By Tina Plett
There are a lot of weird things about the real estate profession.
Like working side by side with your direct competitors under the same unified banner. You’re on a team, but you’re also not.
Sure, there’s camaraderie, all of us being members of the real estate ‘sisterhood’, but here’s the thing. Sometimes sisters fight. Insecurities, miscommunication and outright jealousy and fear can cause a lot of problems among humans. Even real estate agents. Even competitors.
We can’t avoid it, really. So, the trick then isn’t to avoid competition or miscommunication, it’s trying to figure out how to disagree like grownups and compete with sportsmanship.
I’ve seen my share of office feuds, both between agents in the same office and agents in different brokerages. Sometimes it’s frustrating to watch, other times it’s heartbreaking to see someone flush their reputation and professional relationships down the crapper for a measly paycheque.
I’ve seen people huff and puff about “how dare so-and-so talk to my client” when the truth is that was never “their” client. (Because first, people are not property to be claimed by real estate agents and second, saying hello to someone in the store does not a client or piece of property make. Rant over.)
I’ve also been to countless meetings with other agents and was met with snarky attitudes, snide comments and outright belligerence. Once I got over the shock of a fully grown adult behaving like a toddler in wingtips, I stored it in my memory as evidence of an important truth – one we all need to learn.
Agents, we need to get it through our thick, competitive heads, that we don’t need to steamroll and pull each other’s hair to make it! We need to realize other agents are our not our enemies – they’re our best customers!
1) They cover you on a day off.
Without some degree of teamwork (or shirking our clients), we won’t get a day off. We need each other. If you expect another agent to do anything on your behalf, you’d best maintain those relationships.
Someone whose client you poached, whose deal you tanked, or who you simply treated with disdain is not going to jump to help you.
2) They bring referrals.
Referrals from other agents is a huge resource for leads. Winnipeg agents occasionally send me leads so they don’t have to drive all the way to Steinbach for a showing. I absolutely want those! But, when I sell a house because of that referral, I absolutely give a referral fee to that agent. I treat them well and reward them for their efforts to work with me. And the people they send my way? I treat them with excellence too. Know what happens? Those agents don’t hesitate to send me referrals in the future.
If I’d chosen to be snippy, cheap or treat their would-be clients poorly, I could not expect that referral source to keep flowing.
3) They understand loyalty.
Some people put a lot of energy into “protecting” their clients from being snagged by another agent. I have a list of problems with this. Why would any agent put so much work into keeping someone who is so apparently disloyal (clients aren’t objects to be kept on a shelf anyway), when it’s so much easier, efficient and rewarding to work with people you like and who like you – clients and agents.
Cultivate those relationships and reap loyalty (and so much more).
We need every office to be willing to work with us – to be willing to bring offers and show our houses.
If another agent thinks you’re a pain to work with, they might just resist showing your houses. They might just try to steer their clients to other options to avoid the unpleasant, sarcastic, snarky-attitude-ridden experience that is meeting with you.
4) Repeat business. Like… a lot.
Another huge reason other agents are our best customers is because they can repeatedly write offers on our listings. A buyer or seller will only do business with us once every few years at the most generally, but a sales rep can do business with us many times.
Bottom line: We need each other. Let’s act like it.