Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

The American GeniusThe American Genius

Business Marketing

Its All About the Broker!

photo credit


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.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

Notorious Brokers

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?

Broker Culture

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”.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

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.

Greener Grass

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.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

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.

Written By

Matthew Rathbun is a Virginia Licensed Broker and Director of Professional Development for Coldwell Banker Elite, in Fredericksburg Virginia. He has opened and managed real estate firms, as well as coached and mentored agents and Brokers. As a Residential REALTOR®, Matthew was a high volume agent and past REALTOR® Rookie of the Year & Virginia Association Instructor of the Year. You can follow him on Twitter as "MattRathbun" and on Facebook. Matthew's blog is TheAgentTrainer.com.

10 Comments

10 Comments

  1. Bob

    September 4, 2008 at 2:26 pm

    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.

    it’s all about risk to reward for most of these brokers.

    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.

    If these brokers fully appreciated the fact that law firms are gearing up to take a whack at brokers over the next few years, maybe they would get the correlation between managing agents and reducing risks.

  2. Bob

    September 4, 2008 at 2:27 pm

    Oh how I wish there was a preview or edit feature for the typing impaired.

  3. Glenn in Naples

    September 4, 2008 at 3:03 pm

    Matthew – an observation about brokers. There are brokers which are highly successful salespersons and become brokers and open their own office(s). The other brokers could be highly successful salespersons and have really great BUSINESS and MANAGEMENT SKILLS.

    Do you think that maybe some thought should be given to the idea of brokers doing a self assessment as to where their true skills lie?

    Also, can’t there individuals that say “if it isn’t broke don’t fix it” or “let’s build a better mousetrap.”

  4. Poppy Dinsey

    September 4, 2008 at 3:03 pm

    Great post Matt, it’s amazing how bad (in any industry) managers can be. And how tolerant managers can be of bad staff too! I can’t stand people that reach management level and then think they can kick back and let their minions run around for them, managers should be working their butts off and nurturing their staff.

    But setting aside the good points you make….was I the inspiration for your Supernanny theme? 😉

  5. Matt Wilkins

    September 4, 2008 at 3:13 pm

    I think part of this post can be related back to Teresa Boardman’s post. Yes it is the Broker’s job to create an atmosphere where agents can flourish but it is also in the agent’s best interest to choose a brokerage environment best suited to his or her business style and goals.

    For over 4 years I worked for (and paid dues to) a brokerage where I felt downright disappointed in the services/support offerred. I never swtiched because none of the other firms in town offered a much idfferent value proposition. When I formally resigned my Broker was not at all upset or phased. He wished me luck and gave me a thank you for being one of the best agents to deal with. My reasons for leaving were known but both of us knew they would not be addressed at that firm anytime soon.

    I have since obtained my broker license and after some trial and error am now in a place that suits my personal style and will allow me to position myself in the current and future market.

  6. Matt Thomson

    September 4, 2008 at 3:23 pm

    I guess I’ve been fortunate to have worked in two great offices with 2 great brokers. I’ve never experienced all the negatives so many seem to have against brokers.
    Same with my lender…I hear so much bad mouthing of lenders from real estate agents, and I’ve seen transactions go bad from the outside, but I’ve never once had my lender drop the ball.
    Knowing that there are good ones out there, it makes me wonder how bad ones stay in business. Seems like it shouldn’t be that hard for us all to find the good ones.

  7. Matthew Rathbun

    September 4, 2008 at 5:39 pm

    @LaniAR – As always… thanks for fixing me!

    Bob – don’t worry, I am always regretting my typing when commenting… Yes, the ever presence threat of legal action should be an eye opener. However, too many brokers don’t see it as a reality until it happens.

    Glenn – I’m with ya! I honestly don’t think that the skills that make you a good agent always translate to making you a great broker. The mentality of servant leadership that is needed for a broker is much different than working for yourself.

    Poppy – I am sure at some point you’ll be my inspiration for a post, but sadly no. I started this a few days ago and as I was picking it back up I had just watched http://www.thesnarkygirls.blogspot.com and put it all together 🙂

    Matt W – Unfortunately Brokers have just accepted lack of loyalty as part of business. Like I said, I regretted leaving where I was. I had no idea how good I had it, till I left. If I weren’t working in education and went back to listing / selling; I’d be ME.inc I don’t want to work for anyone else and really don’t want others working for me…

    Matt T – Having the right team (i.e. attorney, broker, lender) is a great find! Glad that you’ve had good role models. Hopefully, you’ll take good notes and emulate those folks when you open your own shop, some day.

  8. Brad Nix

    September 5, 2008 at 5:47 am

    Matt R:

    I think the best point you made was, “Agents and Brokers need to find their harmony.” There is no ONE answer for brokers and agents. Every brokerage is different, even under the same branding. People are unique and their management styles and sales techniques will all have idiosyncracies that can make or break a brokerage firm. Finding the right combination of leadership, resources, culture, personalities, and value is a tough task for agents, but one worth doing right!

  9. Jennifer Broadley

    October 3, 2009 at 2:21 am

    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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

AdBlocker Message

Our website is kept FREE to you by displaying online ads to our visitors. Please consider supporting us by disabling your ad blocker OR subscribing to our email newsletter: https://theamericangenius.com/get-american-genius-newsletter/

The
American Genius
news neatly in your inbox

Subscribe to our mailing list for news sent straight to your email inbox.

Advertisement

KEEP READING!

Business Entrepreneur

(ENTREPRENEUR) You and your business partner(s) are in a close relationship, and just like a marriage, negative emotions may play a role in the...

Business News

(BUSINESS) Having a mentor in business can improve your chances of success, and for some less obvious reasons than you may expect.

Opinion Editorials

(EDITORIAL) America runs on Dunkin'? More like America runs on burn out and caffeine for steam. We all need to get over being busy,...

Business Entrepreneur

(ENTREPRENEUR) Nice guys finish last isn't only a common phrase in the dating world, but also in the professional world, and here's why.

The American Genius is a strong news voice in the entrepreneur and tech world, offering meaningful, concise insight into emerging technologies, the digital economy, best practices, and a shifting business culture. We refuse to publish fluff, and our readers rely on us for inspiring action. Copyright © 2005-2022, The American Genius, LLC.