WAV Group is blessed to work with some excellent brokers. We have never worked for an agent unless it was through their broker. Regardless, we try to keep the agent in clear perspective because agent retention and recruiting are the mantra of the best brokerages in America. Yesterday, I ran across the path of a brokerage that really sucks. Here is the story.
A young family with three children struggled with a stay at home mom who nurtured each babe through adolescence and into first grade. The mother was raised a dancer and supplemented her sanity and the family income by teaching dance classes at night. This is how we met. When her youngest child entered school, she added more part time jobs to help the family. Eventually she found her way to becoming a real estate agent. Still in her first year, she worked as a buyer’s agent in six transactions, procured two listings and sold one. Clearly this gal has skills.
We were sitting together last night when a tweet popped up on both of our phones from Point2, something about a sale on leads. We both chuckled at the irony of following the same company on Twitter, but she asked me about leads and Point2. I retorted with questions about how she generates leads today, how many leads her current listing is pulling in per month, and how she follows up on leads. To my surprise, she said that she did not get any leads. Since I am a “fixer,” she and I set out to see what was broken.
We checked online and saw her listings syndicated everywhere. I suggested some improvements to her profile and told her how to modify the description text on portals to generate more calls and clicks. Then we tested the lead routing solution from her broker. I inquired about her listing and we watched her phone for the lead to come in…silence. After five minutes, still silence. She went to teach class and left her phone with me. I was monitoring email for both of us. An hour passed and she returned. “So, did it come in?” she asked. Nope.
I asked her to log into the Realogy back office and the broker back office to show me where her leads come in. My fear was that she had been kicked out of rotation for not responding to leads. This fear was unfounded. As it turns out, she was fine – but her broker sucks. He takes all of her leads. She burst into tears.
This young mom is working her tail off and really needs the commission to pay for Christmas and is stressed out about her annual dues that are due in a few weeks. She is going to have a pretty frank conversation with her broker today.
Since this is the blog of our consulting firm, I will add some obvious commentary about the lesson that agents, brokers, and MLSs can learn from this.
If you are an MLS, you need to support the broker’s choice in lead distribution even if it is unfair to an agent. Her broker is a jerk, but that is his choice and the MLS should never judge.
If you are a broker, think carefully about your lead distribution rules. Moreover, test the lead generation rules of your competitors. If you have an advantage for online marketing and lead distribution over a competitor, exploit that for recruiting and retention.
If you are an agent, test your lead system. Make sure it works, and most of all – make sure that you respond to leads. It is perfectly reasonable for your broker to knock you out of the lead distribution list if you fail to respond. This holds true on your listings, too. The seller you represent hired you to sell the house. If buyers inquire and you ignore them, it is incumbent upon your broker to step in. The broker is the responsible party to the seller, not you.
Moreover, the broker’s reputation is at risk when you fail to respond to the consumer. Forty-eight percent of leads are never answered today. This is as disgusting as the broker who takes the leads. Average lead response time is over 15 hours – which is equally disgusting. Some brokers may suck, but plenty of agents suck, too.