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The Big Box Team

There are many different business models in Real Estate.  Here is my analysis of a typical Big Box Team, of which there are numerous in every major market:

  1. There is one team leader and any number of “junior agents”. I use the word, “junior” loosely, understanding that not all team members are necessarily young and inexperienced.  But let’s be real; most of them are.  It’s a common path for brand new agents to join a big team, anticipating that they’ll be mentored by a seemingly successful “mega agent”.
  2. The team leader’s primary focus is to LIST as many properties as possible. The more “inventory”, they have, the better! 
  3. The listings are used to generate leads, which are doled out to the “junior” agents. Their primary responsibility is to chase those leads down and convert them to buyer clients;
  4. No inventory = no leads = no junior agents = no extra commission checks for the team leader; hence the leader’s primary focus – to LIST as many properties as possible.

Becoming a team leader is the end goal for many new agents.  They see this model as an easy way to generate more income without a lot of extra work.  That’s highly debatable.

(I know a lot of team leaders who appear to be wildly successful, but in fact are over-worked, stressed-out, and broke).

In order to keep the listing machine going, here are some typical “embellishments” told by Big Box team leaders, during the listing presentation:

  1. “You’re going to have a whole team of agents, all working together to get your property sold!  And, all for the same commission that you would pay a “lone wolf” agent!”

Reality:  The “junior” team members are not paying any special attention to the team’s own listings, unless one of them happens to pop up on a buyer search, in which case they would show it anyway, and with no dual agency issue.  

The team members typically have no more incentive to sell the team’s own listings than they do any other listing, including the sellers’ direct competitors. 

  1. “We spend bazillions every month on marketing!”

Reality:  We covered this last week, but how does your TV/radio ad, or billboard, or bus bench, or virtually any other form of advertising, help in any way to sell your listings?

The source of information for 99%+ of serious, qualified, active buyers is the MLS system. Period.  99%+ of all other advertising is for the benefit of the agent or team.

There’s nothing wrong with spending money to promote yourself or your business; Just don’t tell me it’s for my benefit!

  1. “Sure, let’s try listing it at that price and we’ll see what happens. We can always lower the price later!”

If your primary focus is to increase your inventory, it’s tempting to accept over-priced listings, isn’t it?

But, we all know that if the client over-prices their home, chances are they’ll end up getting less money in the end, compared to pricing it properly from the beginning.

That pretty much sums it up.  I guess it’s obvious I’m not a fan of the Big Box Team business model.

All the above being said, I know some team leaders who I regard as very intelligent business people, with high integrity.  In fact, the truth is that the average seller would be far better off to use one of these teams to sell, as compared to the average low-information agent.

But, what is the ultimate best solution for the discriminating seller?

I believe that the public is best served by a highly skilled, high-integrity, customer-service-driven individual agent or partnership, or in some cases a small close-knit team.

These type of agents have the skill and knowledge and time to focus on each one of their listings and concentrate on getting them sold.

Rather than being focused on LISTING, their primary focus is on SELLING.  This is a key fundamental difference in philosophy, and it’s why I trademarked this slogan, many years ago:

Do you want to LIST?  Or, do you want to SELL?®

If you're a good REALTOR® and you want to be a great REALTOR®, please explore our website here.

—Coach Ted


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