The first Keller Williams Mega Camp I attended was in 2010, right after I had launched the first (and still the only) Keller Williams Realty Market Center (brokerage) in Vermont.
Back then, brokerages were the name of the game. They provided most, if not all, of the support, liability, ancillary services, training, and coaching for new agents and teams.
Individual agents and teams looked to their brokerages to provide a baseline of services and the brokerages delivered.
But what is vital to remember here is that teams looked a lot different 10 years ago too. Specifically, they were generally much smaller than they are today.
A $50 million sales team with 10 agents and two staff members was considered huge! And a $100 million team was almost unheard of!
Brokerages and teams now
Yet, fast-forward 10 years and add on the advancement of technology and the streamlining and scaling of systems, $100 million teams are par for the course.
Brokerages and large teams look more similar now than ever and will continue to move in that direction. In fact, many teams have more employees and sometimes more agents than brokerages do.
For example, my team has more than 60 staff members and 300 agents, which is many more team members than any of my three Market Centers.
Is the brokerage dead?
Does this mean that the real estate brokerage is dead? Not at all! There is plenty of room for all. The symbiotic relationship between brokerages and teams is not in question — they both want to provide a better consumer experience. When the consumer wins via great fiduciary, then everyone wins.
Brokerages and teams simply provide two different options for the agents.
Just like teams have evolved and reinvented themselves over the years, so too will brokerages. In fact, we already see this happen. Brokerages have always focused on providing value, historically via a one-size-fits-all support model for agents and teams.
Now, they will be providing focused and specialized support depending on the stakeholder.
For example, individual agents may receive access to a-la-carte services from a leverage department.
Smaller teams might have leadership training and business growth support via tools, models and systems. And mega teams and expansion teams may lean on the brokerage for recruiting assistance, national branding support, office space, and joint ventures in such areas, such as title, mortgage, or insurance.
I think brokerages will continue to move toward catering to the various needs of a broad spectrum of agents and teams.
From there, they will also focus on creating niche brands inside the brokerage, such as luxury, commercial, expansion, investors, etc., all with specific training, resources, marketing, and more, geared toward the needs of those agents and clients.
The hybrid model
Brick-and-motor brokerages will also continue to evolve. Agents and consumers want a digital experience that is enhanced physically. Brokerages can provide this. And by extension, agents and teams within those brokerages have access to this hybrid model.
However, I think that brokerages will likely cut down on office space and create more of a cafe or clubhouse environment — a place to connect with clients and colleagues, attend training, participate in the company, and community events, a quiet place to do focused work, participate in a yoga class or workout, and grab a cup of coffee.
As the owner of both a large expansion team and several brokerages, I can attest firsthand to what this symbiotic relationship looks like when it is running on all cylinders. It’s a give-and-take.
The brokerage doesn’t have to lose for the team to win or vice versa.
Brokerages provide an incredible amount of value to agents and teams. And when the time comes to expand, the brokerage that lets that team fly and supports it from behind is the brokerage that succeeds.
Because at some point, a very large team, whether they expand or not, simply does not need the same level of support as an individual agent or small team.
The brokerage must allow that large team the room to go and keep growing. When they don’t, and they hold on too tightly due to fear or a scarcity mindset, is when I see those teams ultimately part ways with their brokerage.
And that doesn’t have to be the case.
The team and brokerage relationships that are the most successful are the ones who understand that the relationship has matured and that there are new rules of engagement.
The large team or expansion team will need less support from the brokerage, and in return, the brokerage will require less money from the team to maintain the association with the brokerage. And both parties win.
Teams and brokerages are only going to keep iterating and growing. The real estate industry and consumer demands will require them to do just that. It’s not a question of if, but of when.
I, for one, want to stay ahead of this and maintain the strong team and brokerage relationships that I already have and create new ones where needed.
Brokerages and large teams will start looking quite similar in the years ahead. Both provide great options to agents. And when working in harmony, brokerages and teams both achieve more and succeed together.
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Adam Hergenrother is the founder and CEO of Adam Hergenrother Companies, the author of The Founder & The Force Multiplier, and the host of the podcast, Business Meets Spirituality. Learn more about Adam’s holistic approach to business here.