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EPISODE 277 – Tami Bonnell, CEO – Exit Realty Corporation International


Episode 277: 



Episode Summary:

Today’s guest, Tami Bonnell, is the Exit Realty Corporation International CEO and has been so since 2012. She is a speaker at conferences and has a significant online presence, using videos to pass her message about “Being Human.”

In this episode, I sit with Tami, who shares the depth of her work in the Real Estate field starting from the age of 13 until she is appointed CEO of Exit Realty. She discloses vital strategies that have contributed to her immense success so far.

Top Takeaways: 

“Being that guide on the side, if I keep putting the right leadership in front of people, they’ll crave wanting to be that type of leadership.”

– [Tami Bonnell]

“Information without implementation equals poverty.”

– [Tami Bonnell]

“We figured that assets of a Real Estate organization are agents.”

– [Tami Bonnell]

“There’s two things a disruptor cannot disrupt, and that is Skillset and Great Relationships.”

– [Tami Bonnell]

“The biggest thing that I did differently is that I did as much homework on the person as I did on the product.”

– [Tami Bonnell]

“The biggest investment most people will make is their home. And that’s where they have such a big nest egg, so we have to really be conscientious about not just doing everything reactive based on technology and getting reactive based on algorithms. We have to do it based on relationships”.

– [Tami Bonnell]

“There’s such a big difference between happiness and fulfillment, and I think that we fulfill a lot of people’s dreams if we’re doing the right stuff for the right reasons.”

– [Tami Bonnell]

Episode Highlights:

[00:24] Intro

[00:56] Meet today’s guest, Tami Bonnell, CEO of Exit Realty Corporation International. 

[05:95] Growing up in Massachusetts.

[09:45] How Tami started her career in Real Estate.

[12:53] How did you join Exit Realty International?

[14:57] What makes Exit Realty special?

[21:55] The problem of Dehumanizing in Real Estate.

[25:22] How do you use technology, particularly videos, in and outside the business?

[33:07] Tami’s family of Taekwondo black belters.

[34:43] What one piece of advice would you give a new agent just getting started?

[38:06] Outro

Episode Notes: 

Tami talks about Bob McKinnon, Director of Leadership Development at Exit Realty, who was interviewed on episode 275 of the podcast. She describes him as a huge addition to the company, highlighting a program called ambassador training where he brings in people and trains them for two days on public speaking. Rather than be a sage on the stage, he has been a guide on the side to help people with leadership.

She describes growing up in Massachusetts and how she sold her first house at the age of 13, following which she sold homes on-site for builders until she was old enough to get her Real Estate license. Narrating the events in detail, Tami explains she had started out cleaning houses for people to move into when there was an issue with a buyer at one of the houses, and she convinced the builder that she could sell homes.

Even with no formal education in Real Estate, she focused on building brands by selling franchises and teaching mergers and acquisitions. She had excellent business acumen, which seemed to be lacking among people in Real Estate.

Joining Exit Realty was a follow-up to a job she had been trying to work on, and she worked her way up the ranks till she became CEO, noting that Tami was already doing the job and developed a love for it even before she became CEO. 

She describes the factors that make Exit Realty special, which followed a strategy by the founder to research and find out what other industries were offering that wasn’t available in Real Estate and what most agents wanted at the time. 

The first of these unique requirements by people was leadership. Under Bob Mckinnon’s guidance, this fostered the installment of leaders in provinces and states so that there’s someone there that can help grow purpose and productivity.

Another general need was Education, and the company started to create avenues for educational advancement right from the point of getting a license.

The third was technological assistance since, more often than not, the problems were user-based. So efforts had to be directed at teaching specific technical skills particular to Exit Realty and additional tools that would be useful generally.

They also needed help with the details, so a single-entry method was applied for all aspects, and technology is user-friendly.

Additionally, there was a need for a marketing program that can be tracked, so the technology was made to be intuitive. The innovative technology also made it possible for clients to get information about the property and agents. Also, agents could get information about clients interested in a house.

People also expressed that they wanted “Image.” Hence the focus and energy are directed at being the most innovative and most forward-thinking Real Estate company, so workers are proactive rather than reactive.

Lastly, there was a need for vested interest. A strategy implemented was that any agent, broker, or regional owner that introduces an agent into the company, would receive the equivalent of 10% of the gross commission every year for as long as they are in the company. Also, considering retirement, they make 7% of that income, with the remaining 3% going to the company, and following the death of an agent, the beneficiary gets 5% of that income. 

The problem with dehumanizing in Real Estate: Tami explains that a critical technique she applies, which broke over seven world records in sales, is that she does as much homework on the person as she does on the product. “I found out what was important to you.”

Discussing her use of videos, Tami shares she was initially intimidated but understood that part of her job is to show people who they can become. She observed that people want to see human beings, as this makes them feel genuine care. 

Tami explains her view on the pandemic being “Indifference”. The pandemic’s panic has pushed people to distance themselves, and consequently, services to be indifferent to consumers, basically just accepting things as they are rather than connecting more with people.

Tami’s advice for new agents: Do as much homework on the person as you do on the product because when you can walk in and add value to a person’s life, they’re going to remember that. Secondly, regarding “Bringing a blueprint to life”, Tami recommends having an action plan, planning, and ensuring it is a life plan, not just a business plan. The goal is to maximize the experiences for yourself, your family, and your client.

Resources Mentioned:





Find | Bill Risser


On Twitter

On Facebook

On Youtube


Find | Tami Bonnell


Text – 85377-Tami (to get her mobile business card sent to your phone)



On Apple Podcasts

On Google Podcasts

On Stitcher 

Bill RIsser, Bill Risser

Bill has been producing The Real Estate Sessions Podcast since July 2015. Passionate about learning the backstories of Industry Leaders, Bill seeks out established professionals as well as up and coming stars in real estate.

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