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Opinion: Living in harmony; the brokerage, the agent, and their database  

I think we have a communication problem. Scratch that. I know we have a communication problem. We all know that an agent’s biggest asset, or arguably only asset, is their database. Their business lives and dies by their contact list.  
 
So why are there still so many agents out there who are fearful that, if they use their brokerage’s tech (either in-house or third party), they won’t be allowed to retain their contacts when they leave?  
 
If the tech is built right, an agent can and should maintain full control of their contacts, even if they choose to part ways with their brokerage. Why? Because the systems built properly sync directly with the email service of the agent’s choice (Outlook, Google, etc.) This means that, at any time, they may download their contacts from their CRM and pack their virtual bags without fear of losing any precious cargo.  

It’s in the brokerage’s best interest

It’s also in the brokerage’s best interest to support their agents and their databases. A healthy sphere benefits both the agent and the brokerage — that’s how you drive productivity for agents, which in turn is great for agent recruiting and retention. And that is ultimately great for the brokerage.  

What does this all have to do with communication?

Communication is the only way a broker and agent can get on the same page around the role their database plays within their systems — to truly work in harmony together. 

It’s your job as a brokerage to educate your agent on how it all works, to make sure they know how you are looking out for them and their database. If you can’t get them comfortable with you and your systems, they will not use your system.

This is not only a waste of money for the brokerage, but additionally, an agent’s productivity will be reduced as it’s been proven that CRMs can increase an agent’s productivity by at least 52% when fully utilized, according to a MoxiEngage study 2020.

Explain it in the contract

It’s also possible they are even more of a flight risk since they will search for their own technology if they don’t trust yours. By communicating to your agents in their contract exactly how their database will interact with your systems you can avoid that confusion and concern.  

Agents, it’s also up to you to pay attention to this in your contract and be wary if nothing is mentioned. If there is no mention in the paperwork, ask questions to make sure you are protecting your database in the long run. It’s ultimately not about losing your contacts to your brokerage; it’s about trusting what your brokerage might do when you leave if they have access to them.

Now, let me be very clear that I don’t condone your brokerage doing anything with your contacts after you leave. After all, cold leads aren’t much good to them. But, we know it happens and it’s why it’s important to pay attention to.  

Remember: the brokerage is the fiduciary

One thing to remember — and it’s true at every brokerage — is that the entire reason an agent must work for a brokerage in the first place is that the brokerage is the fiduciary. They hold legal liability for any transaction that happens. When someone in your sphere transacts, it is now legally a customer of that brokerage.

If I have 400 people in my sphere, and I’ve done 20 transactions at my brokerage, those 20 people are now in a legal transactional relationship with my brokerage. However, the other 380 are not and that’s what agent’s need to protect against in the fine print. 

The final leg of this three-legged stool is that, as a brokerage leader, it’s important for you to show true support to your agents by making sure the tech you provide is not only going to help them be more productive and sell more homes, but also is going to keep their data safe and secure. Be the advocate for your agents by ensuring the tech you partner with, or create, is going to hold up its end of the bargain.  

By communicating clearly, between the agent, the brokerage, and the tech partner, you can work in harmonious real estate bliss with more productivity and closed listings for a long time to come. And who doesn’t want that? 

York Baur is the CEO of MoxiWorks, a residential real estate software company.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of RealTrends’ editorial department and its owners.

To contact the author of this story:
York Baur at york.baur@moxiworks.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story:
Tracey Velt at tracey@hwmedia.com

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