Building a Legacy of Loyalty: Fred Reichheld and Glenn Sanford on the Tool That Drives eXp Realty

eXp Realty is the world’s biggest and best virtual real estate brokerage, so it’s easy to assume that buying and selling real estate is the company’s core driver. But a look under the hood of this 88,000-agent international brokerage reveals a more basic but crucial principle: Loyalty.

Glenn Sanford (left) and Fred Reichheld

It’s such a critical component of eXp’s model that during this week’s eXp Shareholder Summit, eXp World Holdings Founder, CEO and Chairman Glenn Sanford held a fireside chat with Fred Reichheld, a Bain Fellow and creator of the Net Promoter® System or NPS. eXp Realty’s Chief Operating Officer Patrick O’Neill joined in, too.

The discussion laid out in no uncertain terms that eXp is committed to the economics of loyalty above everything. And if that sounds like eXp doesn’t care about the bottom line, forget about it. Glenn and Fred made it clear that companies that rate the highest for loyalty among its employees are the most successful – in customer satisfaction and the balance sheet.

“Those companies with the highest NPS (scores) returned five times more than the others,’’ said Fred, who pioneered the rating system that helps companies gain insight into what brings customers back.

Fred Reichheld finds amusement with something eXp Realty COO Patrick O’Neill said.

Glenn is so keen on ways to optimize tools and resources for eXp’s agents and staff, that he handed Fred’s acclaimed books on the economics of loyalty to O’Neill, who was named eXp’s COO last August.

“Glenn told me to please read the books. My response was to Glenn after I read the first one was ‘I need to run around the block and celebrate. It all started to come together and I started to understand the intent. You’ve given us the playbook on how to continue to build this company,’’ Patrick said.

What is the NPS Survey and How Is It Used?

The playbook is based on the NPS survey. That’s something eXp has been doing since 2019 on a rolling basis throughout the company. eXp asks two main questions quarterly to determine satisfaction. They are:

  • On a scale from 0 to 10, how likely are you to recommend eXp to a friend or colleague?
  • What most influenced you to give us this score?

The first question calculates the overall NPS score, but it’s the second question that’s crucial to identifying how to improve. A 0-6 = missed expectation; a 7-8 rating means we did our job and a 9 or a 10 is a success that can be promoted.

What Direct Results Have Come From eXp Using NPS?

“We’ve implemented a few other things. I ask my team to find out within 48 hours why anything was rated between 0-6. That is how we are able to see themes of frustration or limitations reaching ICON status and fix it,’’ Patrick said.

“Agents wanted to vest faster, we did that. People wanted to collect more points to get cultural awards faster. We did that. We were able to highlight certain challenges that agents were experiencing when they were out in the field or showing houses and they need help. So we created the Expert Care Desk,’’ Patrick said.

Glenn on Why the NPS System Is Foundational for eXp

As an entrepreneur, Glenn said it’s his goal to create visionary companies and technologies to disrupt and improve entire industries. But he’s not a fan of having Wall Street metrics monkey with what underpins the best experiences for employees and agents.

Glenn said, “My most important job at eXp is to make sure professionalization doesn’t overtake the ‘personalification’ of the company,”

“When you’re an entrepreneur dealing with a small number of customers, you’re looking to give a ‘WOW’ experience. If you start to build a team and it gets bigger and bigger, and you start to professionalize the company, meaning you’re maximizing profit and loss but maybe not high on the human touch. That drives me nuts. My most important job at eXp is to make sure the professionalization doesn’t overtake the ‘personalification’ of the company,’’ Glenn said.

Fred said eXp is taking the example of companies like Apple, Chick-A-Filet and others whose goal is to enrich the lives of their customers.

“The highest paid and smartest minds at other companies are there to figure out how to take more out of our customers’ wallets. But Glenn’s use of NPS is what has allowed you at eXp to do what you’ve done,’’ Fred said, adding that eXp’s stated purpose should simply be:

“We love our agents.”

Glenn seemed to agree, adding: “I want everyone to outearn me. I am thinking about creating a legacy and not what I put in my pocket … I get asked ‘When are you going to raise fees and raise caps.’ The answer is: Never. That’s not how you build a legacy company.’’

Want to Read More About NPS?

Here are Fred’s books:


Missed the eXp Shareholder Summit this year? Be sure to register for EXPCON, being held Oct. 2-5 in Las Vegas, where you can attend valuable panel discussions like this one.