When the leadership team of the Keller Williams Preferred Properties Upper Marlboro market center walked across the stage at Family Reunion to collect their award for Top BOLD Attendees, the audience gasped audibly. Team Leader Patricia Long remembers: “People were very curious to know how we had 200+ BOLD attendees and didn’t know that a KW market center existed where the OP, TL, and MCA are all Black.”
When bringing the Keller Williams Preferred Properties Upper Marlboro market center to life 16 years ago, Operating Principal Emerick Peace was intentional in opening the first Keller Williams market center in a majority Black county – Prince George’s County, Maryland – and committing to following the KW systems and models as the building blocks for success. Owned by Emerick Peace, Patricia Long, and Jason Fenwick, today, Upper Marlboro is the only market center to be 100% Black owned.
The Secret to Success
Home to more than 560 agents and counting, the market center has a lot to celebrate: For the past two years, they have been the number one market center in the MD/DC Region in every category, as well as 35th in profit from a pool of more than 800 market centers. They are succeeding at a very high level – a success heavily attributed to the diverse makeup among their leadership (composed of OP Emerick Peace, TL Patricia Long, co-TL Sunita “Cindy” Singh, and MCA Dorothy Floyd-Jackson), and their agents.
“I think it’s important for people to know that although our voices have not been widely highlighted, we exist,” Long says. “Visibility is very important, especially for the recognition of diversity in KW as a whole.”
These diverse voices are integral to the reputation the market center has built – of a tight-knit, growth-focused culture and community involvement.
“We believe culture is doing the best that can be done to ensure all of our Stakeholders (the loving term Long uses for her agents) are attaining their goals and truly living a life by design,” she says. In that same spirit, the market center opens its doors to nonprofit organizations, local churches, and the general community for special educational moments like financial counseling. Causes such as 100 Black Men of Prince George’s County; a membership organization that serves all youth of the community while focusing on the pillars of mentoring, education, health, and wellness, and economic empowerment while stressing leadership growth and development; are near and dear to the center’s heart.
Looking at the ways in which the center is achieving success and paying it forward, it is clear that amplifying voices such as Long’s is imperative to the industry’s success. Much research still remains to be done, but looking at data in branches of real estate such as commercial – where numbers from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission suggest that more than 75% of senior executive jobs within the industry are held by white men – there is no doubt that work needs to be done. At the Keller Williams Preferred Properties Upper Marlboro market center, leadership is pouring into its agents and helping them succeed. One tool they are using to do so is BOLD.
Building Community Through BOLD
Currently number three in the country for most BOLD attendees and coming off a consecutive two-year ‘number one in the nation’ streak, the center has taken BOLD’s digitization as an opportunity to strengthen its community by hosting “Command Your Day” sessions every morning throughout the first installment of BOLD Pivot, where agents were able to watch each other generate leads and hold themselves accountable.
“BOLD has really become a part of our culture. We always request to have a BOLD in our market center every January and October,” says Long. “One of the things we really committed to when we opened in 2004 was following the systems and models, so when people come to our market center, they know they’re coming so that they can learn how to run a business.”
With this commitment in mind, two years ago, Long’s team looked at their financials and recognized the correlation between their Stakeholders and BOLD. “Every time we had BOLD, there was a direct correlation to the increase in productivity,” she says.
In seeing so, Upper Marlboro began incentivizing agents to take BOLD by reimbursing transactions and offering upfront advance payments – actions that paid off when they became the number one most profitable market center in the region since the implementation of BOLD.
“BOLD is our cultural leverage, and since 2009 it is a huge part of the fabric of our market center,” Long shares. “The BOLD laws are our everyday language, and we are implementing and executing BOLD 365 days of the year.” Language such as ‘Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change,’ ‘Come from contribution,’ and ‘Change your thinking – change your world,’ are part of the market center’s daily vernacular.
For the agents, this has proven to be nothing short of an incredible growth opportunity. Back in 2009, Upper Marlboro Stakeholder Michael Paige was part of the test-drive crew for BOLD training. At the time, he had started with zero production. Seventeen BOLD classes later, he consistently ranks as one of the top 10 individual agents in the area.
“For me, BOLD was not only a one and done, but a refresher and a reminder of the mindset I must maintain, and the activities I must practice and make part of my life each and every day,” Paige says. “Each time I take BOLD, it offers me a new opportunity to grow into a better person and go to places I never imagined.”
Recent market center recruits agree. After joining as a brand-new agent in 2018, Brad Pitt is hooked on the training, most recently taking part in its revamped digital version, BOLD Pivot.
“There aren’t enough words to express how BOLD Pivot has transformed my business and life,” Pitt says. “The mindset shift I’ve experienced has prepared me to know there are unlimited opportunities in our new virtual world. I’m a person that needs to hear things a few times before it really sinks in, so having the livestreams available for playback has helped me to focus on areas of discussion where I choose to improve NOW. I’ve taken nuggets from each session and coach and incorporated those into my business, and now I’m more productive than ever! I’m looking forward to the next BOLD Pivot, so I’ll be equipped to shift as the market shifts.”