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Can a small, independent broker or team compete with the big brands? Absolutely! No matter your size, each of us has something unique, different and oftentimes better. Our collective goal is to provide amazing client experiences and put our customers in a position to be the best-informed party in the transaction. However, bigger brokerages use their name and reputation to create growth and add marketshare, so it may seem impossible to compete with them. Don’t let this intimidate you. Smaller independent/boutique-type brokerages and teams can succeed among the goliath brokerages with a few additions or adjustments.

First, evaluate your brokerage and team and ask, “What is my unfair competitive advantage?” What services can you provide, and who are the potential partners that can add value to your offering? You can offer everything big brokerages do and then some. For that reason, some agents and customers might not like using big-named brokerages for their real estate needs. Buyers are doing more of their own footwork on the internet, so find ways to accommodate them and meet them where they are. Don’t try to make them do it “your way,” but rather, adapt with them to provide what they need. If clients see better service, they are more likely to refer your real estate brokerage to their friends and acquaintances.

Having an unfair advantage isn’t enough though. Next, you need to determine if the market knows about it. How do you do this? In this case, it will be according to your firm’s value. There are different ways to increase your value to get that growth and profit you’re after:

– The broker could be more available to agents and clients (one-on-one).

– You can hire support staff to help with marketing, website building, transaction coordinating, etc.

– Purchase tools or provide agents with tools and strategies that you yourself have created. The WSS (Workman Success Systems) training center provides long-term support for agents at all stages, with specific training for buyer’s agents, listing agents and administrative assistants.

– Reduce overhead by avoiding flashy offices and high fees.

– Create a mobile office by allowing agents to search listings, market themselves, complete paperwork, get support, network with each other and communicate with clients with the use of a friendly mobile app.

– Allow your agents to provide white-glove service by creating a comp plan that allows you as the broker as well as the agent to be profitable.

When you put in the effort to showcase your brokerage’s differences to agents and potential customers, there’s a high chance for success. Making the effort helps you stand out and provides the motivation and structure you need to make sure your agents and their clients are getting a great experience.

If you need help evaluating what your boutique brokerage may need to compete in this David vs. Goliath world, know that there are solutions and strategies that can set you up for success.

Verl Workman is the founder and CEO of Workman Success Systems (385-282-7112), an international speaking, consulting and coaching company that specializes in performance coaching and building successful power agents and teams. Contact him at, or go to to learn more.