Starting an independent real estate brokerage is challenging but rewarding. Here’s how to find the right tools and platforms to help.

In March’s Marketing and Branding Month, we’ll go deep on agent branding and best practices for spending with Zillow, and more. Top CMOs of leading firms drop by to share their newest tactics, too. And to top off this theme month, Inman is debuting a brand new set of awards for branding and marketing leaders in the industry called Marketing All-Stars.

Starting an independent real estate brokerage is challenging but rewarding. It brings the opportunity to offer your market an entirely new real estate experience based on your personal brand.

Opening your firm may be the ultimate dream, but building a team and standing out to potential recruits takes a lot of work, especially when competing against established players. So let’s take a moment and analyze the options to market your firm and stand out amongst the crowd.

The indie advantage

Why did you go independent? More than likely, you knew you could provide a better client experience and build a more robust pipeline by doing things your way. That same fatigue hits agents at large corporate brokerages, especially when they are not ready to strike out on their own.

Agents at large corporate brokerages may feel like they are just a tiny cog in a big machine with little opportunity to grow. The best agents know personalized service, flexibility, and community ties drive business, and you can use that to your advantage as an independent brokerage.

Embrace your uniqueness and flip a perceived weakness into the most prominent value proposition.

Lean into that individual touch your independent brokerage naturally provides. As you bring on new agents, you will solely be responsible for building office culture, so taking this seriously and planning your brokerage’s internal brand is essential.

For example, creating a supportive work culture will naturally attract agents looking for a more nurturing and collaborative environment. Plus, agents are more likely to leave a sizable corporate brokerage if they see the positivity you’ve built and feel undervalued or unsupported at their current brokerage.

Show your flex

Unlike larger multi-branch brokerages, you have a lot of flexibility around commission and any office fees. You naturally lack the overhead of a large corporation and can pass some of those savings onto your agents, especially those who are bringing a solid book of business.

You also have the option to be flexible with services and tools. Offering a flexible work environment, coaching, and continuing education opportunities are easy ways to make your brokerage stand out.

While large brokerages may have the advantage of established technology resources, this can largely be offset or improved. Independent brokerages are not stuck with one proprietary technology stack and can mix and match to fit their evolving needs.

As most systems offer flexible pricing and plans, you can experiment as new channels open up. Finally, agents want tools that enhance their productivity or increase their bandwidth instead of being forced to use often inefficient tools that larger brokerages offer.

Find the right tools

As long as you understand you must invest in the right tools and platforms, you are well on your way to providing a similar level of support as large corporate brokerages.

There are a few recurring themes here, but it all boils down to this: Your uniqueness is your value proposition, while its focus is to offer agents a better experience and provide them the same care, respect, and duty you have for your clients.

For large corporate brokerages, it can be much more challenging to give the same level of high touch and individual compassion due to their nature. An inflexible work environment or technology stack may limit even the best teams within those brokerages. Never be afraid to voice against those practices and flaws.

After all, you started a brokerage because you know your particular brand works, so embrace it.

Jim Turner is CEO of the Brokerkit growth platform for real estate brokers. Connect with Jim on Facebook and Linkedin.

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