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How Do You Handle Office Misunderstandings? July 1st, 2009 | Posted in General Real Estate

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Getting along in an office can be frustrating. You have so many considerations. Even though you may be right, you must consider the damage to the relationship you have with the other agent in the office, with your broker, and the other agents in the office. Don’t forget your client who might hear any negative news, too.

You need the people in your office to handle those incoming inquiries about your listings, send your buyers to you without any side trips, and tell your sellers that all is being handled efficiently. These other agents are ambassadors to your business while they have no stake in your business so you have to get along with each other!

Recently, one of my coaching clients had an amazing “discussion” with an agent in her office. The names have been changed to protect the guilty and innocent, but the circumstances are amazing.

How would you have handled this nightmare?

Suzie: “I cannot tell you how floored I was to see the commission split at closing. It certainly does not create good will from your fellow agents here at the office. You are quite right that you marked special conditions, but since no one else within the office had ever done this to me, I did not ask any questions. I would hope that you will reconsider this as I had no idea and feel that you should have made me aware, rather than surprise me.

It absolutely is my fault but I had no reason to think it would be anything but a 50/50 split. I turned the closing in and asked the secretaries if ANYONE else within our company did this, and they didn’t know of anyone else doing that. We should all strive to sell our company listings and getting a 50/50 split is the best part. I respect your professionalism and think you do a great job. I try to do a good job as well and it would be nice to be compensated equally.”

Mary: “I am sorry that you were surprised at the commission split. You did do a great job on this transaction, and I enjoyed working with you. When we came to this new company, this policy was explained to us in depth. We also have received Emails from the broker outlining the special conditions and how it works. My partner and I do use the special conditions in most of our listings. While we always try to offer a 2.4% commission, we do not always offer a 50/50 split. We do spend a great deal of money on advertising, assistants, and other services for our sellers. I did speak with our office manager, and she tells me that several agents do enter special conditions on their properties.

Again, I am sorry for the confusion. It was never my intent to be anything but upfront and honest by checking special conditions and making in house agents aware of the commission offered on this property.”

Suzie: “In explanation, I always hate to put personal info into it, but my son is very ill. He has cancer. He is going to a trial procedure in Utah where they remove all his bone marrow and stem cells, and basically kill him and hopefully bring him back to life. That is where the money was going from this transaction. He will be in ICU for 2-3 weeks and possible good results or death. It is a tough place to be as a parent. That is why this was so important to me. Just wanted you to know I wasn’t being greedy.

In case you don’t believe me, ask anybody that knows me. In this particular incidence, you did not have to spend any advertising dollars, brochures, etc. I again ask for your consideration this one time. Insurance does not participate in this trial.”

My suggested response from Mary: “So, where does this leave me? Bad business practitioner or a monster? Neither is acceptable or true. If you would graciously accept my effort to start an office fund for your son, I will put in the first $500 and distribute a pledge form to all the agents and management in this office for his help. If you would be so kind to outline more information about him, like his name, hobbies and accomplishments — I will draw up a cover letter and make a pledge form to submit it through the office this week, showing that I was stepping up with $500. Maybe we can exceed your expectations. Please let me know.”

I will let you all know how this ordeal ends. Being adept at handling office conflict can really make the environment a better place for all.


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