According to the National Association of REALTORS®, approximately 42 percent of real estate professionals are affiliated with a franchise. Franchising provides a platform to execute from versus constantly having to develop new marketing materials and technology from scratch. The time and capital saved provides more opportunity and resources for brokerage owners to grow the business.
Affiliating with a franchise is not a silver bullet for growth, however, and care must be taken to make a national brand feel relevant in the local community. The secret lies in articulating your value proposition.
Defining the Difference
Real estate franchises differentiate themselves in many ways through culture, business models, technology and service. Each brand’s value proposition—something of worth that is presented to a potential customer—is often built around these core differentiators.
Because real estate companies are locally owned and operated, brokers typically align themselves with a franchise brand that complements their philosophies and business practices. But in building their business locally, it is imperative to distill that value proposition to the people with their feet on the street and put words into action. At the highest level, a brand inspires trust beyond just the local community.
In a franchise situation, there are three pathways through which a value proposition can be delivered: from brand to broker, from broker to agent and from agent to client.
Brand to Broker
At the brand level, our job is to be sure our brokers understand the unique value proposition we bring to them—every day. We accomplish this through proactive communication of features and benefits, marketing (consumer and B2B), timely training sessions, interactive webinars and live events. Growth is obviously important, and most brands will have a variety of initiatives to help with recruiting, M&As, etc.
This in turn creates a situation in which brokers are regularly reminded of the value the brand brings to their business. From tools to technology to techniques, a national brand has invested resources in these valuable offerings so they can pass them along to their customers: the broker. We know that a broker who regularly engages with the brand by reading emails, participating in events and networking with colleagues has a greater understanding of the brand’s value proposition and how to deploy it within their company.
Broker to Agent
Brokers who in turn communicate these things of value to their independent sales associates increase the likelihood that their agents will engage with these business-building features and benefits. Because agents are independent contractors, they are in essence running their own business as well, so appealing to their growth goals is a great way to build their business and your business at the same time. In addition, having regular conversation about how your philosophies and practices support agent growth increases agent retention.
Being able to articulate your value proposition also supports recruiting efforts. With 58 percent of real estate professionals currently unaffiliated, a vast pool of talent is waiting to hear from you on how your brokerage can bring value to them.
Agent to Client
Agents have the opportunity to leverage national brands and locally recognized brokerages to build their own unique brand and business. Prospects who can easily understand how their agent taps into proprietary technology, national marketing platforms and syndicated listing distribution systems, while leveraging locally delivered support from their broker and their own professional network to connect buyers and sellers, more often than not become clients.
You can support this conversation by providing your agents with templated slides in listing presentations or brochures outlining the company’s value proposition that help them deliver a consistent message that supports their brand and yours.
Bringing It Home
Working with a franchise—as a broker, agent or client—is often a business decision that is driven by an expectation of positive results. It’s true that franchising is not a magic pill—simply hanging up a new sign doesn’t necessarily change the course of the business. But combining a firm with a strong local reputation and value proposition with a trusted franchising partner, and being clear about how you can uniquely deliver on that combined brand promise, brings value across all three pathways, ensuring a successful journey for all.
Rich DeNicola is COO of Realogy Expansion Brands. For more information, please visit www.realogy.com.