We call Stepping Up! a Professional Partnership. But what is a Professional Partnership? We’ve all heard of Business Partners and seen many of these in the real estate business and they can be a great exit strategy your real estate business. However, successes with this method can be few and far between.

A Professional Partnership is not a whole lot different, except for the BIG word, Professional! This refers to a team which has experience in assisting agents with their exit strategy and managing their business for them in the future. These teams have the capacity and experience to care for the excess clients that are demanded by retiring agents. But the most important aspect of a Professional Partnership is the income generating retirement that is offered to the Retiring Agent. That’s what Stepping Up! does – we keep your sphere producing for you for years and years to come. We’ve been doing this for over 8 years now with our most senior Referring Agents with still no end in sight!

The “Professional” side of this is creating a model and structure that can handle the excess volume and care required when assimilating another agent’s business with your own. What we don’t want to see is two agents simply joining together, one with a good established business and one wanting to retire or downsize their business, because it just won’t work. The agent with the good established business should already be close to maxed out volume wise. If so, how in the world are they going to add in your great client base and take care of all of them too? There just isn’t enough time in a day! And, by the way, you do not want to assimilate your business with an agent who does have the time to take care of it. If they were good, they’d already be too busy and not be able to handle your extra transaction load. Something will have to give!

So, what our Professional Partnership has done, what Stepping Up! has done, is built the infrastructure and the systems to handle the excess sales volume that your business should provide. The last thing we would ever want to do is not be able to handle the increased business, because that’s what we’re here for. In fact, we have 10 Referring Agents on some of our teams and we’re still able to handle 100%+ of their businesses. That’s very important to us.

The Professional side of it is the means of marketing, the means of caring for our Referring Agents and their people, their clients. The means of handling all of the business that comes your way. We have mastered this over the years, and it makes a big difference.

And just for information, we don’t use the “R” word, Retirement. That’s a 4-letter word, a dirty word, in our vocabulary and we forbid it! That word kills business but we’d rather generate business for you. And we actually have seen businesses grow for many of our Referring Agents the first year with our teams. Our first Referring Agent saw a 60% increase in her already good business her first year with our team. That’s a big number and we don’t always see that much, but we often do see increases. The reason behind this has to do with the nature of agents as they consider exiting their business. Agents often think, “I’ll retire in a couple years”. So, the first year they quit marketing because why spend the extra bucks? Then the second year they actually get very picky as to who they work with – maybe only their very best clients or their family. So, by the time that retirement line comes around, they’ve let their business, their sphere, die off and there really isn’t a lot of business left! We see the good increase because we’re out there marketing in a way that the typical agent hasn’t seen in a few years as they consider downsizing or retiring. We’ve been able to revive some of that for them. However, we can do a much better job for our agents if we get together with them a couple years before quitting time and keep that sphere alive. They can still work only the easy ones, but we’ll take care of the rest. It will add up in extra income for them in the years to come.

That’s the key in this business, keeping your name alive and in front of your sphere, your clients. That’s all we need is your name, we don’t need anything else. We’re happy to have more if you choose to stay involved with your friends and clients, and it will help generate even more business for you, but we can still make you a good living without your involvement if you so choose. That’s what our first Referring Agent did, the one who saw a 60% increase her first year. She simply stayed connected with her people by phone and notes, plus a couple client events we sponsored. We love that! And it’s that easy!

That’s what Stepping Up! is all about, that’s what a Professional Partnership is. That’s what makes our system work. It’s not rocket science, it’s just putting together a plan. But more importantly than that, a lot of people can put together good plans, it’s implementing or using that plan to its fullest. Making that plan work, and that’s what we do well. We stick to the plan and make it work. That’s the key to any successful venture.

There are five steps to Stepping Up!:

  • Don’t use the “R” word (Retirement). It’s a dirty word in our vocabulary that kills business, and we’re going to generate it! We want your clients to see that you’re still involved in the business.
  • Your involvement, you need to decide exactly how involved you want to be. We have some Referring Agents whose clients are their very best friends and they want to stay in touch with them throughout a transaction. And others who don’t want to do anything more than simply make the introduction, because they’re having too much fun traveling or playing with their grandkids. That’s perfectly fine, we can work either way!
  • Step Up! – become a part of a Stepping Up! Team. We have many to choose from.
  • Understand your Professional Partnership. Know what your role is with us. Our role is to take care of all your paperwork, your clients and your transactions. We stay in contact with them on your behalf. Your role is to refer and cash the check! If you want to be more involved than that, we love it. But that’s all you have to do.
  • Trust the model. We’ve proven this system over the years and it works. Just be a part of it, a part of us!

Why did we develop Stepping Up!? Because we agents who are a part of this have a heart for Realtors. We don’t want to see them do a “cold turkey” disconnect from the business and just plain retire. That’s an abrupt end to a long career and a total disconnect from who you’ve been for a long time. That can be traumatic, plus it leaves a lot of money on the table. We want to see you still involved, but only to the point that you want to be. Maybe just by name, or maybe deeper. That’s up to you.

Stepping Up! is all about caring for people. Caring for our Referring Agents and caring for your clients! We’ll keep close contact with you during all your transactions so you’ll be as up to date as you want to be. Never know when you’re going to run into that client in the grocery store and they ask you how it’s going. Of course, you can always tell them that your team is working on it and you’ll check in with them and get back to your client. We can update you in a minute!

That’s what a Professional Partnership is all about. It’s a relatively new concept, but you’re going to see a lot more of it in the years to come as our Realtor force ages. We’re here for you!

By Tom Ebenhack, CEO