RE/MAX conference looked at lessons from the past, goals for the future
Founder Dave Liniger encouraged attendees to focus on growth and adaptability, while CEO Nick Bailey said agents shouldn't be afraid to "get loud."
- Liniger shared five lessons to correspond with the company's five decades in business.
- Both Liniger and Bailey noted previous market cycles and the resilience of the brand and its agents.
- Bailey emphasized the importance of marketing and being visible during a time when others may be scaling back.
Sharing five lessons for five decades, RE/MAX co-founder Dave Liniger kicked off the company's annual convention, speaking to a crowd of more than 9,000 agents and brokers in Las Vegas.
In his address on Feb. 27, Liniger spoke frankly about the key lessons he's learned over the five decades that RE/MAX has operated. The company marked its 50th anniversary in January.
In presenting the first lesson, "align with great people," Liniger credited his wife and RE/MAX co-founder Gail Liniger — RE/MAX's first employee — for helping shape the company and its evolution since 1973.
"Productive people are our #1 competitive advantage," he said.
Liniger also emphasized brand-building, which he invested in early on. The first RE/MAX balloon launched in 1978 and has become one of the most recognized brand symbols in real estate. Today, RE/MAX offers agents a variety of tools they can use to build their personal brands and connect with leads and clients.
Another lesson, "always have a growth mindset," is one the company's current leadership has taken to heart. RE/MAX CEO Nick Bailey said in an interview that the company "is the largest that it has been in its history. And we continue to drive growth as our primary focus." He hopes to see the company's agent count, currently at 140,000 worldwide, hit 200,000 in the next few years.
Liniger's final lesson, "adapt to change quickly," focused on the challenges of both the current market and past cycles.
"We've been No. 1 in the world for years because we've adapted to change the whole time," Liniger said. "Yes, the market's tougher and the industry's changing — just be ready to adapt."
Liniger recalled the 2008 financial meltdown and actions that RE/MAX took to help the company and industry.
"We knew early on that 'riding it out' wouldn't be possible. This would require thinking about the business in a whole different way — and taking action," said Liniger, who began working with policymakers in Washington, D.C., to address the situation.
Bailey, too, has spoken about the importance of adaptation. As the market shift was becoming more apparent in the fall of 2022, Bailey noted that adaptability would be critical to navigating the year ahead: "The question is, who will be the people that help the buyers and sellers with transactions in the coming year? And it's going to be, in my opinion, the most productive agents, the most experienced agents, and those who've gone through these changes before," he said, adding that today's agents also need to embrace technology to "meet the consumer where they want to be met."
Showmanship and strategy
Liniger is known for his affinity for adventure — in addition to running RE/MAX for decades, he pursued scuba diving, NASCAR racing and airplane piloting. Now in his 70s, Liniger opted for a relatively understated entrance, but Bailey appeared to take a page from Liniger's playbook and embrace the spirit of adventure: Donning a red-white-and-blue jumpsuit, Bailey rode a zipline over the thousands of RE/MAX agents and franchise owners gathered at the MGM Grand Hotel's main convention hall.
He followed up his grand entrance with a presentation on RE/MAX's strategy, mission and vision for the future.
"I'm very clear on two things," Bailey told attendees. "People are going to buy and sell houses in 2023, and experienced agents will have the upper hand. I get asked when the market is going to rebound, but you can't rebound if you don't have a crash. And we haven't had a crash, we've just begun to rebalance, putting buyers and sellers on more equal footing — and that's good news for all of us.
Bailey emphasized connection, technology and marketing, encouraging attendees to amplify their marketing, including on social media, while many competitors are scaling back their promotions.
"Get loud. Don't make the mistake of being invisible," Bailey said.