System conversions are very difficult in real estate. If there is one eternal truth, agents will absolutely resist change no matter what. Even with MLS system conversions where the death of the application, vital to their business, is eminent; they hang on during the parallel period until the very end. Then there is a flood of complaints about failure to notify them or train them. It’s a way of life that extends beyond the MLS system to the brokerage system.
More and more, brokers are providing end-to-end business systems to their agents. Over years, the company trains and supports the program. It becomes part of the culture of a company. Then one day, usually for sound business reasons, the broker decides to change vendors. Chaos ensues.
Change is a recruiting opportunity
When you see a competitor changing vendors, it is a great time to target your recruiting. License the system that your competitive broker is dumping and offer it for agents who want to come over and bring their system with them. The recruits can wear the old shoes of their last firm for as long as they like.
Change is a retention opportunity
If your brokerage is switching systems, negotiate a fee for those agents who do not want to switch. It will be a great strategy for keeping them on board and not rocking their world with a conversion that they will hate. Let them change on their terms.
Negotiate your options upfront
When you are negotiating with a vendor, negotiate the termination terms in advance. Knowing that some agents will insist on staying on the old system, give them the option of a slow migration so you don’t blow up your culture. Lets face it, if you are a broker, you care more about agents selling real estate than the tools they use to do it. If they are happy, don’t mess with them.
You may also want to negotiate a market area exclusive. It would block competitors from using your technology provider against you. There is nothing worse than the same technology solution being offered by multiple leading brokers in the same marketplace.
WAV Group not only supports brokerages with vendor selection, but we support them at developing the strategy and story that goes with the technology selection. We call it vendor relationship management. Take some time to think ahead before you move.