In this monthly column, Anthony Askowitz will explore a hypothetical Miami real estate situation from both sides of the broker/agent dynamic.
- Successful agents need to feel appreciated, and it is the broker’s job to do so
- Open communication is vital when an agent is considering a rival offer
- If negotiations stall over money, try to think outside the box
This month’s situation: A very productive agent has a generous offer from a rival firm, but really wants to stay with his/her current firm in exchange for a better title, more recognition, a bigger split and better opportunities. (Not necessarily in that order.)
I have worked hard, paid my dues, improved my production every year and now the firm next door has taken notice. I went to lunch with their broker just out of curiosity, but they made me a really tempting offer, including a larger split and better benefits. My gut is telling me to stay where I have been successful, but I have some conditions.
My work has benefited my brokerage as much as myself, and while I appreciate everything they have provided in terms of exposure and education, it is time for them to also offer me more: a more prestigious title, a nicer office, more recognition and yes, a bigger commission split.
Top producers negotiate for and receive these incentives all the time, and now I am one of them. I would hate to leave, but I very well might if my broker doesn’t step up.
We genuinely appreciate the success of our agents and certainly want them to improve their production and income every single year. But we just cannot accommodate every demand, even under the threat of losing a top producer. The latest statistics from the National Association of Realtors show that about 30 percent of all agents jumped ship in 2014; an increase of 18 percent from the year before. This shows a tremendous lack of loyalty, which may be expected from the so-called “me generation.”
The well-known real estate coach Brian Buffini tells most clients not to switch brokers, as it can cost agents about 20 percent of their sales volume in the first year. While a salad bar has many choices, the grass is not always greener on the other side. Agents with rival offers need to carefully consider how much their current office has impacted their success.
How to meet halfway
As with most situations, clear communication is essential. Agents thinking about joining another firm should approach their broker openly, talk to them about direction and goals first, and then discuss financial incentives. Brokers need to make sure their agents, especially their very best ones, are treated well and have everything they need to be successful.
Sometimes a simple card, lunch or special recognition goes a long way toward giving an agent who may be ready to jump ship the appreciation they need. If money is the only sticking point, both parties can get creative: Some companies offer profit sharing plans and recruiting incentives, which can benefit everyone in the long run.
However, if the agent is productive enough and truly ready to walk, the broker has to make a tough business decision, which may result in a more favorable split. Some brokers seek assurances of confidentiality on the part of the agent, but nothing remains a secret for long.
Anthony is the broker-owner of RE/MAX Advance Realty in South Miami and Kendall, and also a working Realtor who sells more than 150 homes a year.