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What makes being a real estate agent so unique? We’re one of the only businesses that actually survives on “coop-etition.” We only succeed by cooperating with the competition.

During my second year in the business, I was having a bit of an ordeal with a transaction. My uncle Bill was my broker, and I explained the situation to him: The other agent I was working with said one thing, the buyer said something else, and the seller had something completely different to say. He looked me in the eye and said, “Buyers and sellers will come and go. The agent is always going to be here, and you’ll probably end up doing business together again in the future. Your relationship with the other agent is the only thing that’s going to make this deal close. Stick to the facts and the contract, and protect that relationship with the other agent.”

How do we make that happen with purpose? How do we create more leverage for ourselves and our business through relationships with our competition?

First, keep your relationships with the competition at the forefront of your daily duties by taking the time to congratulate them on victories, listings, the things they do on social media, etc. I also make it a point to wish them a happy birthday.

I remember being in an incredible buyer’s market in Northern California from 1990 to about 1996. There were a ton of homes on the market, as well as price reductions, and a lot of unhappy sellers. At one point, I had 23 listings and was having to manage unhappy sellers, open house scheduling and everything else. I realized through conversations with my competition that I could create a reputation for myself as being someone who is professional, fun, kind, caring and thoughtful when involved in a co-op transaction.

I began calling on, mailing to and networking with the busiest professionals in our industry. Showing up at broker tour meetings and board events was also very helpful. I got involved in the Women’s Council of REALTORS® when there were very few men involved, became a CRS and was on the board of directors for both our local and state association of REALTORS®. All of this put me face-to-face with the best and the busiest on a regular basis. I started a mailing list that included these top agents, and we began sharing our listings. Since there was so much inventory, we decided it would benefit all of us to show one another’s listings.

But it doesn’t end there. You can just as easily leverage the competition in a seller’s market when there’s very low inventory, a lot of buyers and nothing to sell them. In this situation, it’s all about reaching out to the agent who has the listing my client is leaning to make an offer on. I check on them personally and ask what we can do to make our offer better. I also offer to reciprocate should they ever have a buyer for one of my listings.

In the end, remember that there are many ways to leverage the competition. Don’t forget that your competition is also your friend and ally. Step up, nurture and respect those relationships, and allow yourself the success you deserve.

Geha_Rick_60x60Rick Geha of The Rick Geha Real Estate Team began his real estate career at age 22. Over the past 15 years, he’s led more than 1,000 classes and workshops throughout the U.S. and Canada and has presented keynote addresses to thousands of professionals from all industries and walks of life. Rick is currently a coach with Workman Success Systems. Contact him at For more information, please visit

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