Are there advantages to a big box agency? The numbers don’t lie.

Data from the National Association of Realtors, The Keller Center at Baylor University, and JD Power has shown again and again that brand doesn’t matter much at all to buyers or sellers. In fact, even the brokerages with the highest brand recognition levels don’t see that translate into comparable market share. When it comes to choosing a real estate agent, the vast majority of clients choose based on personal referrals or previous experience.

How can this be, when brokerages spend millions of dollars on advertising campaigns, brand expertise, and marketing gurus? Because real estate is a personal transaction, and those brands are not advertising you — your market expertise, your personality, your reliability, your energy. And you are the deciding factor for potential clients, not a fancy logo or a clever commercial.

Why are big box brokerages so ineffective at what they’re supposed to do — helping buyers and sellers? Because that’s not really their business model. You see, brokerages get their money from franchise fees paid by individual owners. All of that fancy advertising is designed to convince people to start new franchises — not to help agents get more clients. The franchise owners then hope that enough agents hand over their hard-earned commissions and exorbitant admin fees to keep things afloat.

Who’s not being served in this equation? You and your clients. When your brokerage is only focused on its own growth it’s not interested in things like training and services designed to help the agent. Those cost money and they don’t bring in franchise owners. Brand recognition and low ownership costs — that’s the name of the game when you’re in the business of selling franchises. But it doesn’t help you grow your personal business and it doesn’t help your clients sell their home.

How do you get training and career development at a big box brokerage? Through high-priced workshops, seminars, and conferences sold to you from your company. Does that make sense? If they were interested in helping you, shouldn’t they be providing training and expertise? Shouldn’t they be providing services to help you run your business more efficiently? Shouldn’t they be investing in marketing that helps you get clients? Follow the money and you’ll see what that big-name brokerage is focused on — their own bottom line. Your business is just an afterthought.