How Brokers Can Support One Another

No one understands the unique challenges of running a brokerage like another broker. Invest in relationships and build rapport with other brokers so you have a support system.
Two businesswomen sitting down, talking to one another about the challenges of their businesses

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In the wake of the announcement of the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) lawsuit settlement on March 15, Erin Cestero, San Antonio Division President of JB Goodwin REALTORS ®, contacted other top brokers in her area. They met to discuss how best to communicate their value proposition to consumers and help address their questions about the role of real estate professionals. Cestero left the session more confident and recommended that her board begin holding similar meetings regularly.

The Broker Power Hour hosted by NAR and various local and regional meetups among brokers, has long been a source of education and camaraderie. Here are some other ways brokers can bolster each other and the industry.

Meet for Lunch

Once a month, Cestero breaks bread with another local broker to share ideas. “Think about how often we pick up the phone when we have concerns in transactions,” she emphasizes. “It’s easier to solve problems if I have a rapport with another broker.”

Distribute Resources

Brokers can support each other by sharing best practices and tools, notes Leigh Brown, broker-owner at One Community Real Estate® in Concord, N.C. “If there’s an update coming from the state legal counsel, I’ll text my fellow brokers about it.” She might say, “I found this great framework for a policy and procedures manual. I’d love for you to have access to it as well.”

Become Active in Associations

“One of my regrets is not getting involved with associations sooner,” Brown admits. “I thought I was on my own and had to behave that way. And when I found the associations and the caliber of my fellow professionals, it elevated my business.” In the future, she feels broker communication will be even more critical. “You don’t need to be lonely and isolated—the industry can be collaborative and healthy.”

Karen Hatcher, CEO and Head Broker at Sovereign Realty & Management in Atlanta, GA, agrees. An active member of NAR’s broker engagement committee, she recommends participating in local, state and national associations (including broker councils). Attend events, seek out broker tracks and suggest topics for conferences to cover, she adds.

Mentor Each Other

“As an independent broker, I lean on my broker network—and have since I became a broker,” says Hatcher. “If I’m taking on business outside of my area of expertise, I’ll have someone counsel me through it.” For instance, she currently relies on a broker operations coach to help her set up her operations, from software to policy manuals and connectivity. Whether the mentorships are formal or informal, Hatcher reaches out to experts to help her flesh out her ideas. For instance, when she was considering getting involved in association management, she asked a broker colleague how they thought it would impact her company.

Be Open and Empathetic

“I see a better level of communication between brokers now, which I attribute partly to fewer listings and brokers having more bandwidth,” observes Brown, “We’re doing a better job of taking care of each other as humans. When you go to a lunch, open house or event, you see more of, ‘How are you?,’ ‘Can I help you with anything?,’ and ‘How is your family?’” By the opposite token, she says, social media can sometimes be problematic because most users post upbeat stories rather than admitting to struggles.

Discuss What Works—and What Doesn’t

Don’t miss social gatherings at conferences, says Hatcher, noting, “You get ideas from these random conversations.” For instance, at a broker meetup at an NAR conference, she learned operational strategies from a colleague running two virtual real estate offices from her ranch. “I might have a conversation with someone from another part of the country and tell them I’m thinking of expanding into titles. And they’ll say, ‘Yeah, we did that three years ago.’ We’ll talk about the pros and cons, which will help me decide whether I want to pursue that. Being able to talk about challenges with counterparts in different states and regions so you don’t have the local competition—that’s where the NAR network has shown a big benefit,” she reflects.

…But steer clear of certain topics that should not be discussed among competitors

“As brokers, we need to be sensitive to the risk of legal liability,” Brown warns, saying she is careful not to disclose competitive information or discuss topics that could veer into the territory of antitrust violations. Do not discuss any confidential information, including pricing strategies, business plans and the specifics of buyer or listing consultations. “Any discussion of these topics risks potential legal liability,” she adds.

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