There’s a mega agent in almost every major market.

You know who I’m talking about; the slick dude (or gal) with the beaming smile plastered all over the billboards and the cheery voice emanating from every radio and TV station. They often have the standard paid celebrity endorsement also: If I need a Realtor in ‘insert city name here,’ I would hire ‘insert agent name here.’

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Do they really think people are that gullible? I guess enough of them are.

The mega agent is always the No. 1 agent in town. This is determined by accumulating the total commissions earned from every agent on the mega team (sometimes 50 or more) and then comparing that grand total against each individual agent, partnership or small customer-service-focused team within the specified market area.

Not exactly a fair or meaningful comparison. And yet, they boast about this like they’ve won an Academy Award or something.

Of course, none of this is common knowledge to the general public or the unsuspecting, rosy-faced newbie agent. Not knowing any better, the newbie gets sucked in by a powerful recruiting message from the famous mega agent, enticing them to quit the struggle and join the biggest, most successful team in town, where life is always sugar plums and Lambo-Guzzis.

The lure of team camaraderie and the opportunity to learn at the feet of the famous mega agent is a compelling message. Unfortunately, it turns out that the training provided by the mega team is mostly limited to two things:

  • How to recite scripts like a robot and
  • How to chase after leads generated by the mega agent’s internet lead-generating machine.

If you’re willing to do this type of work, you’re hired!

Actual real estate and customer service skills? Bah! Who needs those?

Make no mistake; lead generation – not real estate – is the mega agent’s business, and they’re damn good at it. They spend hundreds of thousands of dollars annually on advertising (in some cases, millions), generating tens of thousands of internet leads.

Then, they try to convince the public that they’re spending all that money “marketing your home.”

Ha. Haha. Hahaha. Yeah, it’s not very funny.

We all know the money is being spent on marketing themselves and creating leads for the team members to chase. Not that there’s anything wrong with that! Just please don’t insult my intelligence and try to convince me, as a potential seller, that you’re spending that marketing money for my benefit.

This type of misleading advertising is one of the biggest reasons why the public perceives Realtors as a bunch of bungling sleaze-bag amateurs, which is a real shame. And honestly, I feel terrible for those rosy-cheeked newbies who join the local mega team and end up with a completely false sense of what it takes to be a successful agent.

For more ranting and raving on this topic, check out my article In Defense of the Individual Agent.

If you want to achieve massive success in real estate, stop accepting that good enough is good enough. It’s not. And here’s a message to you rosy-faced newbies: Forget about joining the mega team. That’s a highly stressful dead-end job. And make no mistake, it’s a job, not a career. There’s only one person who truly benefits from your hard work: the boss.

Why not learn the skills it takes to build your own rewarding career?

“The best investment you can make is an investment in yourself… The more you learn, the more you’ll earn.” — Warren Buffett

11 COMMENTS

  1. We need more articles like this on this industry.

    Mega agents, teams, anyone where only one person gets their name listed in the number one position on the sold listing gets sole credit for the sale. The second (where a team of 3+) who is quite often than not the person who sourced the lead, did all the grunt work and closed the deal, gets second billing and no benefit when it comes to the stats and a non-name once they go out on their own.

    This is why all those stats about 5% this doing 95% of this or 10% this doing 90% of that, is all hogwash, but it sounds good and this is one reason why we get erroneous claims like only 1 in X# agents had a deal becuause it’s promoted by the team leader and all those who have no idea that the stats compiled and sold by aggregating companies treat all those seconds as non-performers.

    I’ll never forget when a buyer’s rep had me remove her name as co-op and instead place her team leader’s name who, not once from the time of first showing to time of closing did I ever hear a peep from him.

    • CRA apparently keeps tabs on those team arrangements… if so the team leaders might be in for a surprise, and likewise when a team member quits and advises CRA that the transaction was credited to the team leader not the team member???
      Check your contract as a team member to see if this topic is covered and if it puts the brokerage in any danger, as the brokerage likely issues the cheques to the team member. Seems maybe to be a conflict of interest in concept?

      Sent from my iPhone

  2. Great Article! As a 36 year veteran, I’m all about personal customer service. No I don’t own a yacht but I certainly do very well, with happy clients and great relationships along the way. Thank you very much for this article on what a mega team really is!

  3. A good article and I can tell you not many in the public understands the “Medallion” award system we have here in the lower Mainland of BC. Clients don’t usually care about the “notches in your gun belt” , they care about themselves, so lets stop talking how great we are and focus on their needs.
    I recently obtained a client because the “local hotshot” could not stop talking about himself and how he is in the top 1%. The client had heard enough and hired us. In the end the clients were extremely happy with the outcome from this “relationship” Real Estate Professional versus the “transactional” licensee.
    During the listing “that” agent showed the property and wrote a very negative review of the house. It later sold for $250,000 over asking contradicting many of his comments. To me it was a case of sour grapes but speaks more to his ego and arrogance.
    I defer to the financial services or medical professions and point out they don’t seem to have this narcissistic character flaw of “I’m #1, call me”. My dentist has never said that to me, ever.
    If we are to be recognized as a true profession we need to stop acting like this industry was a big ATM for personal gain over client care. Sure we need to create incomes, but that should be a byproduct of professionalism, duty of care and creating relationships that benefit all stakeholders.
    Signed,
    Make much less than you but much happier.

  4. I’ve never fallen into the trap of “being number one”. I refuse to be on the list of awards at the office and prefer to go unnoticed; I do quite well. I have competed against many of the “mega teams” for listing and “won” for lack of a better word. “Team” mega or otherwise is really nothing more than the old style of real estate repackaged. Back in the old days, many brokerages charge 40-50% and provided you with the leads generated by corporate marketing. This is what teams are doing, they have replaced the brokerage role. I often say nothing has really changed in real estate. The message we send out through marketing is the perception people have and most can see through it and the perception is not good. You are who you are perceived to be.

  5. Excellent article. I love how agents say they spend millions marketing “ Their Home.” Actually comical. The only “Their,” is as you say…..themselves.

  6. I just read your article with a smile.

    Stay safe and keeping grinding it out on the solo train.

    JC in Halifax, NS

  7. “…misleading advertising is one of the biggest reasons why the public perceives Realtors as a bunch of bungling sleaze-bag amateurs,…”

    Now that’s a Ted Talk.

    Let’s face it, almost ALL advertising is somewhat, to totally, misleading. Who in their right mind would advertise any negatives about their ventures, services, or products? Thus, the art of advertising is in and of itself almost always misleading by dint of the simple fact that the advertisers/promoters routinely omit portions of the full story. Advertising is not meant to sell anything. It is meant to acquire queries about the product so being promoted. The salesperson is the means to the sale…upon following up on the advertising’s hook. The only Realtor-advertising that I might trust to be not misleading would be a person’s recent image (not a glamour-shot taken ten or twenty-plus years earlier) and his/her name attached to a sign/ad etc. proclaiming his/her vocation to be a Realtor…period.

    Full disclosure: I’ve done the bragging thing too, advertising statements to the effect “Top 21” for the year yada yada. That statement was true, but in the minds of many it betrayed my true personality, which was one of a laid-back kind’a guy who never put any kind of sales/psychological pressure on anyone to do, or not do, anything. Was I a mega agent? Of course not. I was not a greedy hot-dog, and I slept well at nights.

    This business has always attracted the wrong kind of person to the fold….by means of O.R.E.’s misleading advertising. It’s a wonder there are so many of the right kind. They are the naive newbies of the world who try their best to be the best representations of themselves to the world…and they mostly flame out. The advertising myth of earning “big bucks” burns out before their very eyes. The slippery hard-assess with perpetually smiling faces stand the best chance of making those big bucks. Sparsely intermingled amongst them are the true professionals, those trusty individuals who earn a decent living and don’t compromise themselves for that extra commission cheque. They are not assembly-line Realtors. They work for clients, not commissions.

    The question is: Is the public right when it perceives Realtors as being a bunch of sleaze-bag amateurs? The key word is ‘perceives’. Remember: In politics, perception is reality.

    • No place to post this, Brian, but there might be some REM folks who follow Malcolm Gladwell, and find this his book interesting. You can read or listen to a sample chapter.

      The story line philosophy and strategical mindset might tie into what goes on behind the scenes in real estate.

      Carolyne L 🍁

      Editors’ Picks:
      Malcolm Gladwell on good intentions, and how a tech revolution led to the deadliest night of WWII
      In his latest book, ‘The Bomber Mafia,’ Gladwell lays out how a group of military aviators dreamed of a more humane way of waging war. It led to the firebombing of Tokyo. Read the excerpt, or listen to it narrated by the author himself.
      Read in Editors’ Picks: https://apple.news/A7baBVCMZRbWGJC9qKwrnZw

      Shared from Apple News

  8. Needed to be said!

    Mega agents calling my unlisted number – “hi this is [insert brand name, not brokerage here] with their phony scripts.
    me – which brokerage are you from and for whom are you calling?
    mega agent lackie – this is [insert brand name here]
    me- but which brokerage?
    lackie – so and so, we have buyers looking for your type of home
    me – this number is registered on the DNCL, why are you calling it?
    lackie – oh sorry, sorry, I didn’t know

    There’s a whole lot else they don’t know and if they don’t know about this, how much effort are they putting into educating themselves about the product, market, rules, regulations, changes?

    If the public only saw just how much failure there is from the fastest sale or home guarantee agents flooding the airwaves, they’d be shocked. Or the prolific blogger who preaches about what mistakes his opposition on a deal makes, then turns around just days later touting same as though it’s a new discovery to everyone but him.

    These dudes and dudessess need to keep advertising to pay their way. The rest of us have figured out how to make the same decent living by actually spending our efforts and advertising dollars on our clients and their interests, not on getting them.

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