Outside the Room

When you participate in a Society of Exchange Counselor marketing session, there is a trove of creative ideas and advice you can take home, all given freely by Society Counselors at the session to assist any guests or Counselor attendees.

Sometimes a creative solution is not immediately endorsed by your client, banker, or managing broker. That does not mean it is not a great idea. It may mean you need some support in a person to help explain how that could help you or your client solve a problem. I remember in my early years that I learned creative solutions, but I did not have the confidence or actual successful examples to illustrate. I just needed support and did not realize where I could go for help!

We talk about the knowledge “within the room,” but there may be even more ideas, creative solutions, experience, and resources “outside the room.”  This wealth of knowledge and expertise is in the minds and memories of the Society’s Lifetime, retired, or older and most experienced members. They may be less active as a regular attendee at marketing sessions, so you need to find them in the Society membership roster or ask the Society office.

Each broker has a career curve. Normally, guest brokers learn through industry mentors, friendships, and education classes. The motivated broker earns credentials like CCIM, ALC, SIOR, CPM, or other professional designations along the journey. A selected few add S.E.C. to their signature and post on their resume. Now, as a Counselor, they usually move into their most productive real estate years, growing in expertise through the natural successes and failures along the way.

At some point in a career, due to success, age, or health reasons, the Counselor starts to trend down in their active marketing session attendance and may invest primarily for their own account. This downward trend in meeting participation does not mean they wish to let their minds become stagnant or passive.  Most are invigorated by a new challenge.

A challenge could be to assist you with a difficult listing, idea, or creative solution. The challenge could be to brainstorm possible solutions. Maybe your client needs actual examples to trust a creative formula you learned at a meeting.  Or it could be counselling techniques that propose an exchange that brings the benefits your client desires. It could be to gain an expert third-party opinion to analyze a property or client when you have hit a brick wall on a “dead” listing. It could be that introducing you to a contact is actually what is needed.

The source of this expertise could be “outside the room” within the roster of the Society and its most seasoned members.

Today’s technology has shown us how to do extensive research using Google Earth, Co-Star, etc. With COVID we also learned to communicate effectively through email, phone, Facetime, Skype, and Zoom. Using these resources can open many doors for consulting, even without an on-site visit.

The first step is to ask around for recommendations of a Counselor who has the expertise needed. Many seasoned Counselors have unique talents and have consulted on all types of properties across the nation. Many lived through bad times, like the 1980s when credit dried up. They experienced 1,500 commercial banks and 1,200 Savings and Loan Associations closing. They might have been in business when real estate values dropped up by 80% in some markets. These senior Counselors survived and, in some instances, prospered in adversity. They are great resources if we face major economic adversity again.

Let’s think about how to compensate the Counselor you ask to assist you. This is entirely by negotiation. Most brokers are willing to be paid based on success. We all have spent careers working on commission or reaping future benefits of ownership. Maybe agree to share some part of a commission, fee, or ownership when earned. If a Counselor’s ideas, formulas, expertise, or contacts led to a successful closing or project, they should be rewarded.

I have sent an unexpected check to brokers who were key to my closing or opened a door for new business without being asked.  However, it is always better to predetermine the Counselor’s fee in advance. Compensation should be an honor system decision based on the relationship and the knowledge utilized.

Do not forget: Valuable expertise could be available by asking for help of that Counselor “outside the room”!


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