Who is the customer?

Letters From the Home Front

Who is the broker’s customer? Some (and by "some," I mean me) insist it is the consumer — the homebuyer or seller. I am not alone. Others take the more traditional position of seeing the broker’s customer as the agent.

Tomato, "tomahto." Who cares? To the extent that the culture of the organization drives the business strategies and tactics — hence the profitability — of both the broker and the agents who fill their cubicles, everyone should. And if we all agree that the whole point of it all is to pay the pizza guy and grow the bank account, all roads lead to the customer.

The sticking point here is that the traditional brokerage model relies on recruitment and retention, plus a whole bunch of training. Alas, we have pretty thoroughly pummeled that horse. And my particular views on this topic are admittedly biased, because I am not a traditional broker, at least not in the sense that my cut of our agents’ commissions are a significant line item in the old Form 1040.