The Path to Becoming a Managing Broker

by Jason Porterfield

Do You Have What it Takes to be a Managing Broker?

There many misconceptions around what managing brokers actually do, and thus how agents should prepare themselves to take that step in their career.

“Agents who are thinking about getting into management ask what the job is about, and I think many agents think it’s about putting out fires,” said Tricia Riberto, managing broker at Coldwell Banker’s LaGrange office. “Being more efficient and knowing the code of ethics for any problems that come up are important, but running a successful brokerage is really about recruiting and retention.”

A good managing broker knows how recruit the agents who will add to the bottom line. The right recruits – and the recruits worth working to retain – are those who will consistently produce, and knowing how to recruit those producers and keep them happy is perhaps the most important aspect of a managing broker’s role.

So perhaps the biggest change for agents transitioning into a managing broker role will be the focus on company culture and others’ productivity. Some agents may find it difficult to bridge the gap between what has worked for them and what will motivate other agents. But that insight and understanding, Riberto says, are key to managing a successful office.

“Being able to retain the agents you have is really about them being happy and thriving in your brokerage. Agents are happy when they’re making the money they want to make and achieving the level of success they want. When your agents are happy and thriving and telling other agents how happy they are, that helps with recruiting.”


Much of the job of managing a brokerage relies on the ability to relate to and communicate with agents on both a personal and a professional level. An office’s success depends on how each agent’s individual strengths and weaknesses play off one another, and an effective managing broker must know how to use that information to build loyalty and motivate their agents to succeed.

Some managing brokers remain salespeople. They switch gears between handling their own transactions and helping to facilitate those of their agents. In the Council of Real Estate Brokerage Managers’ 2014 Member Profile and Needs Assessment report, 41 percent of respondents said their main function in their firm was as a broker-owner with selling, while 16.1 percent reported performing that function without selling.

Others feel that the business is better served if they step away from the sales aspect entirely. While the managing broker may not be directly involved in buying and selling, he or she is responsible for helping agents complete the transactions that drive the brokerage’s success.

“This is a lifestyle profession that’s focused on relationships,” said Beth Allen-Tiernan, managing broker at Jameson Sotheby’s International Realty’s Gold Cost office. “The importance of looking at the individual agent as a whole person, not just a sales agent – it helps create success and happiness in all areas of their lives.”

In his article for Placester.com titled “How to Find the Top Talent for Your Real Estate Brokerage,” Matthew Bushery referenced Google’s success in hiring and retaining the very best talent in tech. “It’s simple, really: Those running the company have built-in systems that set its workers up for success on a daily basis.” This applies to real estate companies, he says, highlighting the importance of support systems available to agents and incentive programs.

Last month, PointDrive Director of Strategy and Business Development Tim Swindle wrote a guide for recruiting real estate agents using technology. PointDrive is a Chicago-based sales content and presentation platform used by companies like @properties, Coldwell Banker, Dream Town, Related Realty and other real estate brokerages. In it, he emphasized the importance of demonstrating your brokerage’s resources and technology savvy to a prospective hire. One strategy he recommends is creating “a personalizable mobile presentation.” Such a presentation may include something of value for the agent, like: “A PowerPoint of tips on selling. If she gets these even before she accepts, she’ll have a positive feeling about both your generosity and your ability to train.”

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