Associate broker, CRS, GRI
DeLois Smith All-Star Team/Keller Williams Realty
4 Willow Bend Drive Suite 2A
Hattiesburg, MS 39402
United States
Mississippi US

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.