For some, it is the season to be jolly. But for real estate companies, the recruiting season is in full swing. I am not planning on moving, but any agent who has had real estate transactions this year is the target of relentless recruiting.

Recruiters get my name and address and start sending post cards and e-mails. Yesterday I took the time to do a little research on the companies that are doing the most recruiting and e-mail-dripping. It was challenging because it is hard to tell them apart. They make the same offers and claims to woo perspective agents.

They all offer better commission splits, or even the best commission splits. It used to be a kind of shell game where they offered better splits but added some fees. Now they offer better splits and lower fees and emphasize the point with phrases like "honestly" or "no kidding."

I would have to start a spreadsheet with an itemized list of expenses and do some comparisons to see which company is the cheapest, but that would be the worst way to choose a brokerage.

Brokerage companies tend to offer profit-sharing or bonuses — the extra revenue has several names but it is always tied to recruiting new agents and getting a little money upfront for doing that or getting some kind of a residual off of their sales.

Not all companies offer recruiting incentives, but those that do give it the hard sell and they make recruiting sound easy, but it isn’t. Selling real estate during a Minnesota blizzard in December is easier and more profitable than recruiting.

Most, if not all, of the real estate brokerages claim to offer the best technology around or they use terms like "cutting edge." They offer their agents proprietary software; they don’t give many details about what it is or what it does; and I don’t think they let agents test it before joining.

I am skeptical that it is "cutting edge," or agents would be talking about it. It might be inferior technology with a pretty company logo and company colors on it that agents pay extra for.

I would love to test each one of those programs and technologies for myself and do some side-by-side comparisons so that I could find out which company really does offer the best technology. I would create a test plan and execute it and measure the results.

My favorite is all the brokerages that offer agent training. Not only do they offer training, but they all offer the "best" technology training in the industry. The thought truly frightens me, as I watch so many agents struggle with technology.

Real estate companies use the promise of "leads" as a recruiting tool and they get leads from their "amazing," "world-class" website that is the "best" in the industry, and pass them right along to the agents.

Those same websites are "No. 1" and the agents reportedly leverage them to generate listings. It is impossible for so many companies to have the No. 1 website. Math doesn’t work that way, and neither does the Internet. There is only one No. 1, and no one can change that fact.

I can’t leave out the part about the "unbelievable" work environment that the brokerage offices have to offer. It paints a picture in my mind of a group of agents sitting around and having a good time while I am out in the cold showing houses.

The atmosphere in my workplace is much like the rest of my home: Comfortable, well-lit and with cutting-edge technology, but I would not call it a "fun" or "exciting" work environment.

Agents must be the most gullible people on the planet. Some real estate brokerages recruit or have agents recruit for them and make all sorts of unsubstantiated claims that can’t be proven, but no one seems to question the claims.

There is some evidence that salespeople are the easiest people to sell to, and Realtors are salespeople and we love a good pitch, yet it seems odd to me that so many companies compete for agents by claiming to be No. 1 in technology, training and Internet-based lead generation and odder still that it seems to work.

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