“Hi, Nick. Come on in. Sit down. Sorry to keep you waiting.
“How long have you been here, Nick. Sixteen months! Wow, it seems like just yesterday that I turned my back on you and forgot all about you.
“It seems like you’re doing pretty well for yourself, Nick, two or three houses a month. It looks like you’ve got three houses in escrow right now, plus three listings, is that about right?
“No, Nick, that’s wrong. I’m your designated broker. I have those houses in escrow, and I have those listings. The employment contracts are with me, don’t ever forget that.
“But here’s what I asked you in here to talk about, Nick. I see you’ve got yourself a nice little web site. I like that. It shows that you take initiative.
“But, see, the thing is, Nick, your little web site is robbing traffic from my web site — our web site, the brokerage’s web site. I’m supposed to tell you this is all about legal liability issues, but the truth is, my SEO guy says we can get more traffic on the brokerage web site if we shut all these little agent web sites down.
“There’s more to it that that, though, Nick. I have referral relationships with lenders, title companies, insurance brokerages, home inspectors, exterminators — all kinds of vendors. If my agents are referring business every which way, our preferred vendors don’t get as a big a piece of the pie. I get a little bite out of every one of those pieces of pie. And, as you know, it has always been our policy to brush a few crumbs the agent’s way, so I’m sure you’ll agree that it’s better for everyone if we all speak with one voice.
“Oh, you don’t agree, Nick? Gee, that’s too bad…
“I wonder if you’ve ever made time to read that policies and procedures manual I gave you when you signed on with us. I don’t think anyone ever reads it, at least not until times like this. But the thing is, Nick, you signed an affidavit that said you had read it and agreed to abide by the terms as a condition of hanging your real estate license here.
“I think you’ll agree we have great policies for active agents. Seven hundred bucks a month, you can’t beat that. And the brokerage only takes $200 plus a deductible for errors and omissions insurance for each transaction. And then just that tiny little 5%, not really a split, for administrative expenses. I think we have the best pay plan in town for active agents, Nick.
“I wonder if you ever took a look at our policy for inactive agents. Our liability is higher once an agent is severed, and I have to pick up a lot of the slack, so we take a 50-50 split on transactions involving inactive agents. Of course, I really could take everything. After all, they’re my employment contracts. But that wouldn’t be fair, would it, Nick?
“Now when an agent is severed, the first thing he thinks of is, ‘I should call my clients.’ But that would be a violation of the law and of the NAR Code of Ethics. In the second place, they’re not your clients, they’re my clients. You can’t interfere with my contracts. But in the first place, a severed agent cannot lawfully do anything that requires an active real estate license.
“A severed salesperson can’t work, Nick. Not until he finds another broker to take his license. No cold calls, no warm calls, no door-knocking, no open houses, no handing out business cards at cocktail parties. If you don’t have an active license parked with a brokerage in good standing, you can’t work at all.
“That’s a scary idea, isn’t it, Nick? How many family men do you think could afford to put themselves in that position?
“Oh, do please forgive me, Nick! I get off on these hypotheticals and I just get lost. We were talking about that web site of yours. How soon do you think we can get that shut down…?”