Seeking silver bullets . . .

Seeking Silver Bullets…

The changing market has created a different landscape for most agents. It has also impacted brokers. Now, most agents are used to subtle overtures from other brokers. Some brokers scan data for closed sales and new listings. They then either send a card or an email or make a phone call to the agent. It is a smart way to market to those agents that are still active.

When the market was crazy and there was little skill involved in accomplishing a transaction, brokers were busy scheduling new agent training. It must be remembered how brokers make their money. Agents have to sell in order for them to get paid.

What sort of worm gets dangled? I can only speak to the Montgomery County, Maryland market. There are some big players and a few medium sized players and even fewer small or boutique players. All of them are constantly churning the agent pool, seeking to increase their own market share by procuring the services of additional agents. There are limited business models. There are brokers that charge a desk fee and balance that expense with a higher commission split. There are brokers that do not charge a desk fee and offset that cost by offering less of a commission split. These may not be the only models but they are the most prevalent.

The higher commission split folks are pandering to the greed of the agents. They usually compare what was earned under the old split and show how much more the agent would have earned if they had been with the higher split office. The “ no cost to the agent” folks are addressing the basic insecurities inherent in a commission only profession. They like to point out that if you establish a long term performance history, your split will increase and never be impacted by a down turn in the market.

Both models have their merits. Agents are the ones that can not seem to focus on the reality of their individual situation and find a model that works best for them. Most agents want a higher commission split and none of the cost attached. This attitude totally overlooks the cost of doing business. This belief creates a situation where some agents hop from broker to broker every time a higher cut is offered.

Delusional agents believe that if they change brokers and change offices, somehow their productivity will increase and they will be more successful. It just isn’t true. All the self help programs and all the high profile training seminars and systems and all the glad handing new brokers are not the silver bullet that will strike anyone’s failures dead.

Any person that took the time to go to real estate school and pass the course and then subsequently take the state exam and pass already had all the tools they would need to become successful. In the beginning, the broker may offer credibility. The broker may offer more training and support. The broker can not offer success. Success is only achieved through the efforts of the agent.

When things become slow, many agents begin to look outside of themselves for some impetus that will kick start things again. Most agents are unwilling to accept that the failure is their own. These same agents fail to see that rekindled efforts will be more successful than changing brokers, locations or style.

I suppose it reminds me of the relationship folks have with church. Now, understand, I can only speak to the Christian side of things and at that I only have actual personal knowledge of some of the Christian denominations. Basically, churches offer up the 10 commandments as a base line for living properly. The Christian churches add the admonition that we “should love one another”. Members attend weekly services. Sermons are preached and money is collected. The sermons serve the purpose of energizing the faithful to remain so. The collection of money is needed so that the church can pay its bills. There usually is a pastor that is available to perform necessary services and offer counseling to those that request it.

If you fail or if you falter, you can seek help. Help is always there. You have to make the adjustment in your life to get “right with God”. The pastor can not make you a better person. The pastor can not intercede and do the things you have to do for you. Your success is totally dependent on your actions.

It is the same with a brokerage. You may fail or falter, you can seek help. Help is always there. You have to make the adjustment in your work effort to get back on track again. The broker can not make you a better agent. The broker can not intercede and do the things you have to do for you. Your success is totally dependent on your actions.

If times are getting a little tough or if the grass looks a little greener across the street, stop and ask…am I doing all I can do to be successful? Is the lure of a higher split actually only the offer of a dream? A higher percentage of zero is still zero. There are some very good reasons that you chose your broker in the first place. If you peel back the layer of angst, you may find that the deal is still the same, you have changed. Maybe instead of packing your office or begging for a higher split, you might just go take a look at the problem.

The market has changed. It is harder to garner the same amount of business as you had in the recent past. Rather than depending on changing offices, you might be better served to change your attitude. At least read and understand the fine print before you sell your soul for a few percentage points.

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