The Accidental Broker

Franchise Success Spotlight: Weichert® Affiliate Ronda Bailey Cooper

Weichert, Realtors® – Cooper Group Indy

Ronda Bailey Cooper never set out to be a Weichert Broker. In fact, Ronda never set out to be any kind of broker at all…

 

Indianapolis Indiana and its suburbs support a thriving and dynamic real estate market. Despite its misunderstood moniker as “Naptown”, the city and its roughly 1 million inhabitants, are anything but sleepy. Ronda Bailey Cooper grew up here and despite an occasional relocation, she is a proud Hoosier and Indiana is the place she has always called home.

Ronda Bailey Cooper operates Weichert, Realtors® – Cooper Group Indy from almost the dead center of Indianapolis. Her clients are mostly suburban homebuyers and renters who work in or near the city. As Ronda reflects on the crooked line of fate and career that landed her on the doorstep of Weichert, she will tell you, “I never planned to be a broker–it just kind of happened!”

The Jagged Path to Real Estate Broker

Ronda’s working life started as a high-school teacher and sports coach for girls volleyball, softball and the cheerleading squad. In this mix, it was the coaching she really loved. The ability to mentor athletes and inspire a team to come together, compete, and achieve something important, hardly seemed like a job. What’s more she knew she was good at it.

After many years as a teacher and then a day-care center operator, Ronda was casually introduced to people from Indiana’s largest home builder.  After some thought, Ronda agreed to forgo the day care center for a job as a salesperson for the builder, selling houses under construction across the state.

With her newly minted real estate agent license in hand, Ronda had precious little experience in the role of builder salesperson, but her energy, mature business skills and personality got her the job. Ronda set about the hard work of publicizing the developments, partnering with other real estate agents and brokers and sponsoring huge professional events. Over a 12 year career, Ronda rose to regional manager, and ultimately sales director for the entire company. In 2008 Ronda and her team were responsible for the sale of 1700 homes across the state.

But the Recession hit. And in 2009, her company was out of business, and Ronda was out of a job.

The recession hit builders across the country hard, and Ronda’s company was no exception. But she had developed more than a sales team there; she had developed a culture that was open, supportive, collaborative, and focused on winning. The culture changes extended throughout the company. In this job, she had become coach and mentor again and the thought of starting over was tough.

It wasn’t long before Ronda accepted a job out of state, moving her family to Alabama to work for another builder who hoped Ronda could duplicate her success there. However, it soon became clear that their culture was very different than the one Ronda wanted to create and they were not really open to the kind of transformative change they thought they wanted. It taught Ronda how important a culture and the cultural fit is, and how if the fit isn’t there, it isn’t always possible to make it work.

In 2012, when her daughter graduated, Ronda took the family back to Indianapolis and got her first traditional real estate agent job, hanging her hat with a tiny Mom & Pop brokerage who provided little more than morning coffee. To train herself in her new profession, Ronda created her own coaching and mentoring program by hiring and paying friends and professional contacts from all over town to teach her the ins and outs of being a real estate agent.

One day a friend called her with congratulations. Ronda asked her what for, and she said “for being a top 10 realtor,” as published from results pulled from the Metropolitan Indianapolis Board of Realtors for the greater Indianapolis area. Ronda had no idea. She had closed 240 homes in just her first two years of being an agent, and the local industry was starting to notice. Agents reached out to her for mentoring. Brokerages tried to recruit her. Ronda decided that maybe it was time to make a career move.

The Road to Weichert

Ronda got her broker’s license and shortly after started her team with two agents, one a friend, and the other, her daughter. It was around that time that she had a preliminary discussion with Weichert, but she wasn’t really interested. “I had never been anything but independent, and I was really afraid of losing that.” Ronda persisted alone, growing her business slowly and being very careful about who she hired and who she kept. “For me it was all about attitude. I wanted agents that would be open to the culture, the coaching and mentoring I wanted to provide and who would work more as a team.” That meant both a careful screening process and being willing to let go of producers when they had a “bad” attitude.

After two years, the agency grew to 6 people and was doing well, but Ronda was becoming aware that she didn’t know what she didn’t know, and her growth was being impacted because of it. “The technology stuff and the brand development were not really my forte. I’m more a people person.”  As Ronda planned a trip to NY city to see her daughter, Weichert happened to call and she thought, “What the heck, they can pay for my visit and I’ll stop in to see them while I’m in the area.”

While listening to Weichert at their corporate offices in Morris Plains, NJ, all the pieces started to fall into place. Recruiting process?  Check. Plug & Play Technology Solutions?  Check. Active one-on-one expert support? Check. New agent training process? Check. Branding and Marketing Solutions? Check.

Still, Ronda wrestled with concerns over her independence. While she knew that Weichert was the only affiliation she would consider, it was almost a year and a half after these initial meetings that she finally came on board. It was her daughter who, after watching her struggle with the decision, finally said, “Mom c’mon! What are you waiting for!” In 2017 Ronda became Weichert Realtors® – Cooper Group Indy.

The Weichert Experience

“The human collateral I’ve had at Weichert since day 1, has been amazing”, remarks Ronda. “As a people person, the ability to take live trainings, attend our SAW sessions and management retreats, have been tremendously exciting.” What Ronda likes the most though is the culture of transparency and sharing that exists within the Weichert broker community. “There is simply no scarcity mentality or being secretive. I never want to be the smartest person in the room and with Weichert, I never am.”

When it comes to tools, Ronda is using it all, from the Doors listing presentation methodology to the Weichert Fast Track training for new agents. The plug and play nature of much of these processes meant that she saw improvements on day one that have continued through her two years with Weichert. “With Weichert, it’s not about any one single tool or process, but the way they’ve made them all work together and complement each other is quite amazing.”

Ronda has doubled the size of her team using Weichert methods and has seen a 15-20% year over year growth in sales since becoming an Affiliate. She still builds her team her way, though—slowly—with an emphasis on openness and cultural compatibility. “It turns out that Weichert has the same culture that I do when it comes to openness, sharing and teamwork,” observes Ronda. “Weichert delivered 100% on the promises it made to me all those years ago and continues to do so.”

Weichert – A Culture of Support

As a Weichert affiliate, you’ll have a dedicated real estate business consultant and regional service manager assisting with everything from business planning and coaching to recruiting and financial management, plus support to help you leverage the wide array of marketing and sales tools at your fingertips. You’ll have the opportunity to attend local broker councils and management trainings to network with colleagues, as well as regional rallies and exciting conventions, along with your agents, so that everyone on your team is rallied around a common goal. The support you get will enhance your skills to make you a better leader.

Be our next success story. Call Weichert Franchising today or visit www.weichertfranchise.com.