Yea, I’m talking to you. I guess more specifically, I’m talking to all the brokerages out there and the powers-that-be that dictate how this industry operates.
It seems to me that you haven’t changed in a really long time and sometimes, though I hate to admit it, I’m embarrassed to be part of you.
Maybe it’s time to consider the way the rest of the world operates:
1. Not everybody gets hired. In the real world, people are screened, interviewed and some people never get a chance to work in the industry they want to work in, because they aren’t cut out for it. To the brokerages who hire everybody who applies: stop it. You’re hurting your brand and you’re hurting the good agents who work for you. You and I both know that just because someone passed 3 courses and paid you some $$, they aren’t necessarily right for the job. Stop hiring them and start to move the bar for this profession higher.
2. Have you heard of performance metrics? In the rest of the world, employees have job standards to meet and goals to achieve. What if brokerages took a stand and said it isn’t OK to take photos of a $700,000 house with a phone? What if print marketing had to be grammatically correct? What if phone calls had to be returned? What if there was a minimum number of transactions an agent had to complete every year for them to keep their license? What if breaking the rules came with some sort of real penalty? In the last 12 months, 29 people (out of 38,000 Toronto agents) were convicted under RECO and another 11 people charged. I think we both know that those numbers don’t really represent what’s going on.
3. Sometimes, in the real world, people get fired. There, I said it. We both know that a lot of salespeople do stuff that isn’t OK and yet they seem to keep their jobs. Maybe it’s time for brokerages to take responsibility? Wouldn’t it be nice if the Buyers and Sellers who turn to your brokerage for help would actually have a qualified, ethical person helping them buy or sell? If you asked those Buyers and Sellers, I’d bet they say they expect that of your brand already.
4. If you invested in your people, you’d find you make more money. I know spending a few thousand dollars to bring in someone to train your people seems like a big investment, but what if training actually made your agents better? And what if better agents sold more properties resulting in you making more money too? You’d probably find you’d end up in court less too. What’s the worst thing that could happen if you actually took responsibility for training your agents?
5. Marketing, negotiation and strategy are the key skills needed in this industry, yet they aren’t part of the curriculum. How comfortable would Buyers and Sellers be if they knew how much time was really spent on developing those skills?
6. Stop being afraid of change. Agents have a hard enough time letting go of their faxes and carbon copies. What if brokerages led the way into the 21st century? What if brokerages required more of their agents? Consumers expect this from every other business – why is real estate we any different?
It’s time for real estate brokerages – and the industry as a whole – to take responsibility for raising the bar in this industry. It’s time for everyone to recognize that Buyers and Sellers deserve nothing less.
And to the brokerages who are already awesome (including my own): thank you. You’re leading the way.