Watkins figures he and his team need to sell at least 20 homes a month to keep the lights on. That’s no small nut to crack for six salespeople in a modest market like Hattiesburg, Miss. But motivation is not a problem. Every year, Watkins and partner DeLois Smith set an annual goal for the team. The carrot? A free vacation for every team member and a loved one. Destinations have included New York, Hawaii, and Paris. Watkins and Smith figure it’s the least they can do considering the sacrifices practitioners—and their families—make each year.
BUCKING CONVENTION: Team members are employed by the company and paid base salaries plus bonuses. The arrangement fosters efficiency through tighter management of salespeople and their schedules.
HEIR APPARENT: Watkins, who closed 57 transaction sides worth nearly $11 million last year, began working part-time for Smith in 1999 while still in college. “I just wanted to gain business experience [but] DeLois apparently had other ideas when she met me,” he says.