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Lessons in Leadership with Dermot Buffini: A Conversation with Nick Bailey, President and CEO of RE/MAX, LLC.

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As the president and CEO of RE/MAX, LLC, Nick Bailey is often named as one of the most influential leaders in real estate. An agent when he was only 18 years old, he has since that time been involved in every sector of the industry, rising through the ranks to his current position. He frequently shares his unique perspective on the market in media interviews and as a keynote speaker at industry events. 

Recently Bailey was interviewed by Buffini & Company CEO, Dermot Buffini on the RISMedia webinar, “Lessons in Leadership with Dermot Buffini.” The conversation was moderated by John Featherstone, RISMedia’s founder who is also that company’s president and CEO.

Here are some of the highlights from their discussion.

Learning To Be a Leader 

As a young agent, Bailey was mentored by Daryl Jesperson, the former president and CEO of RE/MAX, who taught him an important lesson that changed the trajectory of his career. Bailey recalled that he thought he was “working hard and doing everything right” for about five months until Jesperson asked to speak with him. In a frank discussion, his mentor told Bailey it appeared that he was only doing the same thing that everyone in the office was doing. There was really nothing special that made Bailey “stand out” from the rest, Jesperson added. 

“That was a reflective moment,” Bailey recalled. “I realized I needed to figure out as a young person in my mid-20s if I was going to be a leader and if so, how I was going to find those qualities in me and bring them out.”

Although he was embarrassed by his mentor’s feedback, it was an experience that also showed him how to “be direct, be honest and give feedback,” he added, and in turn, how that allowed him “to command respect,” no matter the situation.

Keys to Continued Growth 

As a leader, Bailey noted that he continues to be a “student,” learning from other leaders he encounters and asking himself how he can emulate their practices in his own career and life.

Buffini said that one of the strengths he admired about Bailey was his ability to communicate with others.

Bailey admitted that was something he struggled with earlier in his career.

“It was not easy for me – I had to figure out what I was insecure about and why. I had to be aware of that,” Bailey told Buffini.

Awareness and curiosity continue to be key components of his leadership style, he added.

“It’s important to be hyperaware and know what you’re after and be able to deliver it in a genuine way,” he said.

Although Bailey is the head of RE/MAX, he still has his broker’s license and in fact, still sells houses on occasion to stay on top of trends and in touch with the market. He wants to know what’s stayed the same and what’s changed. In his words, he wants to know, “What is working and what isn’t?”

“There’s a whole bunch of noise in front of most of us,” he said. “We need to know what’s real and what isn’t. You need to be able to cut through the distractions.”

 Looking Ahead in 2023

During the webinar, Featherstone asked both Buffini and Bailey about their “take” on 2023.

“The one thing I know for sure is that people will buy and sell houses this year,” Bailey said.

He noted that he anticipates over the next 10 years, 50-60 million houses will be sold. Some years there will be more sold and some years less, he added, because family events, such as growing families, moves, etc. drive sales. 

Buffini added that there is still a demand for buyers as well as sellers and as such, a need for agents who are highly skilled. 

“Take time now to fix those things that you need to fix that you did not have time to do before (when the market was so busy),” he said. 

When asked what the focus should be for agents who wanted to grow their business in 2023 despite the shifting market, Bailey said, “Agents need to get loud! Tell the world you are in the market.”

“In a slow market you should not cut back on your marketing. Be the voice of reason — buyers and sellers need you more than ever right now,” he added.”

Many agents were propped up before by a hot market, he said, and didn’t really require support from a brokerage. Now that the market is shifting, they should reconsider.

“Put aside your ego,” he added. “Build strength with others.”

“Reduce expenses. Increase your productivity and then do more,” Buffini agreed. “The best investment you can make is in yourself.“

To watch the full webinar, visit www.rismedia.com.

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