For JB Goodwin, building a successful real estate business boils down to one thing: helping people.
“We’re trying to help our buyers and sellers have a transaction that is as smooth and safe as possible,” says Goodwin, who founded his namesake company in 1972 when he was just 22 years old. Now, with a rich history in both the community and the industry at large, JBGoodwin REALTORS® is home to some 800 agents and staff working out of seven offices in the Austin and San Antonio, Texas, areas. The firm’s Austin-based location has been named a Top Workplace for 10 years in a row, with San Antonio receiving the recognition nine years in a row.
The focus on helping real estate consumers has made training an unwavering part of JBGoodwin’s success. “Unquestionably, training is a cornerstone of our company,” says Goodwin. “Taking someone who’s coming into the business and getting them off on the right foot builds the foundation for them to be successful in this market and any market.”
Planting the Seeds of Success
Goodwin’s philosophy on building a successful business started at a young age where he worked alongside a hard-working entrepreneur: his father.
“I started working when I was 12 years old in my Dad’s auto parts store,” shares Goodwin. “He trained me to run a business by the time I was 19. He expected me to work harder than everyone else.”
Goodwin’s father’s entrepreneurial legacy was passed on to each of his four children, all of whom went into business for themselves. For Goodwin, the calling was real estate, where he started in sales during his junior and senior years in college, and quickly learned that training was in short supply. “The day I graduated, I started a company,” he recalls. “I was disheartened with the lack of training and marketing I had seen at other brokerages; I started our company on the cornerstone that we were going to train people on how to succeed in this business.”
JBGoodwin REALTORS® followed a rapid growth trajectory. The firm began as a residential brokerage operation, then added property management and commercial real estate divisions, a residential development arm, a mortgage company, a property maintenance company, and eventually, a couple of banks.
Goodwin’s personal accomplishments happened just as rapidly. A 45-year member of Leading Real Estate Companies of the World®, Goodwin served as the network’s president in 1983 at the age of 33. He was also the youngest chairman of the Chamber of Commerce Committee in Austin, the youngest education committee chairman for the Texas Association of REALTORS® and the youngest president of the Austin MLS at 29.
With a storied career already in the books, Goodwin considered early retirement in 1998, selling off everything but the residential brokerage and the mortgage company. But in 2005, Goodwin’s two sons got into the business, and, as he told his wife, he needed to “go back to work and grow this business again.”
All-In on Training
Despite the firm’s many years in business, its greatest challenge has remained the same, says Goodwin: “The biggest challenge since the day I started has been attracting people who are serious about the business and willing to work as hard as it takes. A REALTOR®’ s job description is simple—to help people buy and sell real estate. It’s not easy, but it’s simple. If you go out and do that, you’ll be successful.”
To help agents fulfill that goal, JBGoodwin’s training program is exceptionally extensive. New agents start out with a mandatory two-week initial training program called Square One. This is followed up with the eight-week Momentum coaching program where agents spend two hours a week in a group-training setting. From that point on, for the next 42 weeks, agents take part in a variety of other training programs, including Breakthrough performance coaching. The system effectively sets up agents with targeted training for one year.
Meanwhile, while Momentum and Breakthrough are taking place, the company provides agents with weekly Next Level Training sessions that take place virtually. On top of that, new agents are in constant touch with a member of the JBGoodwin leadership team, meeting at a minimum, once a week.
Goodwin likens the company’s training approach to that of a sports team. “The first thing we do is show them what’s supposed to happen out on the field,” he explains. “Then we go to the practice field—you’ve made some calls, you’ve shown some property, now let’s look at what you might do differently next time. We’re trying to coach them in the first 12 months to get their first six transactions as quickly as possible.”
Essential to the Ongoing Mission
This comprehensive plan, believes Goodwin, is critical to get agents up to speed and equipped to help consumers no matter what obstacles may arise, from COVID-19 to legal issues.
“We are the least-litigated real estate company in America as a result of our training and management,” reports Goodwin. “We teach people how to be professional and do the job of listing, selling and leasing correctly. The need for the counseling and advice of a REALTOR® is never going to go away. I get compliments on the way our agents communicate and keep clients up to date on the process. And our Google reviews are extraordinary compared to other brokerage firms.”
The need for expert guidance and clear communication was even more valuable in the wake of the pandemic. But JBGoodwin was well prepared to meet this challenge head-on, already operating in a largely digital environment well before COVID-19 took root. The firm adopted a Google platform in 2017, had begun streaming large company meetings, and was offering marketing tools through an electronic design center, along with video production. JBGoodwin’s online presence was also well cultivated thanks to a six-year partnership with Real Estate Webmasters. “We were able to go virtual a little faster and smoother because we had already put the platform in place to create a 100%-digital transaction,” says Goodwin.
With comprehensive tools and training in place, JBGoodwin REALTORS® is well on the path to continued growth, with the San Antonio and Austin markets projected to grow from 4.5 million to 6 million people over the next 20 years. And Goodwin’s resolve never wavers: “We want to focus on being the best company we can be.”