Keith and Howard knew when they started Round Table Realty that they would never give their agents volume based awards. This decision was born directly from their own experiences. “We watched brokerages and companies awarding the same agents every month, and it was usually because they had the most experience, wanted to work that much, or landed a great community. Those of us who were green, or those who only worked part-time, just grew resentful and irritated with seeing those same names again and again,” Howard said.
"Selling the most doesn’t mean you’re the best to us. At least not in the way we want to be the best." The way Keith and Howard set out to be the best was to earn a reputation of being a heart-first, relationship-based brokerage. Knowing the business inside and out isn't enough. Like a doctor with excellent bedside manner, a Realtor must truly understand and care about the people they're serving. Real estate awards aren't a part of that.
Here are the top three reasons Round Table Realty doesn’t hand out Real Estate Volume Sales Awards:
Volume Awards Breed the wrong kind of Competition Competition is awesome, especially in business. It’s what the agents are competing for that really sets RTR apart. “Our brokerage is based on putting people before property so the Realtors have to be willing to share with each other.” If they feel pitted against each other right there on the placards of the office walls, it breeds an air of competition amongst Realtors instead of cooperation. The competition and the most effort should be exerted against the hurdles keeping people from reaching their goals, not against each other. When we explain to the agents who join our brokerage that everyone shares information, tools, and experience, most of them don’t believe us. “They’re used to squirreling away their secrets so that they can ‘win’,” Keith says. “But when you encourage agents to help each other grow, your brokerage as a whole flourishes. The brokerage wins. When the brokerage flourishes, we can offer more and more to our agents. It’s cyclical. And our agents can see how it benefits them to focus their competition on growing a stronger brokerage.” The overall goal of the brokerage is to be the most respected in the city. That’s the goal we’re competing for together
Volume Awards Focus on the People, not the System Not every Realtor wants to sell millions of dollars in property each month. Some have goals of five or six transactions per year. Some even less. How do you know if your Realtors are performing well if you’re comparing apples to oranges? “Instead of measuring people, we measure the system. If the newer agents grow and learn as a result of working alongside seasoned agents, that’s a marker that the system is working. If the quality of what is being produced is apparent in the feedback we get from clients, title companies, and mortgage lenders, then the system is working. That’s far more important to us than anyone selling the most and receiving a paper sales award,” Keith said.
Volume Awards can Discourage Agents from Focusing on the Client Every week, at least one agent comes into our office to tell us they knew they could make a sale, but they also know they wouldn’t be able to sleep because the home truly wasn’t right for their client. If volume awards are the focus, it can supersede the intention of doing what’s right for the client. Because Round Table Realty prides itself on ethical practices and Single Agency, it’s a conflict of interest to then reward the people who bring in the most money.
Sales awards don't mean you're the best...
Recently, Howard received an email from an RTR Realtor's client. Here is an excerpt:
We tragically lost our son nearly 4 years ago and currently have permanent guardianship of our 12-year-old grandson. We chose Saint Augustine for the school district’s reputation. We wanted to get him out of South Florida and find a place that we could start fresh. Brenda has listened compassionately to our story and from the moment we first met her, made us feel that we had known her forever. You don’t find that connection with people very often. I am a retired pediatric RN. My profession is one of the most trusted of all professions, but sadly, I don’t think realtors and mortgage brokers hold that same trust with the public, perhaps because many don’t take the time to humanize the process of buying a home. A house is just a house, but a home is someplace where your story unfolds, where memories are made and dreams are realized. Brenda gets that, and what finding this home to start over in meant to us. She should be commended for her compassion, above all, because in my opinion, that’s what builds trust and that’s what makes a great realtor. I don’t believe it was any coincidence that we chose her from all the other realtors in the area. She just has that way about her and you know in an instant that she is a genuine human being that the world and especially your industry needs more of. We are so thankful we found her! In sincere gratitude, Lisa and Ken C.
Those emails, and the thousands more like it, are the sales award. Real Estate is a business, and Round Table Realty is interested in becoming the best. However, their measuring stick is slightly different from some other brokerages in town. “We want to be measured by how well we serve our clients, our partnerships, and each other. If we’re the best in that category? Well, time has proven that it translates into being the best in a lot of other categories, too,” Howard said. While Round Table Realty is actually in the top 10% of independent brokerages in the entire country (Zillow, 2019), Howard believes that to be more of a function of the way we treat our clients than how many homes we've sold. Without the clients, we have no business. It's why we've always focused on our clients and their needs rather than our sales.