Is being a ‘listing agent’ overrated?

by Dustin Graham04 May 2015
Many sales reps believe the most successful agents are, first and foremost, listing agents. But for agents new to the business or for those looking to revamp their business models, deciding whether to market to buyers or sellers can be a confusing question since those two kinds of clients often go hand in hand.
There really isn’t a right or wrong answer to this question, but your path will somewhat depend on how your chips fall and what you’re most comfortable with.
As a listing agent you might find yourself in stiff competition with the discount agents, who seem to be popping up all the time. For that reason, focusing purely on listings may not always pay off the way we’d like it to. Many agents, whether they’d like to admit it or not, will discount their listing commission in order to “win” the deal. Let’s face it: consumers are price shoppers and, unless we’re willing to pass on potential business, discounting is sometimes a necessary action in some markets. I don’t encourage discounting whatsoever, but at the end of the day we’re here to make a living and price-conscious consumers don’t always recognize our value propositions beyond our commission.
Conversely, as a co-operating agent working with buyers, we’re often commissioned at the full market rate (usually 2.5 per cent). However, properly servicing buyers can take up substantially more time compared to listing a home. As a result, the extra money we may make from working with buyers could potentially be offset by the time requirement. Your time is money and if the return is less than the expense, then it’s a bad investment.
Above all, work your sphere of influence and focus on building business through referrals. Farming, cold calling, door knocking, print marketing, online advertising, and so on, all have a place and are viable strategies to help grow your business. As your business grows, foster the relationships you’ve built and such strategies will likely become secondary.
And, in case you were wondering why the most successful agents seem to work with more sellers than buyers: statistics show that new salespeople will generally have more buyers and, as their businesses grow, the number of listings they have will eventually outnumber the number of buyers they work with – and that’s why the number of listings we have is positively correlated with higher performing agents.

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