I thought it would be appropriate to follow up on my post last week, “What Agents Really Want“. I mostly wrote about what I don’t want or need. The point of the post was that we are always being recruited, but I am less than impressed with what the recruiters are advertising. I am not looking for a family, team or social life. I have all of those things, but I do have business needs.
I want to paid as soon as possible after a closing and if something goes wrong I want my broker, or someone from my office to play the roll of bill collector. I don’t want to have to call other brokers and argue with them for my check. I want my paycheck to be treated with respect. It should be understood that I sell real estate to pay the bills and I am the one who brings the money into the office. Without me there is no payday. I already worked for the money and earned it, don’t make me work for it again.
Stay out of My way
If a brokerage can’t offer me anything that is going to help me sell real estate they should stay out of my way. Don’t set up cumbersome systems and make me use them to get paid. I honestly just want to sell real estate. If I say no to some product or service offered by the brokerage I have a business reason for doing so. Don’t try to cram it down my throat becasue it brands your business. I will brand your business with every for sale sign I have out there and your logo will appear in my ads, on my business cards, web site and blog. That should be enough advertising for you from me.
Let me create, and innovate. Stay out of my way, don’t slow me down and don’t discourage me. When I fail, I’ll just try again. I am motivated, creative and intelligent. Don’t try to stifle it, harness it, encourage it. Brain storm with me. Talk to me. Stop preaching to me. I can’t be converted, it isn’t worth your time and energy to try.
Even though I have a brokers license myself and take classes to keep up on legal forms I would like your help. Go over my contracts with a fine tooth comb. If there is a way I can write a better contract I want to know about it and I also want to know the reasons so I can explain it to my clients. I can make a mistake. I appreciate having someone review my contracts. One brokerage I worked with didn’t really seem to have an interest in contracts. I asked how I was doing and was told they were perfect. After I got my brokers license I learned that my contracts were not all that great.
Respect my paperwork. refrain from losing it or messing it up. Take care with that earnest money check. I am the one that gets to explain to the client that it was lost.
Listen to me
I am open to new ideas, but I would like to be listened to. I have ideas and I know what my business needs. There are many ways to run a successful real estate practice. Maybe I have an idea that could help all of the agents in the office. I am the one on the front lines with the direct connection with consumers. I can bring you information that you don’t have. I also like information. Be my source, alert me to changes in the market but leave out the editorial comments about how wonderful everything is. Just give me the information without the spin.
I can help other agents and they can help me. Introduce us. I sometimes need another agent to help with property showing for safety reasons. I am always happy to help that agent in return. There are like minded agents out there that I could meet with and we could brainstorm and share ideas, and come up with new ideas. I do that now with agents from all over the metro area and the country who represent many different brands. A brokerage could harness some of the synergy by connecting agents and helping us organize meetings and discussions. Brown bag lunches, or continental breakfasts. A group with-in a group. Help us get organized so we can help each other and share ideas. For more valuable than a bar-b-que in the parking lot. If you want to pay for food and beverages that is always OK.
I need little from an office. A copy machine is about it. Paper clips would be wonderful so would staples. I know they cost money but I am worth it. Sales meeting are usually pretty boring and I am tried of outside vendors coming in. You call it education I call it a sales pitch. I hate being sold to. Lets be creative.
Don’t expect me to teach my classes or give presentations for free. You might not have to pay me, you could just reduce a fee or two, or we could work something out. I have a business to run. It takes time to teach a class, and the handouts cost money. Agents will pay for my classes and presentations. If you want to give it to them for free you can pay for it, don’t expect me to. I don’t expect you to work for free either.
The technology used by many of the brokerages is designed to help the brokerage, not the agent. There are exceptions but often the technical training is about using in house products that are cumbersome and may be of limited value. There are some things that we all need, like client data bases and transaction management systems. I would never get my email through a brokerage but some people seem to need it. I don’t have any specific suggestions when it comes to technology. I gravitate toward simple to use inexpensive or free products that I can be tailored to meet my needs and that I can take with me if I leave a brokerage. I protect my data and won’t allow it to be stored on company servers. It is my data.
I don’t want to pay for a bunch of stuff that I don’t use. Give me some options and choices instead of charging me for everything. I can’t even use a real estate office if it isn’t within five miles of my home. I simply don’t have time, and I don’t want to pay for the office.
Where is the value proposition? I can opne a brokerage anytime I want to. Keep your split low and add value to my business. Help me justify our relationship, from a business point of view. My leads come from my own web presence. Your internet leads are worthless. You either make them sign in to search. You slow the process down by processing each lead before it is sent to me. Consumers want a quick response and I am much quicker than you are.
When the brokerage is closed the leads sit out there and get old. When someone comes directly to me through the internet the email comes to my blackberry which is almost always in my hand, or six inches away from it. I respond and I get business. You slow me down. Don’t charge me for a web presence through you, unless you can add value.
One size doesn’t fit all
My ideas in this post will not fit the needs of all agents. Not all agents are the same and it would be difficult to have a system that works for everyone. Brokerages need to make decisions about what type of agent they want, and stop using the one size fits all approach becasue it breeds mediocrity. Maybe recruiting anyone who has a license and can fog a mirror just to get the head count up isn’t the best way to run a brokerage. A smaller group of happy, smart, cutting edge, creative, innovative totally engaged agents might just work better than a larger group of agents. To consumers a brokerage is only as good as it’s worst agent. Set some high standards and insist that they be met. Never forget that the brokerage should support the agents who in turn are should always be focused on their clients.