The National Association of Realtor’s 2015 DANGER report cited the number of “nominal agents” as a major industry concern. The report’s author, Stefan Swanepoel, urged industry members to, “See each danger for what it is — a potential threat that could impact you or some part of our industry.”

  • If the industry is going to address the nominal agent concern, a logical place to start is with brokers and their choices in the agents with whom they work.

The National Association of Realtors’ 2015 DANGER report cited the number of “nominal agents” as a major industry concern. The report’s author, Stefan Swanepoel, urged industry members to, “See each danger for what it is — a potential threat that could impact you or some part of our industry.”

In the 21 months since the report was released, what’s been done to address this potential threat? NAR is a trade organization relying on dues paying members. It’s unreasonable to expect NAR to spearhead a solution that results in drastic reductions in revenue.

If the industry is going to address this concern, a logical place to start is with brokers and their choices in the real estate agents with whom they work.

We currently run brokerage operations in 12 states. Our brokerage doesn’t survive with nominal agents. We’ve traveled hundreds of thousands of miles to meet them and fold them into our team.

All were established. All with other brokerages. It’s not easy. It is, however, necessary to offer the remarkable service provided by these 52 Realtors.

As we grow to new states, we’ll research countless more hours and travel many more miles to find only the most ethical and motivated agents.

When a prospective buyer or seller contacts us, they’re trusting us to provide the Realtor who will help with each step of their unique transaction. That’s not taken lightly. The broker is the first line of defense.

Although the relationship is between the client and Realtor, many clients initially reach out to that Realtor because of the brokerage.

Based on our experience, here are a few suggestions that will lead to an increase in great agents and producers so they make up 100 percent of your agents.

1. Go on offense

The norm is to sit back and let agents contact the brokerage. Sometimes you get a good one; 80 percent of the time, you don’t.

Dedicate time to research prospective agents. The internet is a valuable source of information. An active online presence shows a Realtor is serious, especially when 92 percent of homebuyers start their search online. An online presence establishes credibility for those prospective clients.

2. Don’t interview, build relationships

Brokers are the front line of defense for clients seeking the best Realtor. Finding the best requires more than a cursory interview.

Proper research reduces the number of prospective agents. Building relationships refines the process.

If eight out of 10 agents you interview will fall into the category of non-producers and serve clients under that brokerage’s banner, doesn’t the brokerage share in the responsibility?

3. Provide exceptional support

If you want the best, provide the best. Agents are independent contractors. Like LeBron James, the great ones can take their talents anywhere.

Providing the support necessary to grow their business is key in ensuring your brokerage is represented by the best.

I’ve said many times; I’d rather have one agent selling $10 million than five selling $2 million. Although that’s a truth that’s built into our business model, it also correlates to the quality of agents with our brokerage.

Reducing the number of nominal agents in our industry will be a long process. There’s no easy fix. Change will happen one agent at a time, one brokerage at a time.

However, with increased diligence in identifying, building relationships and supporting truly great agents, the market will apply the necessary pressure for those unwilling to provide exceptional service to move into other fields.

John Sims is the director of development for Lake Homes Realty. Connect with him on LinkedIn or with Lake Homes on Facebook.

Email John Sims

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