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The Brokerage that plays together

Long post ahead. I think it is worth your time. ;-)
The first presentation that I ever did on SEO was titled “SEO is a team sport”. I am a team sport kind of guy. I know that it may sound wierd coming from a rugged individualist, but it is or at least can be totally true. I have an example that (hopefully) proves my point.
I have mentioned my friend Gary Lundholm before. His brokerage has 150 plus agents and is a sizeable force in the Virginia Beach / Hampton Roads market. The way that he and his partners foundeed their brokerage was on providing the most and best tools and training to their agents. And then teaching a trusting that their agents would respect themselves and each other enough to work together as a cohesive and yet competitive team in the same market with each other. It is a team sport.

Coopetition. It is when Cooperation and Competition meet.

Most would argue that Competition surely eliminates cooperation. I would argue that a brokerage CAN take a leadership role in building a climate where their agents feel that the broker IS helping them build their business and not just the “chinese food and cotton candy” approach that most brokers take where 20 minutes later the agent is still hungry. That is laziness on their part as brokers. There I said it. Meant it too.

So my example? I was teaching an online SEO class to a group of his agents. (remember I said nothing held back? ;-) ) Note: Gary also equips them for online marketing battle with the same armor that he uses. Interesting, huh? We were helping two members of this little class to rank their sites a bit better in Google for neighborhoods and niches that they were targeting. Greg Chaplain (who focusses on several luxury niche neighborhoods) and Larry Porter (who specializes in military relocations). Great guys and each technically could be competing for the same kettle of fish, but everyone deciding to learn by doing, and also by helping the other guy in the process.

Would this work? That was the experiment. We decided to have a little contest to see who could apply most effectively what we had discussed in our classes six meetings.

Then I get an email from one of the class participants, Mike Nishnick, who focuses on the Kempsville real estate market. These are all niches in the same market and yet these guys are realizing the power of team work. I won’t bore you with the details, but he took the time to start helping Larry out with his online presence. And went on about how he appreciated that the brokerage was working together. How about that? Did he have to do that? No. This was a guy in his brokerage that he could have viewed as a competitor OR a friend. Or both. Paying it forward WORKS.

I would invite you to re-visit one of the classic blog posts of the Real Estate net done by Dave Smith a few years back. Still a favorite of mine.

You may say that my world is roses and lolipops and that it won’t work as an online marketing strategy for a brokerage. But I have proved that teamwork conquers stuff before. Google “Greatest real estate agent in the world”.

The brokerage that plays together not only stays together, but can become a REALLY difficult force to compete with locally. In a world of national sites with millions of pages that only want to sell leads back to agents, teamwork may be more than a good idea. It may be critical.

Wait for the follow up post 6 months from now and you will see what I mean.

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  • 13 comments

    13 Comments so far

    1. Susan Hilton March 29th, 2012 5:52 am

      I want more! Don’t make me wait 6 months. I need to know how to do this now.

    2. Eric Estate March 29th, 2012 10:09 am

      Liked, tweeted, and +1′d. Spreading the love. And if someone want’s to see what I do when they leave a comment on my blog – just try me!

    3. Eric Blackwell March 29th, 2012 10:12 am

      Are you a broker or an agent? You would approach this two different ways…

    4. Susan Hilton March 29th, 2012 12:27 pm

      Yes I am the sales manager for Century 21 Beal in College Station, Tx.

    5. Tina Powers March 29th, 2012 2:13 pm

      Awesome approach! I totally agree with SEO being a team sport.

    6. Angele Moyseos March 30th, 2012 2:19 pm

      Great ideas! I fully agree that a brokerage should be and can be successfully operated as a team. PS I love the term Coopetition.

    7. Teri Lussier March 31st, 2012 9:20 am

      Interesting post by Dave at REBlogLab. That explains a lot about my own blog. Duh. Okay then, thank you for that little gem, Eric, I’m going to give this a shot in my brokerage and see if we can cook up some secret sauce of our own.

    8. Kent March 31st, 2012 6:41 pm

      Nice post. I G+ it and tried to tweet it as well, but it looks like ther is a problem somewhere. In any case, cooperation amnong competitors can be a huge business booster, and I ahve found that to be true acroos many different industries, in addition to real estate.

      As for SEO, that can pay big dividends, but I have found that I get a better return by usnig publicity and article marketing. By article marketing I’m not talking about sending a load of articles to one of the online article directories, but syndicating them to certain targeted publications.

      That has two benefits, you get backlinks from an authority site or at least a contextually relevant site. You also get your contact info in front of interested people who can soon become visitrs to your site or blog.

      I’vbe has great luck writing articles for offline publications that have on line editions. Contact editors of metro magazines and other sepecialty, regional and local magazines. They are typically starving for subject matter expert contributors, and all have substantial real estate related sections.

      If you don’t have a blog, it’s time you changed that ASAP. It can not only be a great way to help your seo, get new leas, but it is fantastic to help keep existing clients engaged and aware of market and neighborhood trends, etc.

      Sorry for the punctuation errors, but I’m watching Kansas getting crushed by the Buckeyes as I write this

    9. Minerva April 4th, 2012 4:17 am

      6 months is quite long, can’t wait for the next big thing! SEO is definitely a team sport and everyone has to be a team player.

    10. Susan Hilton April 4th, 2012 5:30 am

      Would love to know what publications you are syndicating to. I am desperate for a plan! Anything you will share is appreciated.

    11. Mike Woods April 5th, 2012 11:13 am

      As a real estate broker I can relate to your “chinese food and cotton candy” reference. And I definitely agree that sometimes paying it forward can yield some pleasantly surprising results. People can surprise you if you give them a chance.

    12. Claire April 9th, 2012 4:57 am

      I really like this idea! However, there’s a huge pile of work ahead if you want to go online. Using SEO is best but you need to learn it before to actually see results.

    13. [...] describing how agents here at TREG work together to educate both themselves and each other. The blog post he wrote about the concept of coopetition was inspired by his work with TREG’s first SEO Small Group, a small collection of agents who [...]