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Got a minute? If you're a busy manager, that's about all you have. That's why Carla Cross, management coach, speaker, and author, has created this blog just for you, with ready-to-use tips to master management through people.

Another Leadership ‘Whack: Quit Calling your Agents your ‘Customers’


Whack: Toss the mantra ‘our agents are our customers’. The real customer is demanding we pay attention to them—or else.  

Many brokers call their agents their ‘customers’. We thought that, by calling our agents our customers, we would please them, create loyalty and forge recruiting tools. This trend of calling agents ‘customers’ was a reaction to the old-style ‘father knows best’ management. Not a bad thought, but, unfortunately, too limiting. We assumed that, if we provided the services agents wanted, everything would be wonderful.

That thought process has sure gotten us into trouble. Why? Because we forgot that the person who actually pays commissions is called a ‘buyer’ or a ‘seller’—the end user. If the end user is unhappy, they vote with their feet. The result of our lack of focusing on the end user is plummeting commissions and alternative ‘agent-lite’ companies, relying much more on technology than personal service. 

The bigger business world got it long ago. When is the last time you were asked about the level of service in a business you were using? I’ll bet you are asked at least once a week. The bigger world of business discovered long ago that they had to satisfy the needs of the consumer-and that those needs were escalating by the minute. 

How do we put the real consumer first, providing the services that make them so happy they would never leave us?


  1. Quit hiring non-committed agents. They simply will not do the work, create a business, and serve consumer needs to warrant a ‘generous’ commission
  2. Establish standards of production for your agents. What do you expect of them—and when?
  3. Accept that a low-producing agent cannot and does not provide excellent service—and the consumer knows that
  4. Pretend you are a consumer. Which of your agents would you want to work with? Which of your agents wouldn’t you want to buy a home from?

If your agents aren’t your customers, what are they? Perhaps partners, as one very successful franchise has termed them. You decide. 

Get Real Leadership Strategies

Do you want to step into a better leadership style? Be more effective? Recruit more and better? I’ve created a very special, unique program for managers and owners: Once a month I share a specific leadershp strategy to recruit, choose, train, coach, and retain winners. These are proven strategies to get you out of a rut, take you past crisis management, and energize and inspire your team. See more at 365 Leadership. This new series closes for enrollment March 15. Find out more here.


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