I know, I know
Before we even get into this post, I know that my observation is not an absolute. I am trying to pre-empt the inevitable comment “This isn’t true for my company” that comes across every time someone shares an observation. So, for all of you who live in a never-never land, you can stop reading IF you think that your broker has nothing to do with how successful you are or how you’re regarded as a professional.
How does Supernanny relate to your Broker?
Jo Frost is THE Supernanny on television. For those who have watched the show even once, you know that the show starts off with a pack of unruly, rambunctious, annoying and disobedient children. Luckily for all of us, within 45 minutes Supernanny or one of the “supermodels” from Nanny 911 will come in and fix this family for life. They maintain their white-picket fence and live happily ever after. What we actually see is that (wait for it….) if the PARENTS are engaging, involved, disciplined, and well… “parents” the children’s behavior changes and they begin to become more socially acceptable and tolerable.
I would love to do a TV show on HGTV called “SuperBroker” wherein a proven-consultant comes into a typical (yes, I said typical) brokerage and puts the house in order.
On July 1, 2008 Virginia required all agents, with Broker’s licenses, to take an additional 8 hours of continuing education directed toward Brokerage Management. The whining across the state was endless – as if being required to be more educated, than those agents you manage, were a punishment.
However, the Brokers have rallied and starting taking advantage of the training. I’ve had the opportunity to teach a variety of topics all over the state, for brokers. In teaching those classes I’ve found a large number of great Brokers out there, however I’ve found a few who just don’t seem to get “it”. Especially when I teach trends and technology classes.
I’ve also been reviewing trends in Ethic complaints and Real Estate Board Actions. It seems that it’s a lot of the same Brokerages getting more than their fair share of “attention”. Over and over we see a lot of the same names. There are those Brokerage names that seem to be heard over and over again when agents make comments in training classes and around the cooler. Squared-away agents tend to cringe when they hear an offer is coming from one of these Brokerages.
Do you work for cringe inspiring Broker!?!? Would you know if you did?
I managed for two years, but it was enough to know what I was good at and what I wasn’t. I was not tolerant with whining or apathy, but I would dedicate tons of effort into agents who wanted to learn and succeed. I wasn’t a motivator, per se. If making a six figure income wasn’t enough motivation for you – I was happy to send your license back to the Real Estate board. Luckily, my friend and company owner was a fantastic motivator and we made a good team. Knowing this information helped us create a brokerage culture where the agents clearly knew who to go to when they needed a “swift kick” or a “new technique”.
Often in these classes, I hear a lot of resistance to change. I don’t think that resistance is cultural, as much as a lack of time. Therefore we encourage agents to have people in their offices that are particularly good at new techniques and use them to supplement where the broker maybe lacking.
Recently I had a Broker, in a class, ask why I thought Blogging was imporant. She commented that failed to see attorneys, OBGYN, or other professionals blogging about their practices. Uh, really!?!? would you WANT to read about an OBGYN’s practices!?! As for doctors and attorneys in general – we have to stop comparing our industry to others. It’s just different. A Broker who tries to run their company like a Doctor’s office is going to fail. But this is one more sign to support my observation. Brokers need to know the world of Real Estate and how it works.
Not all agents are cut out to be 2.0 agents or 1.0 agents. However they should all strive be 1.5 agents. That means the Brokers need to know enough of what has failed or succeeded in the past, as well as a healthy dose of vision, for what will be our future.
I made a mistake about three years ago, that I see a number of agents making today. They are switching companies from what is comfortable in the hopes that something new will make them a millionaire. I left a good company, where the owner had become a great friend to try and be more trendy and it did not go well with me. The new broker was great, but the culture of the office did not make a good fit. The freedom I had in the previous company was gone and a Lemming, I am not. It put my career a full year behind where I should have been and cost me a lot of money.
Too many agents are not really doing a good assessment of where they are where they are going. Several are leaving good solid companies for those who have crummy brokers buy great profit sharing benefits or leaving a good profit sharing company for more “independence” only to find that they are failing at the new company, as well. Only now their failures are for different reasons.
Agents and Brokers need to find their harmony. Agents should put their ear to the ground and listen about reputations of the Broker and the ability the have to mesh with this person. If the Broker is unbalanced, controls too much or cares too little, the agents will reflect that just as children reflect poor parenting.
Brokers – grow a backbone! I want to challenge the Brokers to get rid of agents who you know are costing you reputation, time, energy and potential risk; but at the same time don’t neglect the opportunity to take a “bad” agent and see if you can turn them around. Balance and wisdom is key! The time of being afraid of the “top producing agent” is over. Many brokers have found that getting rid of the weeds, have allowed other agents to blossom.