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Are You Thinking about Opening Your Own Place? December 9th, 2013 | Posted in General Real Estate, Real Estate

Recently, I was asked to answer some questions regarding an agent opening their own brokerage.  Below are the questions with my responses, which have been taken from my personal experience and my experience with my clients.


Question One:

What are the telltale signs that a REALTOR® should break out on his/her own and start a brokerage? What are the typical tipping points in these situations?

Answer One:

Square footage!  When there is need to add to the team or add infrastructure/technology but there is no place to put it, it’s time to move out on your own.  A team that is separated loses synergy.  If the broker cannot or will not add square footage, the agent may be forced to get his own.

Another area is lead generation.  Some of the teams that I coach are so effective in generating leads that occasionally there is spill-over to other agents in the office and leads are lost.  A destination without in-house competition is sometimes the answer.

Compensation is another area to consider.  Sometimes top agents already supply the services for themselves.  When that top agent crunches the numbers and adds up the total costs of splits, fees, and franchise costs – many times they find that that amount of money can pay the monthly mortgage payment on a building.

Sometimes a broker’s vision and goals differ so much from the top agent’s that there is dissention within the office. 

You need a change of business plan.  Working the pure commission life is hard!  Sometimes agents want a different business model that allows income from splits and fees so that they can get away from the daily business of one-on-one sellers/buyers.

Finally, sometimes a different management style necessitates a move.  Maybe an agent wants to provide a heavier training regimen or hold agents accountable, and he or she might find that easier to implement in a different environment. 


Question Two:

What are the first few steps that a REALTOR® should take when the points discussed in #1 above actually happen?

Answer Two:

A.      Find a location

B.       Prepare a budget — looking at all costs and applying the knowledge of previous abilities to bring in income.

C.      Make a list of all the marketing materials, phones, internet, and image changes.

D.      Decide whether this is going to be a secret move vs. a well-advertised move.  This usually depends on the relationship between the broker/owner and the vacating agent.  It also heavily depends on whether the broker has a reputation of allowing a vacating agent to keep his or her listings. 


Question Three:

Where do REALTORS® generally go wrong in these situations? What challenges do they encounter and how can they work through these issues?

Answer Three:

Bad mouthing by either party is not the way to go!  The management of the previous brokerage bad-mouthing the leaving agent and the leaving agent bad-mouthing their previous affiliation will not help anyone.  There is no reason to do either.  It only hurts the image of either or both parties.  The brokerage should be proud that they could provide the foundation for an agent to open their own business.  The leaving agent should be thankful the experience gained at the old brokerage. 

If the broker supports your moving on, then full disclosure of the move is the best way to go.  Another item of contention is that the vacating agent should initially look to recruit new agents from other companies, rather than the one they are leaving. 


Question Four:

Do you find that REALTORS® tend to jump the gun in these situations and perhaps not think through what it really takes to run their own brokerage?

Answer Four:

No, since most of the great agents want to stretch their wings.  They were successful agents because their planning and coaching allowed them to move to the new endeavor.  If there was a problem, it would be underestimating the costs of having your own brokerage.


Question Five:

What other advice would you give a reader who is thinking about this right now?

Answer Five:

The concept of the broker trying to keep listings or charge higher splits during a transition time will cause innumerable problems.  Letting great people do their own thing is the gracious thing to do. 

I hope this helps you make the important decisions involving opening your own brokerage.  Doing so means you are opening a new type of business.  You will be taking much time away from personal production and the other challenges while trying to live off of other agents in your new office.  We have coached many top producers and their teams through this year long process.  Good luck in your planning!


Walter Sanford has been designing and implementing real estate systems for 30 years.  One of the most successful REALTORS® and now wealthy from his systems, Sanford teaches his systems and strategies through his products, seminars, and personal coaching producing the best results in the industry.  Do what works, do what is proven.  Hire Walter Sanford.  Call our office at 800.792.5837, email, or chat with us online at

Most Agents Can’t Answer These Tough Objections September 5th, 2013 | Posted in General Real Estate

I teach my coaching clients on how to extend their time on the phone with a great prospect.  Each client can answer the questions below when they are talking with a prospect.  You might think prospects should just melt at the sound of your voice and hang on your every word when you call. 

Even though you have sent or emailed a client what you think they need most in the way of value (for example, management tactics to a four-plex owner) and you are calling to follow up on what else you can do to help, you still must be able to answer simple objections. 

Here are a few of classic examples:

  1. No interest in you or your offer.
  2. No authority to act.
  3. No need.
  4. No time.
  5. Previous bad experience.
  6. Likes the competition.
  7. Wants lower commission.
  8. Ties you up on the phone but will not commit.
  9. Wants a buyer from you without a listing contract.

There are many more.  Get used to them.  Don’t let them surprise you.  Have a value-filled answer ready.  They don’t work always but they keep you in the game longer. 

Let’s assume that I am calling expired listings.  Below are my responses to the above objections:

  1. I understand that living in a fish bowl is no fun.  May I ask you one more question?  What caused you to put your property on the market in the first place?  What has changed about that?  If I could present a written marketing plan that has worked over and over again for my clients in this market, could I present that to you tonight?
  2. Sure, I understand.  With whom should I speak with this help? Could you spell that name for me?  May I have his/her work phone and email address, please?  I can just email this list of ideas, if you like.
  3. See number 1.
  4. Sure, I understand.  What time could I call later?  Would 6 or 6:30 work better?  May I have the number where you will be available?
  5. Many of my clients have said the same thing.  I am available tonight at 6:30 and would be willing to show you a written plan that will prevent that from happening again. 
  6. Competition makes my service better.  Could I stop by at 6 or 6:30 to give you a written plan?  If you still like the competition, give them my plan and it will make them better.  Better means your house sells!
  7. There has never been a transaction not close because of my commission.  When can I show you what my successful process looks like – 6 or 6 :30?
  8. I totally understand all you have said and would like a little time to customize my presentation.  What time may I present a list of the steps that I will take to achieve you goal of __________________________.  Would 6 or 6:30 be better?
  9. I don’t just want a buyer; I want a buyer who pays what the property is worth.  To do that, I have to present the property in its best light.  When can I meet with you to start taking notes on the features and benefits of your property?  Would 6 or 6:30 be better?


My clients simply get more listing appointments because they can engage the client just a little longer without creating anxiety.  Stay cool.  Don’t start speeding up your speech.  Keep the client’s best interests in mind and have an answer to their first objection.   

Walter Sanford has been designing and implementing real estate systems for 30 years.  One of the most successful REALTORS® and now wealthy from his systems, Sanford teaches his systems and strategies through his products, seminars, and personal coaching producing the best results in the industry.  Do what works, do what is proven.  Hire Walter Sanford.  Call our office at 800.792.5837, email, or chat with us online at



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