted a major change in the way Falco does business. She shed all six buyer’s agents and now focuses on listings.
“With technology, you don’t have to have big teams anymore,” she says. “The market is geared away from buyer teams. For us, a boutique operation is more comfortable. I’ll still work with buyers on my own listings, but otherwise I prefer to work with buyers who’ll sign an exclusive buyer agreement or refer them to a buyer agent. I also refer customers outside my major market areas to other RE/MAX Associates who’ll serve the client more effectively.”
Falco’s original departure from RE/MAX wasn’t the least bit messy. In fact, the new office was next door to RE/MAX Central. She would often see Broker/Owners Kathy or Bill Jansen.
“Everybody was very professional all along and we respected each other’s territory,” Falco says.
“None of us burned any bridges, and that was important,” Kathy Jansen says. “And in this market, she needed the RE/MAX brand to continue to be successful.”
Jansen approached the Falcos after a tip from Joe Gillespie, a RE/MAX Central Associate who’s a close friend of the Falcos, about a possible return to RE/MAX. After several meetings with the Jansens, Sharon was comfortable with the notion of returning. She felt she could better focus on her sales without the daily interruptions of running a brokerage.
It didn’t take any time for Falco to get back up to speed. Within weeks of rejoining RE/MAX, she had her best month in a year and a half.
“We’re hopping. We’re on fire,” Falco says. “I have a wonderful support staff, my husband, tech and administrative staff. We’re hell on wheels. It’s great to be back home.”
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