One of the benefits of running your own agency is that you’re the boss and you can decide where to focus your energy.
When you’re starting out, you might choose to keep selling to stay afloat, especially if you’re running a lean operation with a virtual office. As you build up your team and your profile, selling might be something you no longer need to do from a financial point of view.
Yet many principals do choose to ‘keep their hand in’ – selling properties, often for high-profile or loyal clients, and perhaps only a few a year, or sometimes more.
There are a few good reasons to keep selling, even as principal, which I cover below.
Maintain your reputation and profile
In my experience, there’s nothing quite like showing up for your clients to make them feel valued. Remaining visible, with your name and photo alongside a few of your agency’s listings, shows people that you know what you’re doing, and you’re an active and engaged member of your business.
Additionally, clients will feel looked after by your agency if the boss is representing the sale of their home. For high-profile sales or loyal customers, it makes sense to handle the sale yourself as a way of maintaining contact with clients, both old and new. It’s also a great asset to your brand if you are seen as being available to your clients. Many people will ask for you anyway, so it makes sense to be there for them.
It’s also worth remembering that there are many life events that mean people have to buy or sell ‒ leaving home, marriage, children, moving interstate or overseas for work, moving closer to good schools, downsizing, moving to retirement village or nursing home, death (deceased estates), and the unmentioned ‒ divorce. Your clients are all on a journey and if you inspire loyalty, they’ll be ‘clients for life’, asking for you at every stage of life stage, and recommending you to friends and family.
Importantly, being an active agent ensures you to keep your skills up and will keep you in touch with local buyers and sellers. This enables you to make new contacts, and also give you a valuable insight into market trends in your area.
Being a selling agent protects you in a slower market
Maintaining your selling skills and your profile might not seem like a priority when business is booming. But when things slow down, as they inevitably do in the property market, you’ll be glad you continued working with clients and can rely on some extra profit to come your way.
Doing some of the legwork yourself will reduce your operating costs. It also means you keep more of your gross commission income (GCI), which can be the difference between make or break when you’re starting out, or in a slower market.
This income gives you the freedom to work on the business as it grows and the market improves. And alternatively, if the rest of your business is running smoothly, there’s no reason not to take on a listing or two.
As your business grows, you’ll likely be approached by agents who want to work with you. Growing a team requires management skills but you can leverage the potential of your business easily. (For example, if you’re already set up with an office, the costs won’t rise much if you add one extra person.) Perhaps your goal as a real estate agency principal is to build a team of people who are committed and engaged. When you continue to list and make sales, it gives you an opportunity to lead by example – attending home opens, making contacts and remaining active in the game. Your staff will look to you for motivation and mentoring. By selling properties successfully, you can inspire them to build up their own skills.
As the principal, you don’t have the pressure of growing your contacts in the same way that a new agent does. You might wonder if you have the time and energy to be a sales agent as well as staying on top of all the other activities you need to do to keep your business running smoothly.
My observation? There are many principals still out there, winning listings, building campaigns, negotiating and finally arriving at deals that everyone can live with. And they do this for the simple reason that they enjoy it – which is why they entered the real estate industry in the first place.