The story of how my
10-year old son sold
me on purchasing an
Exit Realty franchise
I grew up in a small Iowa town, which at one time was the train center of the Midwest. In 1892 the mighty Chicago Great Western Railroad chose Oelwein, Iowa as its repair facility for all rail cars and locomotives. The Burlington, Cedar Rapids and Minnesota Railway Company had already made their way into town, so the little city was no stranger to trains. Powerful and majestic engines would shake the ground as they slowly travelled from the big Midwestern cities, to our community, from all directions.
Over decades it became a little city where powerful locomotives rambled through the middle of town dozens of times during the day. The smell of diesel meant money…so we didn’t seem to mind it one bit. It was likely someone in your immediate family worked for the railroad, in a service capacity, or in a business made possible by the railroad and its thousands of employees. At one time in the early 1900’s my grandfather and his brother, James founded Mazziotti Brothers Real Estate and owned 28 homes on the west side of town; quite an accomplishment for an Italian immigrant who had only recently come to America with a few bucks in his pocket. Most of the homes were rented out to fellow Italian immigrants who came to work on the railroad, almost as immediately as they disembarked ships delivering them from Italy to Ellis Island.
Stories revolving around railroading were commonplace in our home, and still hold a place in our home today. To this day, I remember hearing my kindergarten teacher, Sister Mary George, tell our class a railroading fable. Forty-five years later, I told a slightly modified version of this to my 10-year-old son when he asked about my opening a new real estate office. One day my son asked me, “So dad, what are you gonna call your company?”
I said to him, “Well Christiano, it has come down to two choices. If I open it myself I think I will call it Mazziotti Brothers Real Estate, in honor of my grandfather and your great grandfather, Papa Francesco Mazziotti. My other choice would be to open up as an office called EXIT Realty.” “What’s the difference?” he asked. “Well,” I said, “If I open up my own company I will need to build it from the ground up…kinda like a railroad company that has to buy the land, lay the track and pound the spikes, assemble the boxcars and build the powerful locomotives to pull the cars. I will need to train the employees and the people to keep the records of when and where my train goes and how to handle the money. And I will need buildings to repair the boxcars and the locomotives when they need fixin’.”
He scratched his head and looked up at me. “What’s your other choice?” he asked. At that very moment it became clear to me. I thought to myself, why on earth would I try to build my own railroad, so-to-speak, when EXIT Realty already has one of the most powerful and finely tuned operations in North America? EXIT already has assembled a real estate railroad in a box.
It was then when I realized a railroad passenger car can’t get anywhere on its own. It needs the ground that supports the tracks, the locomotive, the systems and the expertise of many. It needs everything that a railroad company has in place, and without it…it has nothing and can travel nowhere. This is exactly what EXIT Realty can do for me, and isn’t it funny how telling this fable to my son, brought everything into focus?
“Why worry about building a
locomotive when the most powerful
team in real estate already exists to
help you grow? Why worry about
your boxcars when they have already
been built and loaded with superior
training and exceptional technology,
along with passenger cars full of EXIT
Realty professionals ready to help you
achieve your dream? “
Why worry about building a locomotive when the most powerful team in real estate already exists to help you grow? Why worry about your boxcars when they are already built and loaded with superior training and exceptional technology, along with passenger cars full of EXIT Realty professionals ready to help you achieve your dream.”
But I needed to make absolutely sure that EXIT was the company they had represented themselves to be. In materials I had gathered, I had highlighted a key point. I was struck by their corporate promise that states, “EXIT Realty Corp. International will achieve the ultimate in success if we all approach real estate franchising from the point of view of the other person’s dream.” So…would they really? I mean, would they really care about my vision, my thoughts, and my dream?
“Why on earth would I try to build my own
railroad, so-to-speak, when EXIT realty
already has one of the most powerful and
finely tuned operations in North America?
EXIT has already assembled a real estate
railroad in a box!”
On May 2, 2006 I made my way to Portland, OR on an invitation to attend an event called “60 Minutes With EXIT” featuring, then U.S. President, Tami Bonnell. This would allow me the opportunity to hear from her, and to perhaps meet her. What happened next is not what I expected. As I was introduced to Tami as an agent considering a franchise, she said to me, “Outstanding, it would be an honor for me to meet with you one-on-one. I would love to learn more about you and hear your thoughts about my company. Do you have a few minutes?”
Let me be honest, in the years leading up to this, I had talked to several territory sales people for some of the biggest franchise names in real estate. Never had any company President ever initiated an invitation to speak to me. Frankly, not one knew I existed.
I was blown away. In that conversation with Tami, I learned that EXIT was the “real deal.” Tami listened…I mean really listened to me. When I described my dream for an office in Central Oregon she heard my every word. When she spoke, it was from the heart. For more than an hour, perhaps longer, she answered every question and provided a fresh approach to the real estate business like I had never heard.
Shortly after our meeting, I purchased the EXIT Realty franchise. But the story doesn’t end there…it was just the beginning. I opened my office on the same day that Steve Morris, EXIT Founder and Chairman, celebrated the 10-year anniversary of introducing EXIT to the world and opening his corporate headquarters. And throughout the worst economic downturn since the great depression, Tami and EXIT has been there…every step of the way. Now, as the CEO for EXIT Realty Corp. International, Tami is still only a phone call away.
Take my train story and run with it on your own. Why try to build your own railroad when the EXIT railroad track has already been laid, from coast-to-coast, across North America? Why worry about building a locomotive when the most powerful team in real estate already exists to help you grow? Why worry about your boxcars when they are already built and loaded with superior training and exceptional technology, along with passenger cars full of EXIT Realty professionals ready to help you achieve your dream.