Bringing Value to Your Clients - Are You a Counselor or Facilitator?

March 5, 2015
By Mary Schaefer, MORe Now Contributor

What's Your Real Estate State of Mind?

Prosperity in real estate comes as a result of hard-work and dedication to adopting processes that build your business. Successful industry professionals are continually focused on defining their skill sets, dedicated to building their careers, investing long hours to furthering their knowledge of the industry and see the business as a full-time career--it all becomes a state of mind. 
High producing sales agents are capturing more and more market share. According to analysis by Steve Murray, president of REAL Trends, Inc., an increasing number of agents and brokerage companies fall into two predominate categories: facilitators and counselors.

Counselors are individuals who Are invested and generally are considered full-time in the business

  • They have, on average, higher production, attend and invest in motivational training, coaching and educational seminars to advance their skill sets to grow their business. They are working to advance their expertise and study to attain certifications and designations within the industry.
  • They are increasingly competitive and are focused on activities that produce more business. 
  • Counselors generally are skilled and quicker to adopt technology, marketing, education and negotiating skills.  They are always furthering their expertise and knowledge in the housing market and have a mastery of the complexities of the buying and selling transaction. They understand the market, the community in which they sell and the transaction process as a whole. They bring more to the transaction and are mentally engaged in work to better serve their clients and customers, ultimately bringing more value to the relationship. From that delivery of service, these counselors are picking up greater market share.
  • Successful real estate teams typically fall into the counselor category. "Good real estate teams are building real systems. They are able to manage a lot of transactions and have good processes in place," says Murray. "They are working hard to find clients and customers and follow up with impressive service."
  • Murray also sees some of the teams in the country operate from multiple locations. It's all about having the systems in place and somebody really motivated and intelligent to run it. "We are going to see an explosion and real growth in the team format and with Millennials and successful Gen X agents building their own teams," he says.


Order the REAL Trends books to learn more about Facilitators and Counselors: Game Changers: The Unfounded Fears and Future Prosperity of the Residential Real Estate Industry 

Facilitators are identified as a group of agents who do far less business than counselors.

  • They can process a sales transaction well but are not in position to add more value from a consulting standpoint. 
  • They are not engaged in the 40-, 50- or 60-hour week routine that a counselor is. They aren't investing the time and effort to grow their business.
  • They are slower to adopt technologies or haven't adopted them as extensively as higher volume agents. Because of their lack of expertise, they are not in a position to offer as much in the way of true guidance to their clients and customers.
  • They generally lack transaction experience and are not skilled in the details of either the market or the transaction. 

Murray indicates there are fewer counselors than facilitators.

Of the 1.1 million REALTORS®, he expects there are probably 150,00-200,000 counselors in the real estate business.
"Counselors bring a lot of value to client or customer relationships because they understand the market better and understand the transaction overall better," says Murray.
And more people in the future are going to be looking for a counselor as their agent in the transaction, he says. More online reviews, testimonials and ratings will increasingly tilt the table more in favor of counselors in the business. Smart consumers will look for agents who have more testimonials and reviews.
"When you think of state of mind, counselors are saying to themselves, I am dedicated to building a career in this industry and will do whatever it takes to work full time to study and learn to become really skilled at this business and be a master of the profession," said Murray. Counselors also seek to form relationships with other high producers or counselors.  
"What bugs them is if they have to do 80% of the work and have to pay out half the income to a facilitator," says Murray. "Counselors are increasingly going to be picking up greater and greater market share. It's inevitable."
Murray also indicates that brokerage companies provide the environment that nurtures the facilitator or counselor attributes. "Typically the facilitator brokerage model does not invest significantly in the human capital of the agents," said Murray. "They don't have the time to invest in or improve agents essentially. They might provide technology platforms and marketing assistance, but don't excel at the training and education of the agents to improve their business."
Murray sees the percent of agents working with facilitator brokerage companies on the rise just because of the sheer volume of facilitator agents working in the business. But, on the other hand, the majority of counselor agents are selecting to be with a counselor brokerage.
"The challenge for the counselor brokerage is they have to continually find ways to enhance the value they provide counselor agents. Their number one challenge is training, education, marketing, technology, facilities, management, coaching and mentoring," said Murray. "The shrinking share of counselor broker firms is because it requires investment of money, time and resources to have a true counselor brokerage company."
Murray sees there are a few counselor brokerages out there that have the first six months mapped out for a new agent including steps they need to follow if they want to be successful and they have mentors and guides who watch over them to hold them accountable.
"If, after 3-4 months, that agent is not successful or doing the work, then that counselor brokerage will not keep that agent," said Murray.
According to Murray, where you are as a facilitator or counselor is first a state of mind. "A brand new facilitator agent, if they dig in and start working 50 hours a week understanding the market, and partner up with a mentor agent or manager, they won't remain a facilitator agent very long. Somebody hell-bent on being a counselor agent is going to partner with other counselors to learn the processes," said Murray. "They will learn what they need to learn and pair up with a counselor and even take them with them, but first it becomes a state of mind to get where you need to go."

What is the most important quality of a "counselor agent" in your opinion? Were there any qualities not mentioned in this article that you think are important to real estate success? Let us know in the comments section below!



 Bringing Value to Your Clients - Are You a Counselor or Facilitator?

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