Cooperation, not competition, creates mutual success for agents
When people get along during a business transaction, everyone comes out happier. And in a service industry like real estate, agents have the power deliver that happiness. By working cooperatively, sharing advice and helping each other help clients, agents not only enhance their own reputations, but that of real estate in general.
“Bring everyone together”
Matt Kobelski, with Credentials Real Estate Group in Massachusetts, points out that providing good service involves more people than the party you’re representing. “I’m not afraid to bring together all the parties in a deal and say, ‘OK, let’s figure out a solution that works best for everyone,” he explains. “My goal is to avoid being adversarial.” Real estate, he believes, should always be a field in which each person can win. “It’s about working toward a mutual goal, shaking hands, and walking away happy that a seller sold, a buyer bought and everyone got what they wanted.”
But Is it that simple? Most agents have experienced the ways conflicting personalities and tension during a transaction can heat up even the most cordial relations. In reality, however, it’s more productive to let down your guard and work with others as a team than it is to allow stress and competition to preside. South Florida REALTOR® and broker associate, Risë V. Siegrist, for instance, has zero interest in competing with other agents. “It’s more important to be professional and associate with competent, caring people,” she says. By serving others with a cooperative spirit, experienced agents like Risë set an excellent example for emerging real estate stars. Risë hopes to be a model for the next generation of agents, training people who may one day become part of her team.
Risë’s position on cooperation inspires more reasons for nurturing relationships with other agents. Over the decades, many agents change brokerages several times. Who knows if that agent across the table will one day work at the same brokerage you do? Perhaps you’ll even have an opportunity to partner on an exciting, future transaction. Good relations keep doors open to endless possibilities.
Teaming up with an agent from a different brokerage on a transaction is not as uncommon or complicated as it might seem. In fact, some agents cleverly capitalize on their collective attributes, rather than competing against one another. South Carolina REALTOR® Kimberly Pannit is a perfect example of the universal benefits of co-listings. Although she has always been an independent agent, Kimberly works hard to form professional alliances that give her business the feel of a cooperative network across brokerages.
This cooperative approach may be nontraditional, but it benefits clients in unique ways. By working closely with agents at other brokerages, she shows how agents can improve client service while helping one another.
Kimberly’s cooperative approach began in her own neighborhood, where an agent friend from a different brokerage also lives. “Several years ago, I approached her because both of us were friends with our neighbors. I asked, ‘Why don’t we give our neighbors superior service and co-list together? We both love our area and are passionate about our jobs, the location and schools.’” She also didn’t want to make their mutual friends choose between them when they could work together. “I said, ‘Let’s give them amazing service together!’” With their brokers’ permission, two weeks later the agents co-listed their first home and put extra energy into ensuring uninterrupted client service.
Networking and “Co-opertition”
When the ultimate goal is to match a client with the perfect home or create optimal terms of sale for a listings, networking with other agents can facilitate that ideal buyer-seller match. Nashville REALTOR® and broker/owner Lisa Land embraced every opportunity to contribute meaningfully to the real estate industry and to her local market, even before building her own team. “Agents would frequently ask me for help or advice,” she says, noting that she shares, rather than guarding, the methods she uses to get through difficult or confusing transactions. “I was fortunate to have great mentors when I started in real estate, so I’m always willing to offer help, even to agents outside of The Luxe Collective.”
Meanwhile, on Cape Cod in Massachusetts, Janet Leigh Scott describes the climate between agents as relaxed and professional. “While the real estate market is highly competitive, we’re truly a ‘co-opertition’ market; agents work together and a have greater sense of community than you might experience in off-island brokerages,” Janet says. “If I have buyer coming into town, I’ll reach out to agents I’ve done transactions with to ask if they have anything coming up that might not be on the market yet.”
Even in hot, competitive L.A. real estate, independent agents such as Andrej Nagy of The Agency RE knows the importance of receiving and providing professional mentorship. “My relationships with clients are extremely important,” he says. “But my relationships with agents on the other side of a deal are also important.” For REALTORS® like him, working smoothly with other agents is a privilege. Doing so builds rewarding relationships while ensuring win-win transactions for everyone at the closing table.