This year, there is one question agents have asked me more than in any other year:
“Denise, I’m thinking about leaving my brokerage for a different one. Should I make the move?”
It’s understandable that you may be thinking about moving to a different office. Granted, this year has been a challenge.
But before you take the big leap, I want you to ask yourself why you’re thinking about moving. Is it for the right reasons or for the wrong reasons? Do you really think the grass will be greener on the other side?
Let’s talk about some of the most common reasons you may consider switching brokerages:
1. You think you’re paying too much.
True, maybe you are. But, maybe paying less at another brokerage would be a step backwards.
Case in point: One of my clients was recently offered what appeared to be an amazing deal to go to a brokerage down the street. He was all set to go when I told him to think about it some more.
The brokerage down the street was on a recruiting drive. They were making the same offer to any agent who walked in the door. I asked him, “Is that how you want to be treated after all the years you’ve put in? Just like everyone else?”
This burst his balloon a little bit—which he needed. He had become all gung-ho based on nothing but paying less. But paying less isn’t necessarily the solution to all problems. You have to look deeper into the brokerage and determine if it fits with your own current success level and goals for the future.
Many agents who think about leaving find out after their research that a move would actually cost them money. In fact agents should think carefully before moving as every move comes with a price. You have to carefully analyze the pros and cons of moving vs. not moving. Many agents don’t realize that while some brokerages appear to be able to offer a better deal but in actuality if you are moving to increase business and become more productive you may actually end up paying more in the long run because of that increase in production. In fact another client of mine recently created a wonderful excel spreadsheet clearly outlining the total fees another brokerage would charge if he were to change offices. This spreadsheet proved that if he continued to do business the way he was doing business then he would end up paying more.
In fact in his own words he told me, “Denise, moving to this office is a great deal for someone who is not very productive and isn’t going to make a lot of money.” So he decided to stay put.
Paying too much is really the last reason to consider switching brokerages. If everything else in the brokerage is okay and it’s just about the money you’re paying, that’s usually a recipe for disappointment if you switch.
2. They’re not happy with something their broker did.
You may be surprised at my response to this. I say, “Good! I’m glad you’re not happy with everything your broker does.”
What I mean by that is that if a broker spends all of his time running a business based on trying to make everyone in the office happy, then he’s not a very effective broker.
A good broker isn’t afraid of making tough decisions, even if it means ruffling a few feathers. There are times he must implement things that agents don’t immediately like.
I’ll never forget the day I sat in on a meeting a broker had with his agents. He announced that he was going to pay for websites and email for everybody. (This was a few years ago.)
He almost had a revolt on his hands. “He’s pushing technology down our throats!”, said one agent. How times have changed! Today’s agents would love that broker.
Now, there is an exception. If your broker is doing something unethical or illegal, then yes you do have a valid reason to leave that brokerage. This is a whole different ballgame and the number one reason in my book to leave. If you’re working for somebody with low morals, then it only reflects badly on you.
3. Someone else is enticing you with a better offer.
It’s fun to be wooed, isn’t it? There’s nothing like the feeling of knowing that somebody out there admires and respects your work enough to make their intentions of hiring you known.
But beware. Enticement can be a trick. It may just be part of an ordinary recruitment campaign. Make sure that if you’re being wooed, you’re being wooed for the special person you are. This means that whatever they’re promising you should be more than what’s being offered in general.
The key in this situation is to talk to agents who have long experience with that broker. Find out how they truly feel. Dig deep and don’t decide based solely on how things look on the surface.
4. Your production is down so you may feel you could make more money at another brokerage.
Production is a very big reason agents switch brokerages. But don’t blame your location until you’re sure you’re doing everything you can do to make more money.
Don’t make the mistake of blaming the brokerage first. Instead, look yourself in the eye and ask if there’s more you could be doing. (Hint: There usually is.)
Don’t forget that when you leave your brokerage, it actually costs you money. Why? Because not all of your clients are going to happily make that move with you.
Many people stay loyal to a brand, even more than a person. It’s not necessarily fair, since you’re the person who has done all the work for them, but it’s nonetheless true. Be aware of this fact.
5. You’re not happy with the people in your office.
This is irrelevant to you and your business. So what if you don’t like them? Simply polish up your communications skills and learn how to deal with conflict a little better.
I treat every person I meet with respect and dignity, but that doesn’t mean I love every one of them. If I had switched brokerages every time somebody rubbed me the wrong way, I would have worked for many different brokerages. It’s just plain silly to let people get to you like that.
In real estate, it’s critical to put yourself at a higher level. You’re the professional. Leaving an office over a situation like that is nothing but biting the hand that feeds you.
Now, what if you have a combination of all five of the above? Then, I’d say yes, in that case you may want to consider an enticing offer. But before you accept anything—don’t look to the other brokerage.
Before you actually decide to switch brokers, look to you instead. What is it that you are responsible for that is keeping you from getting to the next level of your business? Before you blame others or your current broker, look inward to see if there’s something you can fix right where you are. And remember: The grass is not always greener on the other side BUT the grass is ALWAYS greenest where you water it!!!!!
By Denise Lones CSP, M.I.R.M., CDEI