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— by David Serpa

Thinking About Switching Brokerages or Teams? 19 Questions to Ask Leadership!

We’re entering the final quarter of the year and the time when everyone considering making a switch does the broker shuffle. People have determined their current broker home doesn’t have what they need to reach the next level in their career and so they start eyeing the door

One of my early business mentors told me “take the interview”. Scott H. Meeker, who was called the Godfather of the Safe Industry, was an inventor and a businessman, and he explained to me it is necessary to “take an interview” a few times a year, to see what is out there. You will either see the good thing you have going or see a better opportunity. Either way you will likely improve from engaging in the process. 

If you are going to take one interview, you might as well take three. This will help you plan for next year with clarity. The final quarter of the year is the time when most successful people start planning the following year. Make the plans which you know in your gut will set you up to acknowledge the flow of the year without stressing out about the day to day. Once you make the initial plans, settle into flow, and get ready to thrive.  

Here is some advice for getting the most out of the interview with the new broker, team, or organization so you can take your game to the next level, or help you realize just how happy you are at home! Take the interview. Take three more. Accept the clarity. 

1. Where do your splits start? 

The split is important but I know agents on teams who make more on a 50% split than agents do working for themselves at flat-fee companies. If there is value in the split. Be open to the income which comes with it. If not, move on

*Many brokers have wiggle room in the split. Don’t be afraid to ask for it. 

2. What kind of training or mentorship is provided? 

Determine if you are capable of learning online or if you need the in-person training. If you need a mentor and more one-one-one attention, ask about mentorship. If you don’t want mentorship you may not want to be somewhere which requires you pay for it. 

3. Does the team or office do anything collaborative? 

I’m not a big office person. I believe meetings should be minimal and always lead to movement. If there is a weekly meeting I want it to be a production meeting, a strategy session, or a mastermind. However, I need to do my work alone or I get distracted. 

4. How often do you work together?

Some teams require call nights, have office hours, door knock, or hold community events together. Some of these teams also happen to be the most successful around. 

5. Do you Play together?

It is a lot of fun to have a team spa day, go axe throwing, or have team family nights but some of these extracurricular activities can lead to the most scandalous ones. You may have thick boundaries with work colleagues or you may be a person who can’t go into the office without making a trip out for coffee or lunch with a colleague. Plan accordingly.   

6. Do you Pray together? 

This might be an issue for some and a deal breaker for others. Some really love to have a religious atmosphere in the office and others noticeably cringe when an office breaks out in prayer. Though I will discuss religion, and work with religious organizations and nonprofits, I keep a secular work environment so we can work alongside everyone. 

7. How do you feel about niche marketing? 

Find out if there are any limitations on how you can market yourself, or if you can market yourself at all. Remain proactive in your career and do not lose yourself in your team or brokerage. If you enter into a partnership with a brokerage or team you have both determined you can catch more fish together. Don’t stop fishing. Catch more. 

8. Do you provide leads? (These usually suck).

CRMs, IDXs, or landing pages are often offered by brokerages and teams. There can be costs, or additional splits, associated with these programs. Discover how you can use the systems to generate more leads, increase the caliber, and close more transactions.

9. Do you provide free “paper”, “PRINTING”, “or “CARDS”? 

There is no such thing as a “free lunch”. Someone is paying for it. Law #40 of The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene suggests you “Despise the Free Lunch”. It’s called “guilt food”. Buying a drink at a bar, grabbing the tab at a business meeting, free color paper, cheap statements. It may be better to pick up your own tab and keep your options open. 

10. What are the opportunities for me to increase my split? How quickly can I exceed that? Ownership? 

I was never interested in the floor. I have always wanted to make sure I don’t have a ceiling. Some people want their floor reinforced. What’s the path to a higher split, is there a cap, are their ownership opportunities? A path is better traveled if it’s illuminated. 

11. Can my kids come to work? 

For some this will be imperative others a distraction. We have entered a new world. People are trying to work full-time while educating children. Something has to give. Many offices will have a strict policy about not having kids at the office or around clients.

12. Is there a dress code? 

If you show up dressed like a friend your clients will expect you to act like one; they will expect hook-ups, late phone calls, and last minute showings. Boundaries will dissolve. Treat yourself like a professional and your clients will see you as one. Dress accordingly. 

13. What are the weekly/monthly requirements?

Does the team have a daily huddle or conference call? Weekly meetings? Monthly meetings? Are they mandatory?  Do you have to make a certain amount of daily calls

14. What is one free action-item you can give me today? 

Ask for some “free advice” or a “free tip”. People who have abundant information within the confines of their head don’t operate out of a scarcity mindset. This will show you whether they truly want you to succeed or if they just want you to succeed with them

15. Look them up. Do your homework.

Do your homework. Talk to people currently on their team, organization, or brokerage and ask about their experiences. Read the reviews, listen to interviews or podcasts, read books or blogs, and watch videos associated with the company or person. Study this person or organization like you are considering hiring them, not the other way around.  

16. How can I help you? 

I was asked this question once during an interview and it blew my mind. I was so used to people asking “what can I get?” that I was baffled when someone asked “what can I give?”. True leaders want other people capable of leadership. This creates more opportunities for everyone. Just help the world and opportunities will be abundant.

17. Ask about the direction of the brokerage or team. 

Find the inspiration behind the leader, if there is any, and you will be more familiar with the shared vision and more capable of bringing it to life. Leaders innovate while watchers watch to see what happens. Choose an innovator over a pretender with no gas left in an already dry tank. Refuse to lose yourself to someone who has already lost themselves.

18. Desk fees, monthly fees, and franchise fees.

Do you know what a franchise fee is? A desk fee? Are there transaction fees on top of a split? Price is an issue in the absence of value but don’t pay for something which has no value, has lost its value, or which you can get for free. Many of the practices, companies, and technologies, are stagnant, outdated, costly, and dry. Choose your Kool-Aid wisely.

19. Thank them for the time, interview, & the process. 

The interview process I ultimately learned the most from came from a job opportunity I didn’t move forward with. During the reading, the research of the company, the interview process, in studying myself, and other leadership in the company I learned invaluable lessons. It may not be the right fit for one, or both of you, but be genuinely grateful for the time and open to the lessons learned from engaging in the process.

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