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David, Goliath vie for upper hand

Can big brokerages meet the challenge posed by smaller competitors?

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SAN FRANCISCO -- New technology can help small, independent real estate brokerages compete with franchises that have become household names by besting their larger competitors in online marketing and customer service.But don't expect the big brokerages and franchises to give up market share without a fight. Many are led by capable executives who are well aware of the changes taking place around them, but who face institutional resistance to change. Once the big-name brokerages unleash their considerable resources on improved customer relationship management, consumers may be more likely to seek out a brand name than an individual agent.Those contrasting views of whether big brokers or small shops will dominate the future were presented at Real Estate Connect San Francisco by Kris Berg, the co-owner of a small San Diego-based brokerage, and Rob Hahn, a consultant who's advised some of the biggest brokerages in the business."I don't see this as an argument of who's better -- there's...