ARGH - Why is our Industry so Stupid?

Education & Training with Berman & Pollinger, LLC.

Last night, I may have discovered that I am a little on the stupid side.  Seriously.  I know that may not come to a "blinding flash of the obvious" to those that subscribe to my humble blog, but until yesterday I thought I understood our crazy and dysfunctional industry.   Just like your drunk uncle Joe or the mother-in-law that you wished wouldn't have been part of the deal, there are a few things we all put up with in our real estate lives.  But at the end of the day, I thought creating income was the point of why our Broker of choice has the privilege of hanging our license at their shop.  I know, I know, with over 70% of or industry living below the poverty line I should have seen this sooner, but no - I held out hope. 

Here's what happened - yesterday afternoon I got three, yes three, outbound corporate relocation leads (2 listings and 1 sale) that needed to be placed with agents.  Usually I have an admin person do this, but they were out of the office and we needed to get them placed by the end of the day, so I got to do it personally.  All I had to do was identify agents who met the following criteria:

1. They would return the call or email
2. They have been licensed more than 3 years
3. They were full time and could handle the referral.

If they met those criteria, they would get the deal.  Simple, yes?  I mean with over 1.2 million REALTORS it should be no big deal.  WRONG!

I called and emailed 15 agents and here is what happened -

13 never called or responded back
1 called back, thanked me for the consideration and said she was going to be out of town for August and thought she should decline for the client's benefit (yes, she is going to the TOP of my list next time)
1 got all three leads (and it took her more than 6 hours to get back to me).

Before you get all high and mighty, let me tell you where I drew the pool from - for the listing leads I looked for CRS designees that worked for major brokers who made over $100,000 last year and were members of ActiveRain.  For the buyer lead, I only substituted ABR for the CRS designation. 

Has the lead generation companies jaded us that badly that we can't afford a bit of professionalism and civility to our other real estate brethren?  It's not like I am from Nigeria and asking you via email to send me $25,000 so that I can transfer King JKAdhLAIDT's fortune to you.  I was going to send them along without even taking a referral fee.  I am a real estate broker who is looking for someone who can take good care of my people.  That's all, nothing more, nothing less.


Carpe diem,


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Vickie McCartney
Maverick Realty - Owensboro, KY
Broker, Real Estate Agent Owensboro KY

Chris~ I too have found it hard to find a good agent to refer to.  But, I am patient and wait until I find the right one.  My criteria is totally different from yours. Not all agents that make $100,000 are GOOD AGENTS......

Jul 25, 2008 05:12 AM #7
Stanton Homes
Stanton Homes - New Home Builder - Raleigh, NC
Design/Build Custom Home Builder in North Carolina

With a message AND an email, it's hard to believe that you got such poor response.  I know sometimes those Active Rain emails get into the junk email box (and have to be fished back out), but with a phone call follow up, you'd expect to have some response!

Jul 25, 2008 05:38 AM #8
Chuck Carstensen
RE/MAX Results - Elk River, MN
Minnesota Real Estate Expert

I am normally the fastest follow up in the company!  But some many people are simply bad at this. And then they wonder why they dont get sales.

Jul 25, 2008 06:06 AM #9
Thomas Moviel
Waterstone Mortgage Corporation - Denver, CO

Thanks for the post, Chris! You've just picked up another blog subscriber. In regards to your post, it's a great reminder of our priorities and what are income producing tasks. It's so easy to get caught up in less-opportune I find myself consistently asking, "Is this activity going to help me grow my business and income?"

Jul 25, 2008 07:03 AM #10
Chris Pollinger
Berman & Pollinger, LLC. - San Diego, CA
Consulting for Luxury Teams and Brokerages

Thomas - Thanks!  I look forward to getting your input in the future!

Jul 25, 2008 09:13 AM #11
Not Yet Licensed

I called and emailed 15 agents and here is what happened - 13 never called or responded back

Hi Chris,

Maybe that was just a fluke situation.  I assist some of my clients with referrals and, on average, I get around a 50% response rate.  I haven't figured it out exactly, but response rate seems to vary by area.  Since you selected agents who make over $100K, maybe the agents you contacted were all too busy.  I'm still a bit surprised that you received such a low response rate when you took the extra time to call AND email.  Another surprising thing I have learned is that some agents will respond to me DAYS later.  So you might still hear back from some of those agents!  :)

Jul 25, 2008 12:49 PM #12
Deborah Fisher
Fisher & Company, P.A., Marketing & Creative Strategists - Fort Worth, TX

Chris, many of those people you were calling were likely not doing the highest and most productive thing to move their business forward when you called.  And you wonder why so many agents are dropping out of the business?  The gravy train is over and it is business as usual: what you put into is what you'll get out of it.

Good post, Chris.  Thanks for letting the rest of us know that we aren't the only ones scratching our heads and looking dumbstruck

Jul 27, 2008 01:08 PM #13
Heidi Krone
REMAX 1st Olympic - Forest, VA
ABR, GRI - Lynchburg, Forest, Appomattox, Amherst, Bedford


I know that was my last brokers irritaion that agent wouldn't answer the phone. However, sometimes we may be on the phone with potential clients. I am an agent if you call I will call you back. i know one day last week I was booked from 9A.M. until (p.m. with meetings clients and just paper work. It was not until the next day until I was able to return all the calls. I did apologize about it, because I dont' like returning the next day. I try to call back within acouple of hours of a message. I can see where you would get frustrated. I do have my ABR and GRi designation. I am not sure if I plan on getting my CRS still debating.. If you know of anyone moving to Central VA I would love to help them out!!

Jul 27, 2008 04:53 PM #14
Justin Smith
Christian Real Estate Network & SpeakMyLanguage - Castle Rock, CO

Hey Chris,

Great post.  I was going to comment, but I couldn't resist writing my own post on the subject:

Aug 01, 2008 10:04 AM #15
Chip Jefferson
Advanced Building LLC - Lexington, SC

Amazing to me is the lack behavior of a commissioned sales person. I am always on the job and try to return emails and calls no later than 1 hour!

Aug 01, 2008 10:34 AM #16
Susan Neal
RE/MAX Gold, Fair Oaks - Fair Oaks, CA
Fair Oaks CA & Sacramento Area Real Estate Broker

I have heard Active Rainers complaining that when they respond to a referral request through the Active Rain referral system they never get any response and don't know if the request was already filled or if they were simply rejected or what.  I have discussed this with some of them and we agree that this is rude.  It has happened to me a number of times too.

But in your situation, I am dumbfounded!  You are basically trying to hand them a client that they didn't have to scrounge up for themselves, and they don't have the courtesy even to respond?  That is dumb as well as rude!

You definitely deserve a referral fee for working so hard just to give someone else a commission.

Aug 01, 2008 04:45 PM #17
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul

Well, be thankful for small blessings... makes those of us who show up to work look pretty darn good, eh?

GREAT post!

Aug 02, 2008 03:10 AM #18
Judy Peterson
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Fox&Roach Realtors - Tredyffrin, PA
"Superb Service, Superb Results"

Hi Chris!  I landed here from Justin's post and I couldn't agree more.  I still hear agents say that they check their email "once a day or so".  Yikes, that not enough by a long shot! It gives the professionals who really care a black eye in the publics opinions.

Aug 02, 2008 09:22 AM #19
Not Yet Licensed

I still hear agents say that they check their email "once a day or so".

Ah.  That explains something I've been wondering about.  Thanks!

Aug 02, 2008 09:41 AM #20
The Somers Team
The Somers Team at RE/MAX Access - Philadelphia, PA
Real People. Real Dreams. Real Estate.


That is shocking to say the least.  We are ocd about excellent service, returning calls and so forth.  Between the 2 of, us we check email prob 30 times a day.  So if you ever have a referral for Philadelphia, let us know.

Do have a question though.  As top producers, I do not have CRS as of yet.  Not sure if we really need it... same with ABR.  We do so many deals and are so busy we really do not have the time to take to get these designations.  My opinion is that it just looks good on paper and our experience stands out in the crowd from the rest.  In your heart, do you really those designations make a difference ?  Will come back and check your comments, our please email  Would be interested to hear an indepenent opinion on that.

Philadelphia Real Estate   Philadelphia Real Estate Blog

Aug 02, 2008 11:21 AM #21
Paul Francis
Francis Group Real Estate - Las Vegas, NV
Las Vegas Real Estate Agent - Summerlin Homes


Feel free to put me on the list for your Las Vegas leads... If I (or my partner) do not call or e-mail back within 3 business hours you can publicly humiliate me.

We are both ABR's, CRS, partner is a GRI and licensed as a Broker Salesperson that also Teaches/Trains Real Estate. We've got you covered so you can spend your time doing more important things....

Aug 02, 2008 02:20 PM #22
Erica Ramus
Erica Ramus - Ramus Realty Group - Pottsville, PA - Pottsville, PA
MRE, Schuylkill County PA Real Estate

Great post. I've ranted about the SAME THING on AR before. I don't know how some agents feed their families. One of the worst I've encountered is the MANAGER of an office! This person doesn't return calls to show her listings. HELLO?????? Then when you finally get her, she acts as if you're bothering her. So agents rude to other agents is a problem too...not just not returning phone calls to leads. I my office, I vette the leads personally--getting name/phone/email and "interviewing" buyer and seller leads on the phone. Then I dole them out to the agents who best fit their profile. If an agent is poor at communication skills or does not return calls, they don't get leads. Period.

CHRIS--I handle eastern/central PA. Send me your referrals and I guarantee we'll take care of them in a professional manner. I have 10 years in the business, 3 as a broker, and run a small office of PROFESSIONAL full time agents.

Aug 03, 2008 01:07 AM #23
Mike Saunders
Lanier Partners - Athens, GA

Chris - I am just amazed at how many people cannot find the time to return phone calls, often the same people who complain that business isn't as good as it used to be.

Aug 03, 2008 01:21 AM #24
Angie Goodman
Keller Williams Realty - Tallahassee, FL


Send me any and all of your referrals.  I haven't made over $100K a year yet, would certainly like to, but haven't been about to get off the first time homebuyer amounts for purchasing.  I am a CRS and made decent $ for the area, usually in the top 25% for Tallahassee and often in the top 25 for our Keller Williams office.

As far as ABR, all of Florida agents are presumed to be transaction agents, not buyers agents, or single agency, although we can do these, most don't and focus on both aspects of real estate.  While teams employ buyer and listing specialist, most independent agents work at both.

I've run into the same response or lack of response as you from other realtors that I wanted to possibly send a referral.  I interview whoever I am considering and am reluctant to send a referral to a team.  I like knowing the person I am talking with is the one who will be working with my customer.  My name's on the line too!


Aug 03, 2008 12:06 PM #25
Chris Pollinger
Berman & Pollinger, LLC. - San Diego, CA
Consulting for Luxury Teams and Brokerages

Somers -

I personally do not hold a CRS or ABR, my attitude is that many great agents don't have them because they are too busy doing business to care.  But in a pinch I made a lazy assumption (you know what assume means?  It makes an ass out of u and me. 



Aug 04, 2008 10:29 AM #26
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