How does a high-achieving brokerage spanning two states, two time zones and three-plus locations stay connected and organized? Ask Carrie Courtney, Team Leader at Changing Latitudes.
Carrie’s commitment to doing things differently, with the support of an ultra-congruent brand and a team-first focus, has allowed her to build a real estate business she’s proud of. One her agents love being a part of.
With the right systems to back up their unique operating model, the team at Changing Latitudes continues to grow and expand. Read on to learn how Follow Up Boss helps Carrie and her team keep leads in line across state borders.
Compelled to grow
Carrie and her husband Dave — her partner in life and in business — have a combined 35+ years of real estate experience. You could say, they’ve weathered their share of market storms.
Ten years ago, Carrie convinced Dave they should step away from their roles as RE/MAX agents to build their own brokerage.
“I wanted to do something different. I wanted to stand out,” Carrie says. She also craved the freedom to choose her own systems and processes — a luxury that working for a larger team simply wouldn’t afford her.
Thus, Changing Latitudes Real Estate was born.
Eight years into their business with an established brand and a handful of agents, Carrie felt compelled to make a change. In 2019, she noticed that conditions for real estate professionals were evolving. Teams were growing and it was harder for solo agents to thrive on their own.
“I woke up one morning and I told Dave, ‘You know what? We need to grow.’”
Carrie made the bold decision to start from scratch with the team’s systems, including their website and CRM. She knew their outdated CRM couldn’t support the audacious growth that was now her goal. But the thought of migrating eight years of leads and processes to a new system was daunting to say the least.
That’s when she reached out to our team at Follow Up Boss. It also happened to be the same moment the pandemic hit.
As challenging a time as it was, the slower pace made it the perfect time for Carrie and her team to reset and rebuild.
First, they worked closely with the team at Follow Up Boss to learn the system and train their agents on the new tools. Then, they got organized. Carrie and Dave hired their first VA and started to bring on new agents.
Armed with a modern lead management system and joined by new team members, Carrie was ready to step into the next season of her business.
"Follow Up Boss helped us switch everything over and gave us time to learn and train our agents (because our old system was all they knew). I could breathe a little bit, hit the pause button of life, and then go and do those things that I've always wanted to do.”
Three offices. One powerful system.
After shifting to Follow Up Boss and beginning to grow the team further, Carrie was once again ready to take Changing Latitudes to the next level.
They opened their second office in north Dallas and their third in the Gulf Coast area of Florida in 2022. But they’re not expanding for the sake of growth alone. Carrie and Dave’s top priority is to create a place where agents love to work, and it shows in their day-to-day workflows.
Training and onboarding
One of the key tools that set up Carrie’s agents for success is what she calls “Changing Latitudes University.”
The team uses Trainual to provide a built-from-scratch library of videos and resources for their agents. From Follow Up Boss tutorials to contracting best practices, new and experienced agents can refresh the skills in their toolkits.
For a brokerage that spans multiple locations across two states, it’s especially important to cover the nuances of each area. The team’s resources offer invaluable training to agents in both Florida and Texas.
Beyond self-service training, the team also gathers for hands-on team sessions. Morning huddles with the agents each day let them check in and set goals or run through a quick client roleplay.
Along with weekly team meetings via Zoom, twice-monthly in-office “Masterminds” provide in-depth topical training for the entire team. Masterminds allow Changing Latitudes to dive deeper into more complex parts of agents’ day-to-day from start to finish. They also offer a discussion-oriented environment where agents can safely ask questions.
Being in-person together fosters the kind of team culture Carrie strives for. Agents are excited to catch up and share the wins and struggles of real estate that their teenagers or spouses might not relate to.
Like many real estate teams, Changing Latitudes’ leads come from a variety of sources.
Not only does Follow Up Boss allow them to bring all of those prospects into one system, it helps them create custom workflows for agents depending on which of their lead sources it came from:
- Zillow Flex
- AgentFire via their website
Here’s a breakdown of how those leads get assigned. Leads from Zillow Flex go to whoever answers the phone first. Realtor.com leads are first-to-claim as well.
HomeLight’s program posed a unique challenge, but with a creative workaround, those leads come straight into Follow Up Boss too.
“Our goal for whatever source — if it's coming directly from our website, if it's coming from Fast Expert or a postcard, whatever it is — it's going into Follow Up Boss to each agent,” explains Carrie.
It takes a village to make sure leads get the follow-up and nurturing they need. And Carrie’s team takes a unique approach to this process.
- First, a lead is assigned to an agent in Follow Up Boss.
- The agent makes the first outreach attempt — and follows up when needed.
- Once the agent has made about five attempts with no response, one of the team’s ISAs jumps into action.
- From there, ISAs keep an eye on all activity in Follow Up Boss. They help to revive leads’ interest when possible and make sure no prospects fall through the cracks.
- Lead nurture isn’t left to agents’ busy schedules. Instead, ISAs use Follow Up Boss to change the lead’s stage when applicable or put them on an Action Plan for the longer term.
Carrie learned this better approach through trial and error. When new agents would come onto the team hungry and aggressive, they often claimed more leads than they knew what to do with — leading to a severe lack of conversions and contracts.
"There was a time when we were getting so many leads coming in, but we can’t expect a new agent that just got their license to be working a hundred leads a month… It’s just throwing money out the window and we needed to fix it."
The key was to focus on driving actual business for new agents — not just lead count.
With a new-and-improved onboarding process and productive collaboration in Follow Up Boss, Carrie and Dave are now confident that each new lead will get the nurturing they need.
Managing multiple locations
With agents in both Florida and Texas, Carrie has had to put a lot of thought and care into her team’s processes.
But rather than maintaining separate systems, Follow Up Boss has allowed them to manage multiple locations within not only one system, but also a single account.
Carrie has set up each Changing Latitudes office as its own team in Follow Up Boss: a Texas team, an Orlando team and a Gulf Coast team. These divisions allow for segmented and streamlined workflows and routes leads by region.
“It is just really organized. Follow Up Boss has been really good about separating our different locations,” says Carrie.
The team has separate websites through AgentFire for each location and target newsletters for each distinct audience.
“I want to be that local expert, so when you go on there, you can say, ‘Okay, I know exactly where they sell,’” Carrie explains.
In all aspects of branding, Carrie’s goal is to be different in what she calls a “sea of sameness,” and Follow Up Boss helps her do just that.
Continuing to crush it
As has always been the case for Changing Latitudes, team culture comes first. While that priority is evident day in and day out, it’s especially apparent with the legendary Changing Latitudes team retreat.
Each year, Carrie and Dave rent a multi-bedroom house at Margaritaville Resort where they and the team spend time learning and training, as well as simply enjoying time with agents and their families over pool time and of course, a huge meal. It’s a great way to celebrate together — but the expanding team is expected to outgrow this approach soon.
“I’m not sure what we’re going to do next, but it’s just a lot of fun,” Carrie says with a smile.
Of course, it’s not all lounging by the pool for this high-performance team. When it comes to their business, they’re absolutely crushing it.
The team at Changing Latitudes has consistently received recognitions like Homesnap’s Top 5% Award (First Half of 2021), Top Agent award by Fast Expert in multiple areas of Orlando (2022), and are considered a 5-Star Premier Zillow Agent.
And expansion efforts are only continuing! Carrie is laser-focused on recruiting: She’d like to have 25 more agents by the end of the year.
Carrie, Dave, and the team at Changing Latitudes have provided consistent excellence, growing from just a handful of agents to three locations and more than 20 team members. We can’t wait to see where they go (and how they grow!) next.