While technology has owned the real estate industry limelight, a new disruptor may be emerging from the shadows – teamerage.
When RealTrends partner Steve Murray interviewed Keller Williams Realty co-founder Gary Keller at the recent RealTrends Gathering of Eagles in Austin, Texas, Keller flatly observed, “Real estate teams are becoming brokerages. And brokerages are becoming teams.”
A teamerage can be defined as a brokerage that offers a la carte leads and appointments for referral fees at scale. Some would say this is nothing new and they’d be partially correct. Many small and large brokerages have long made leads a core part of the value proposition. However, this isn’t about sign calls and floor time in traditional brokerages with uncapped models. Teamerage is about leads at scale, usually via online marketing or TV and radio advertising for brokerages with capped commission split models.
Teams and tech drive this trend
Driving the teamerage trend is the emergence of teams and technology, which have impacted margins for both brokerages and agents. “Fifteen years ago, teams were 10% of the business,” Keller noted. “Today, that’s 40%.” Any brokerage with a capped commission split model has seen teams steadily consolidate available cap revenue.
Not only are teams more prevalent, but they also tend to do far more production than solo agents. That translates to fewer available caps for brokerages and shrinking brokerage margins. All while brokerages carry all the legal liability.
At the same time, the emergence of lead aggregators has made referral fees the norm. Agents regularly pay 15 to 40% referral fees for leads and appointments generated by third parties. Again, this compresses margins.
For teams, the solution has been to look to brokerages
It’s hardly unusual today to see teams operating with 20 or more producing agents. More agents means more production. The catch is all those agents need leads. For brokerages, the solution has been to look to tech.
Smart brokerages started creating or partnering with aggregators to offer referral leads to these same growing teams. According to Keller, Keller Williams regional partner Matt Green coined the term “teamerage” to describe the convergence of models. Teams are amassing small sales armies and brokerages have sallied into the lead generation and distribution business.
In his final comments, Keller advised attendees to “embrace change as an opportunity.” Running lead generation and conversion at scale is expensive and challenging. The top teams that have mastered these have taken massive market share in recent years. They also run highly profitable businesses. Brokerages who embrace the challenge can do the same.
Jay Papasan is co-author of The Millionaire Real Estate Agent, SHIFT, and The ONE Thing. He currently serves as the Vice President of Strategic Content at Keller Williams Realty, Inc and is the author of the TwentyPercenter, a weekly newsletter for real estate agents who:refuse to be average, insist on an ROI from their time, and want the most from their time and for their career.