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Editor’s Note: This was originally published on RISMedia’s blog, Housecall. See what else is cookin’ now at

Every brokerage wants to be on top, which begs the question: How do you create a competitive advantage in the real estate industry?

RISMedia’s recent ACE webinar, “Creating Your Firm’s Competitive Advantage,” sponsored by DocuSign and moderated by Verl Workman, CEO and founder of Workman Success Systems, included panelists Casey Reagan, chief technology officer at RE/MAX Northern Illinois, and Rick Geha, leader of The Rick Geha Team, along with Justin Engelland, senior director of Industry & Segment Marketing, Real Estate, for DocuSign.

“An unfair advantage,” Reagan said, is what makes you unique and what makes you stand out. “It’s truly hard to duplicate.”

Creating this advantage includes the following steps:

Make yourself known. The best way to stand out is to be known for something. If branding has taught us anything, it’s that we can spot a Coca Cola ad a mile away. You want to have the same effect on your brokerage. Pick a strength and stick to it (technology, commission splits, training, etc.). You will attract agents to your brokerage by being the best at what you offer.

Use your core values as a platform. Geha operates backwards using his brokerage’s core values. This is a way to add exclusivity to your reputation. Agents will be prepared to work hard to meet your criteria. Setting the bar high can establish your brokerage as one that only works with high-producing agents.

“We have to set standards such that anyone that doesn’t match them will be shown the door,” Geha said.

Partner with the best. If you’re missing the tools you need to reach your goal, find a partner that can provide them for you. According to Reagan, the key is mutual success—you both benefit from working together.

“You can create an unfair competitive advantage just by partnering and using their available resources that wouldn’t be available to yourself,” said Geha.

Target your ideal agent base. Not everyone wants a brokerage that focuses on technology, or one that promises full commission. Once you pick a strength, market yourself to that specific agent base. If you offer a team structure that other brokerages can’t, then your primary focus should be onboarding teams. This way, you’re only investing time in a mutually successful relationship.

Adoption is key. Once brought on, agents will expect a high level of support. If you claim your technology is of a higher standard than other brokerages, you need to commit to that. Make sure your adoption is seamless and that agents have a quick way to access technical staff for support.

“Adoption is really looked at as the gold standard of success,” said Reagan.

Excel in various areas. Engelland, for example, focuses on customer care, workflow automation and data.

“Real estate has the most complex type of transaction there is,” said Engelland. “It involves disconnected systems that really slow down the process of buying or selling a home. Seventy-three percent of agents consider a brokerage’s tech offering as very important when determining their satisfaction with a brokerage.”

In the end, it all comes down to building your name and reputation. Branding is key to becoming memorable and creating that unfair advantage.

Learn more from the webinar in the recording below:

Liz Dominguez is RISMedia’s associate content editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at

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