Archive for the ‘The Lones Group’ Category

Powerful Client Communication Tools

April 7, 2011

This is the third article in my series on powerful listing presentations, where we’ll be covering pricing, communication, technology, marketing, and home presentation & photography.

This week I want to discuss powerful client communication tools and how they will enhance your listing presentation.

Many sellers say that one of their biggest frustrations and challenges is agent communication. In my company we often talk with seller focus groups, and communication issues come up over and over again. Here are some of the things that sellers tell us:

  • “Once I signed the listing agreement, I rarely heard from my agent.”
  • “I have no idea what I am paying my agent for – she doesn’t seem to be doing anything to get my house sold!”
  • “I canceled my listing because my agent promised a lot, but delivered very little.”
  • “My neighbor’s house sold and my agent never bothered to take the time to tell me why theirs sold and mine hadn’t even gotten an offer.”

I can’t tell you how many agents still don’t recognize the seriousness of this issue!  Agents lose a lot of business – especially repeat and referral business – simply because they don’t meet a seller’s communication expectations. And it saddens me to know that with just a little planning and effort, this doesn’t have to happen.

First and foremost, find out how your clients feel about communication. Ask what method will be the most comfortable for them. Remember – this is about their preferences, not yours. Just because you’d rather talk on the phone does not mean that everyone else would. Some people are happiest using email. Some prefer the phone. Some only want to talk to you face-to-face. And some want different communication methods, depending on the issue. As an example, I had a client once who didn’t mind phone calls for simple things like a buyer feedback report. But they expected to have face-to-face discussions for anything more serious, including market changes, price reductions, or the new listing down the street.

If you don’t ask how clients prefer to communicate, you are missing the mark. And when that happens, you’re going to lose business.

Beyond knowing how your clients want to communicate, you need to have a communication plan, and accompanying tools, which clearly shows them what you are doing to earn their business (and their trust!). You must show them exactly how you will keep them apprised of important issues like market changes, feedback from other agents and buyers, and what you’re doing to market their home.

Remember when we spoke about “props” in the previous Zebra Report?  In case you need a reminder, props are visual tools that help you articulate your services – and your value!  Props help show your clients that you do take your communication plan seriously, and that you have the tools needed to follow through as promised.

So, what kinds of visual tools do you need?

1. A broker open or office tour report. Many agents have some sort of a comment form that they ask other agents to fill out about a new listing. But very few agents turn those comments into a visual report for their sellers. Sellers want to have something to look at. They won’t remember what you told them on the phone. And if you need to reduce the price or recommend staging in a few weeks, you’ll have data from your colleagues to back you up when talking to your sellers.

2. An ongoing feedback report. This report is based on buyer feedback – which is even more critical than agent feedback. Typically an agent will call a seller if there is feedback on their home. If that feedback is negative feedback, agents will ‘duck’ this discussion altogether. Tell your sellers that having a feedback report for them – based on unedited comments from buyers – will provide both of you with important and relevant information about what buyers are seeing and experiencing, regardless of whether you receive good, bad, or neutral feedback.

3. A pending-to-closing calendar. You must visually reinforce the organizational skills you provide once there is an offer on your seller’s home. Too often agents believe that sellers know what happens from day-to-day or week-to-week during the pending and closing process. However, sellers tell us that is not the case! They do not remember all of the steps even if they’ve sold several homes in the past. Show them what your calendar looks like, and tell them what to expect.

4. A marketing calendar. From writing and placing ads, to posting online, to building flyers or brochures and creating photo galleries and videos – selling a home takes extensive marketing. Do your sellers know exactly what you do, and when you do it? Do you explain to them what needs to happen and in what order it should take place? Providing a calendar (not simply a checklist) reassures them that you are doing everything you can to market their home effectively.

5. A marketing activity report. Even though you provide your sellers with a marketing calendar, you should also provide weekly updates on what you are doing. If you have ever had a seller say, “…you don’t seem to be doing anything to get my house sold…” providing weekly activity reports will answer that concern in a very powerful way. It takes a lot of work to sell a home – let your sellers know that you are working for them.

6. Samples of all of your marketing tools. It goes without saying that sellers expect to see samples of high-quality, professional marketing materials. You must have samples of your flyers and brochure, your open house materials, and your online marketing – including your photo gallery or a video home tour and how your listings appear on websites. You should have a visual representation of every website where you post their listing.

If you create “just listed” postcards, have a sample. If you send out a client newsletter that features your listings, let them see exactly what that looks like.  Consider creating a notebook that includes not only sample newsletters, but a printed copy of your database. When you explain the power of your database in marketing their home, you add another important layer to your listing presentation.

7. An annual client review. Even though your potential sellers won’t receive an annual client review on a home they are selling, they will understand the value when you say “I want to show you my Annual Client Review. Because I am very good at staying in touch with my past clients, they call me at the very beginning of their home search – which means I often have an ongoing list of potential buyers who may find your home the perfect fit.”

8. A homeowner’s book. Here’s a great way to discuss the homeowner’s book with potential sellers: “Imagine you are a buyer who has fallen in love this house. And on the kitchen counter is a notebook that includes all the details – and answers all the questions that you have. Details like home care and warranty records, the most current inspection report, tax and appraisal records. Neighborhood and community information. A homeowner’s book calms their concerns, so that instead of walking away with more questions, they are excited about writing an offer.”

If you find this list daunting, start by simply creating one tool at a time. Before long, you will have an entire set of communication tools at your fingertips … and a much more powerful listing presentation.

When you visually engage sellers with a systematic communication plan, the opportunity to leave the appointment with a listing contract in hand increases dramatically. And when you follow through with your communication plan, you will have solidified a client relationship that will bring you business for many years to come.

Next week I’ll be covering the role technology plays in the listing presentation.  You won’t want to miss it!

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Fresh From The Lones Group’s Instant Image Portfolio: “Quiet Night at Home”

April 7, 2011

A refined palette featuring soft blue tones, couple with a warm beige, provides the color elements for our “Quiet Night at Home” Instant Image brand.  Created to invoke a sense of understated elegance, this serene design offers great flexibility when marketing properties.

Whether you want to develop a completely custom brand, or select from one of the amazing designs in our “Instant Image” portfolio, we are here to help.

Interested in learning more about developing your custom branded image? We can help with that too! Please send an email to support@thelonesgroup.com or call us at 360-527-8904 to learn more.

Powerful Pricing Tools

March 31, 2011

In last week’s Zebra Report I talked about the importance of having a powerful listing presentation that covers five critical areas: pricing, communication, technology, marketing, and home presentation & photography. This week I’m going to look at the first of those categories – pricing – to illustrate how powerful pricing tools can enhance your listing presentation.

What pricing tools do you take to your listing presentation? Most agents take a CMA … but I actually believe that a CMA doesn’t provide the right information for your clients to get a good idea of how to price their home. Successful listing agents understand – and provide to their sellers — data far beyond the CMA, including absorption rates, appreciation rates, list-to-sales price ratios, listing-to-pending ratios, and assessed value ratios. All of this data can help you predict a home’s sales price.

Not familiar with these terms, or why they are important when pricing? Let’s take a closer look:

  • Absorption rates: The absorption rate shows how many months of listing inventory exist in the market, based on how quickly listings are being purchased, or absorbed, by buyers. This is a key concept, and I’m going to talk more about it below.
  • Appreciation rates: Even if they knew how to calculate appreciation rates, most agents don’t like to talk about appreciation with sellers – especially when looking only at the short term. However, according to the National Association of REALTORS® 2010 Profile of Buyers and Sellers, even with several years of price declines, the typical seller who purchased a home eight years ago has experienced a 24% percent equity gain. Calculate local appreciation rates, and share this information with your clients.
  • List-to-sales price ratios: You need to know this number!  What is the ratio of asking-to-selling prices in your market area? Even more importantly, know your personal list-to-sales price ratio. If it’s higher than the market average, it’s easy to explain to sellers that you are more skilled than most agents at pricing homes closer to their selling price (which often also equates to a shorter days-on-market time).
  • Listing-to-pending ratios: Think of listing-to-pending ratios as a measure of demand. The higher the number, the more demand. In order to get a feel for when buyers are buying, and what price range(s) they are buying in, use listing-to-pending ratios. Tracking this number consistently will give you a strong case when determining the right time to put a home on the market, and what price will likely attract the most potential buyers.
  • Assessed value ratios: Some clients have a hard time digesting “market” numbers and believe their home’s market value is similar to the values provided by their local assessor. If you measure assessed values of recently sold homes in any given neighborhood to their sales prices, you will discover the ratio between the two – and you can apply that ratio to your client’s home based on their assessed value.
  • “Optimistic”, “realistic” and “now” pricing: We’ve all had sellers who were overly optimistic about their home’s value, and we’ve all had challenges with the price-reduction discussion. Using a graph that plots “optimistic”, “realistic” and “now” prices helps sellers see where the market truly is, versus where they would like it to be. Have this discussion at your original listing presentation, and the seller will be prepared to lower their price when faced with the reality of few showings and no offers.
  • Price-per-square-foot: This is a very good tool if you work in an area where there are a lot of comparable listings on the market, and enough sales to give you accurate data. It’s hard to argue price when it’s clear that buyers are buying based on a lower price per-square-foot. Your chart should show the per-square-foot prices of recent sales, active and pending listings, and expired listings.

Remember I mentioned absorption rates above? Let’s talk about that a little more. This is by far one of the easiest pieces of research to do, and one of the strongest ways for you to illustrate the need for accurate pricing.

In order to calculate absorption rates, first determine how many active listings there are in a given price range. There’s no magic to the price ranges – you simply determine which ones best represent your marketplace. Next, count the number of pending sales there have been in the past month in each of those price ranges. Then simply divide the number of active listings by the number of pending listings … and you’ll have the absorption ratio! Here’s what it might look like:

You then round the ratio number up to the nearest “whole” number, to give your clients an idea of how long it will take their home to sell.  This rounded number is the absorption rate.

You can use the absorption rate to help manage sellers’ expectations for market time. It’s also a great tool to help sellers price for the ‘now’ market. If they need to sell quickly and there is an abundance of homes on the market in their price range, they need to be extremely competitive on price in order to attract a buyer. If they can wait a few months for inventory levels to reduce, they might be able to be a bit more optimistic in terms of price. However, waiting can quickly backfire!  If more listings come on the market than there are buyers who are buying, the seller may not be able to meet their timeframe of a quick sale.

When you use absorption ratios, you also need to explain to your seller that there is currently x number of month’s supply of homes on the market in their price range … and the absorption ratio assumes no new inventory coming on during the month. Additional homes coming on to the market in that price range will most definitely impact the ratio, which in turn impacts expected market times.

In order for you to provide the best possible service to your sellers, you absolutely must have a comprehensive listing presentation that includes the data that allows potential sellers a way to truly understand where the market is and how it affects their ability to sell. To provide the level of expertise sellers deserve from you, you must do your research and provide tools that will relate that information in a manner that the seller will understand. Having “props” (charts, graphs and visuals) allows you to clearly articulate what your research is telling you – and provides a way for sellers to understand what it means to them.

And of course, you know from my previous columns that all of your pricing research should be presented in an extremely professional manner. That means listing appointment materials that feature your personal brand consistently through the presentation, from agenda to research to marketing materials. You should continue to develop the sense of expertise that you’re creating through research with every document and detail of your presentation.

Regardless of whether you have the beginnings of a “pricing tool box” or you need to begin building your tools today, you’ll have a huge advantage when competing for listings when you can understand and articulate market data in a visually powerful manner.

Fresh From The Lones Group’s Instant Image Gallery: Investment Portfolio

March 29, 2011

“Investment Portfolio” is a great example of a “layered” look in a design.  The strong color palette features the prominent use of blue – a color that embodies a sense of trust and security.  If you’re looking to develop a powerful image, “Investment Portfolio” would be a great brand for you!  It’s just one of the many options available in our Instant Image portfolio of designs.

Whether you want to develop a completely custom brand, or select from one of the amazing designs in our “Instant Image” portfolio, we are here to help.

Interested in learning more about developing your custom branded image? We can help with that too! Please send an email to support@thelonesgroup.com or call us at 360-527-8904 to learn more.

Polish Your Presentations!

March 24, 2011

Gone are the days when you can simply show up at a listing presentation with data from your MLS that shows comparable homes. Today’s savvy sellers require much more information. They expect an in-depth analysis of their local market. They want a customized marketing plan, tailored to their home and their needs. They want to know they are hiring an expert. And if your listing presentation isn’t one of your most powerful tools, you’re going to lose the listing.

One of my new coaching clients recently shared her frustration with me.  She simply isn’t converting listing appointments into listings.  The questions I asked her were: “Tell me what you have in your listing presentation, and show me what tools you use.”

Before she answered, I knew what the answer would be. Like most agents, she doesn’t have a structured listing presentation. Yes, she prepares a CMA, she has information about herself and about her company, she has sample flyers, and she talks about her website. But very few agents have what I consider a powerful listing presentation.

Here are my ten tips for success at your next listing presentation:

1. Get organized! The better prepared you are, the more confident you will become. Do your research. Prepare your tools. Put everything in order. When you know you are as ready as you need to be, your confidence will come through.

2. Always follow an agenda. Let potential clients know you are organized. Show them that you have a system and that there are important items that must be discussed. When you have an agenda, everyone will be ready for a comprehensive discussion. The beauty of an agenda is two-fold: you won’t forget to cover key issues, and you can involve the sellers by allowing them to determine where they want to begin the discussion.   Their answer will provide you with valuable information about their needs and concerns.

3. Grab a potential client’s attention early. Use visual “props”! Props are simply visual tools, but they are an essential (and often neglected!) ingredient in a powerful listing presentation. I know lots of agents these days think that their laptop is all they really need. While it may seem cool to show your “stuff” on a laptop, even today in our tech-savvy world most people still want something they can see and touch. Visual props will absolutely grab their attention.

4. Have a “toolbox” of props and use them with care. There are five essential categories you must cover in every listing presentation. You need tools for each one, based on what today’s sellers care about. Those five categories are:

a. Price

b. Communication

c. Technology

d. Marketing

e. Photography and Home Presentation

When your toolbox has several tools that cover each of the five essential categories, then you will have the beginning of a powerful listing presentation.

5. Let your clients know how you work. With few exceptions, we humans are not mind readers. We make assumptions based on past experience. Potential sellers may have preconceived notions about how ‘every’ agent works (or doesn’t work, as the case may be). Tell them exactly what you are going to do, when you are going to do it, and what systems you have in place to make sure you do what you say you will do for them.

6. Speak and present to everyone at the appointment.  I cannot tell you the number of times I have observed a listing presentation where the agent focused on one person, and ignored everyone else in the room. It’s natural to focus on the person you have the best rapport with; however, you must focus on others as well.  Part of your success will depend on building rapport with everyone in the room.  Regardless of who the final decision maker might be, you must connect with all parties.

7. Adjust your presentation based on “signals”. Communication is more than just speaking words to each other; body language plays a huge role. If you sense that someone is impatient, you may need to speed up so you don’t frustrate them. If you sense that someone is confused, or is asking a lot of questions, you absolutely have to slow down. A truly good presenter is skilled at reading non-verbal clues, and responding accordingly.

8. Keep your presentation short and to the point. I’m often asked, “But if I have a lot of props, won’t that increase the presentation time?” The answer is a resounding “NO”. It takes less time to explain things when you have visual tools to refer to. Just as illustrations supplement a book, your props will help potential clients understand your point more quickly than words alone.

9. Choose your tools carefully. While I want you to have several tools or props for each category of your listing presentation, I don’t necessarily want you to pull out each and every tool at every listing presentation. You wouldn’t expect a plumber to bring in his entire truck full of tools into your house, just to fix your leaky kitchen sink. Determine ahead of time which tools will be the most appropriate for each presentation, based on factors like the clients’ personality, the market, and the property.

10. Practice makes perfect. I am constantly amazed at how poorly agents present when they’re not prepared. I am equally amazed at how well an agent will present when they are polished, confident and professional. Agents who understand the value of role-play, and who practice their presentation regularly with others, are the agents who will ultimately be hired by a seller.

If you find yourself competing for listings (and who doesn’t!), the way to get hired is to confidently and professionally articulate your value through your listing presentation. Remember this: a powerful presentation will win every time.

This is the first Zebra Report in a 7-part series about successful listing presentations. In the coming weeks I’ll break down each component of a presentation, including Pricing, Communication, Technology, Marketing, and Photography & Home Presentation. I’ll explain exactly what information you must include in your presentation, and what “props” you must have in your tool box. Look for Category 1: Pricing next week!

New from The Lones Group Design Team!

March 24, 2011

You’ve probably never seen a brand quite like Gordy Lindstrom’s.  We haven’t either – and that’s part of the reason we loved creating it for him.

Gordy came to us with the request that we include the image of him on camel-back as a key element in his marketing.  That photo was taken at a spot well-known to Indiana Jones fans, and is a great conversation starter!  Gordy also wanted us to include the Moroccan-based color palette that you see here.  There’s no question that, once seen, Gordy’s brand will definitely be remembered by past, present, and potential clients.

Whether you want to develop a completely custom brand, or select from one of the amazing designs in our “Instant Image” portfolio, we are here to help.

Interested in learning more about developing your custom branded image? We can help with that too! Please send an email to support@thelonesgroup.com or call us at 360-527-8904 to learn more.

Ask Denise: House Flyers

March 17, 2011

Q: With all the talk about high-quality online marketing, do I really still need to provide my sellers with a printed flyer? And if I do, is it better to do a one-page or a two-page flyer?

A:  While your online marketing will attract potential buyers, you absolutely still need printed flyers. There will always be people walking or driving by who want instant information, rather than going home and looking up the information online. They’re clearly interested in your listing and you don’t want to lose them. Additionally, providing very high-quality, two or four page printed flyers says a lot to other potential sellers in the neighborhood about your professionalism.

My bottom line is this: in the sea of ‘average’ agents, you must stand out with both your online presence and your printed materials.

New from The Lones Group Design Team!

March 17, 2011

Because she often works with historic homes, it was important to Sherrill that the brand we developed for her incorporated a sense of timelessness.  Drawn to muted colors and natural elements, Sherrill also requested that her brand had a strong “wow” factor, coupled with a feeling of sophistication and quality.

We’re happy to report that Sherrill is delighted with her brand.  She feels it captures her own great sense of style.  What more could you ask for?

Whether you want to develop a completely custom brand, or select from one of the amazing designs in our “Instant Image” portfolio, we are here to help.

Interested in learning more about developing your custom branded image? We can help with that too! Please send an email to support@thelonesgroup.com or call us at 360-527-8904 to learn more.

Out of Sight = Out of Mind

March 10, 2011

There’s nothing harder than running into a past client and learning that they just bought or sold a home … without you. It wounds your pride, it shakes your confidence, and it hurts your pocketbook. What I’ve learned over many years is that when someone tells me their story, I’m rarely surprised after I hear the full story. Here’s a hint: Out of sight = out of mind.

One of the most important truths in real estate is that you need to stay “top-of-mind” with your clients. You must be confident that when the people you know need real estate services, you are the first person they think of.

People today are busy. They have busy jobs, busy lives, and often they are juggling the activities of several family members – and everyone’s corresponding calendars. When they are ready to buy or sell property, they don’t have time to search for a new agent. If they have one who is already top-of-mind, that’s who they call. People call the agent who is in their mind, at the exact moment they decide to pick up the phone, look a house online, or send an email.

Are you that person?

Agents ask me all the time: “How do I cram one more thing into an already hectic business?”  My answer is simple: You have to.

It’s not your sphere’s job to remember to call you – it’s your responsibility to make sure they call you.

Another question I often get asked is: “What’s the best way to stay top-of-mind?”  My answer is always the same – and a bit frustrating for some agents. There is no magic formula, and there is no one “best” way. The truth is, you have to match your communication format with the way your sphere wants (and sometimes needs) to be communicated with.

Remember this: deciphering their communication code takes a lot of time! But it’s absolutely worth it in the long run.

First look at your database. Then determine the best way to stay top-of-mind with each of them. Is it in person? Is it by mail? Is it by phone? Is it via email? Or are they happiest when they see you at the grocery store?

Here is why this is so frustrating to some agents. It’s hard to put together a follow-up plan – a strategic and effective top-of-mind campaign – when you have so much to consider and not a lot of time to build a plan.

So, what’s the answer? Here are some things to think about.

  1. A great place to start is by thinking about how you are going to communicate. I firmly believe that for most agents whose client base includes a wide variety of age-groups and an even wider variety of communication preferences, a very high-quality, content-rich piece of mail is critical. It’s important that your clients get something they can touch and feel, and that reinforces the fact that you are their best resource for real estate expertise. A high-quality piece also says that they are important to you not only on a professional level, but on a personal level.
  2. Determine your message. Always send real estate-related information. (Note: If you have a sphere that really appreciates the college football schedule you send in August, that’s fine. But I consider that an “extra” mailing piece, not your August top-of-mind piece.) Top-of-mind mail needs to update your sphere on the real estate market. It needs to speak to the trends and news and also provide insight into the market. This piece needs to address the factors that impact your sphere’s ability to make wise real estate investment decisions. For example, you might include important changes to real estate laws. The content needs to include the kind of information that any buyer or seller wants (and needs) to have.

Some agents send a newsletter, and some agents send an oversized postcard. Again, the format should meet the needs of your sphere – which may be different than the format a colleague of yours sends to their sphere. And it should always be designed using YOUR brand. Remember – your sphere may be getting information from other agents in your area. If everything they get looks eerily similar, the reader will think the content is the same too. You have to stand out – and you must provide relevant content.

If you want to make your mailer more personal, consider sending out a quarterly neighborhood review. Collect data on every active, pending and sold listing and provide commentary on what the market is doing right now. One note of caution – do not just send a chart or a graph or a list. You have to also tell your reader what the data means, and why that is important to them as potential sellers and/or buyers. People like to know what’s happening in the real estate industry. They like to be kept up to date so they can feel ‘in the know’.

I often get asked about sending out an online newsletter. My answer is this: If you are very confident that your sphere is best served by an online newsletter, or a blog that you write and they follow, then that’s a good option. However, as I said earlier, most agents have a very diverse sphere. Some folks may not be connected to the online world. Or they are bombarded by email every day and what you send will get deleted along with every other email they aren’t reading. If you have a tech-savvy population within your sphere, by all means customize an online piece just for them.

The bottom line is this:

  • To stay top-of-mind with your sphere, you have to have a strong follow-up plan.
  • To have a strong follow-up plan, you have to take the time to determine exactly who your sphere is, and what your plan looks like.
  • Once you have everything mapped out, make it easy on yourself by setting up a regular schedule that ensures your sphere hears from you each and every month.

Want to go from out of sight and out of mind to top-of-mind? A strong follow-up plan will get you there.

Is the Grass Any Greener?

March 3, 2011

Here is a question that I’ve been asked a lot in recent months: “Denise, I’m thinking about leaving my brokerage for a different one. Should I make a move?”

It’s understandable that you may be thinking about moving to a different office. Granted, the past few years have been extremely challenging. But before you take the big leap, I want you to ask yourself why you’re thinking about moving.

Is it for the right reasons or for the wrong reasons? Do you really think the grass will be greener on the other side?

Let’s talk about some of the most common reasons that might lead you to switch brokerages:

1. You think you’re paying too much.

True, maybe you are. But, maybe paying less at another brokerage would be a step backwards.

Case in point: One of my clients was offered what appeared to be an amazing deal to go to another brokerage in his community. He was all set to go when I told him to think about it some more. The other brokerage was on a recruiting drive. They were making the same offer to any agent who walked in the door. I asked him, “Is that how you want to be treated after all the years you’ve put in? Do you want to be treated just like everyone else?”

This burst his balloon a little bit—which he needed. He had become enamored with the idea, based on nothing but paying less in fees. But paying less isn’t necessarily the solution to all problems. You have to look deeper into the brokerage and determine if it fits with your own current success level and your goals for the future.

Many agents who think about leaving find out, after doing some research, that a move would actually cost them money. In fact you should think carefully before moving, as every move comes with a price. You have to carefully analyze the pros and cons before you make a final decision.

What you may not realize is that while some brokerages appear to be able to offer a better deal, in actuality if you are moving to increase business – and you become more productive – you may actually end up paying more in the long run because of your increased production.

Another client of mine created a spreadsheet clearly outlining the total fees another brokerage would charge if he were to change offices. In the process of doing his research, he realized that if he continued to do business the way he was doing business he would end up paying more. His comment to me was, “Denise, moving to the other office is only a great deal for someone who is not very productive and isn’t going to make much money.” He decided to stay put.

Paying too much is really the last reason to consider switching brokerages. If everything else in your current office is going well and your only reason for moving is money-driven, that’s usually a recipe for disappointment.

2. You are not happy with something your managing broker did.

You may be surprised at my response to this. I say, “Good! I’m glad you’re not happy with everything your managing broker does.”

What I mean by that is that if a managing broker spends all of his/her time running a business based on trying to make everyone in the office happy, they are not very effective. A good managing broker isn’t afraid of making tough decisions, even if it means ruffling a few feathers. There are times when it is necessary to implement things that agents don’t immediately like.

Now, there is an exception. If your managing broker is doing something unethical or illegal, then you do have a valid reason to leave that brokerage. This is a whole different ballgame. In my opinion, it’s the number one reason to leave. If you’re working for someone with low morals, then it only reflects badly on you.

3. Someone else is enticing you with a better offer.

It’s fun to be wooed, isn’t it? There’s nothing like the feeling of knowing that someone out there admires and respects your work enough to make you a very nice offer.

But beware. Enticement can be a trick. It may just be part of an ordinary recruiting campaign. Make sure that if you’re being wooed, whatever you are being promised is more than what is being offered in general. The key in this situation is to talk to agents who have long experience with that managing broker. Find out how they truly feel. Dig deep and don’t decide based solely on how things look on the surface.

4. Your production is down so you feel you could make more money at another brokerage.

Production is a very big reason agents switch brokerages. But don’t blame your company or office until you’re sure you’re doing everything you can do to make more money.

Don’t make the mistake of blaming the brokerage first. Instead, look yourself in the eye and ask if there’s more you could be doing. (Hint: there usually is.)

When you leave your brokerage, it actually costs you money. Why? Because not all of your clients are going to happily make that move with you. Many people stay loyal to a brand, even more than a person. It’s not necessarily fair, since you’re the person who has done all the work for them, but it’s nonetheless true. Be aware of this fact.

5. You’re not happy with the people in your office.

This is irrelevant to you and your business. So what if you don’t like them? Simply polish up your communications skills and learn how to deal with conflict a little better.

I treat every person I meet with respect and dignity, but that doesn’t mean I love every one of them. If I had switched brokerages every time somebody rubbed me the wrong way, I would have worked for many different brokerages. It’s just plain silly to let people get to you like that. In real estate, it’s critical to hold yourself at a higher level. You’re the professional.

Now, what if you have a combination of all five of the above?

Then, I’d say yes, in that case you may want to consider an enticing offer. But before you accept anything – instead of just looking at the brokerage, look at yourself instead.

What is it that you are responsible for? What is keeping you from getting to the next level of your business? Before you blame others, look inward to see if there’s something you can fix right where you are.

It’s always in your best interest to take time to consider all of the issues that surround moving brokerages. It’s a big decision. It’s not one that you should take lightly, or make when you are frustrated or angry. Do your homework and make a change only if it’s the best business decision for you.

By Denise Lones CSP, M.I.R.M., CDEI


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