It takes at least 2 people to create a relationship, whether in business or in personal life. Those two people may be equal in terms of power, or they may complement each other, kind of the alpha & the beta dynamic duo. No matter what, it is assumed that the two sides benefit from each other and often need each other to be happier and perform at a higher level: 1+1=3.
OK, with this being said, let’s now transpose these scenarios in the real estate business. On one side you have the broker/the company, and on the other side, you have the agents. They are independent contractors, meaning that they work for themselves so-to-speak. They work “with” the company, but not “for” the company. I know it does not make a great deal of sense but that’s the way it is. It’s actually a good thing since it affords agents & companies more latitude to pick & choose who they want to work with.
In this day & age, the relationship between real estate agents and their brokers takes all kinds of forms. Depends on the business model and the culture of each company. Some companies offer full service to their associates the same way they offer full service to clients, buyers or sellers. Some companies offer little in the way of added value, mostly providing, for a fee, desk-space in an office in exchange for higher commission splits. Many are somewhere in between.
Some agents need to leverage the strength and the various services of a company to have a chance to take off and eventually thrive. Some top agents don’t need (or think they don’t need) the company as much to drive their business. I am OK with either-or. I am not judgmental today. The question to consider is always: what is making the phone ring? Is it the firm, or is it the agent? The ideal scenario should be both.
The most substantial and reputable real estate companies have a little bit of an edge, otherwise they would not keep on growing, they would not be as good as they are… And they would no longer be reputable. Some go up and some go down in an industry where you need to reinvent yourself every day to remain relevant to the clients’ needs as much as the needs of the associates.
The good firms are those which cater to those needs and facilitate their associates’ aspirations to go to the next level. They usually offer superior leadership, vision, marketing, technology, training, coaching and a myriad of tools, services and support systems. Those firms, realizing that they cannot do everything, are always attentive to creating the right connections/affiliations/partnerships, to multiply the opportunities to attract buyers, get listings and get them sold.
However, one must recognize that, even though agents cannot be better than the firm they are with, companies are only as good as the agents they have. That’s the value of a happy relationship. Another way to put it is that regardless how good a company is (or believe it is), at the end of the day its success is entirely predicated on the success of its agents. They sell real estate; the company does not. Hence the need to continually try to provide the associates with what they need for them to get better and excel, for their benefit and that of the broker.
Agents and companies share mutual benefits. The best agents, all over the world, are associated with a company rather than try to open their own individual business. The company contributes to their strong identity, their image and their batting average. Agents understand their limitations in a competitive environment where clients’ expectations require more and more financial strength, global connections and all the bells & whistles necessary to run a successful business.
On the other side, it is more and more obvious that companies rely on top agents to carry the torch. Only the best agents can give credibility, legitimacy and effectiveness to any company’s programs. The company creates but the agents deliver. They are on the front line. They are the ones sellers and buyers want and ask for. They are the ones who are liked and respected. They are the ones who are trusted with the task of selling a home or buying a new one.
Know, Like, Trust: the magic words in any lasting relationship. That goes for our agency obligations to the clients, and that goes for the “partnership” between agents and companies.