Getting the Split Right


One of the defining moments in every young broker’s career is when you can walk away from a successful transaction feeling that you received your fair share of the brokerage commission.
Almost every broker, however, has endured that moment when you feel you have been taken advantage of by a more senior broker. The senior broker may feel that his or her contribution was more important, while the junior broker may feel that he or she did nearly everything.

One of the most important things that a team of brokers can do is define their brokerage splits, in an open discussion, when they get an assignment. Brokers who wait until the last minute to decide who gets what often leave someone feeling as if they were taken advantage of.

A senior broker recently described a defining moment early in her career. On transaction after transaction, she felt that she was getting the short end of the stick. There was nothing left to do but try to go independent or leave the firm. After a week of feuding, she was summoned to the owner’s office, where she was told that “there was no such thing as indentured servitude” in this business and that she was free to go independent. As the story goes, the other broker saw her shortly thereafter and inquired about the two of them continuing to work together, but on different splits.

She said quite defiantly to me, “it was an easy ‘No thanks.’”

She described how her life changed dramatically from that moment forward. She became more motivated and eventually quite successful.

The two brokers had been a good team, but because the splits were not defined until the end of each transaction, she often felt that she did not get what she deserved or that she had spent too much time on a transaction to merit the small percentage that she received—and apparently that negative feeling stayed with her. If the splits had been agreed to in advance, she would have known how much time to put into each transaction and perhaps they would still be working together.

Our business is one that requires confidence and a positive outlook. After all, who knows better than a broker who tries to make something out of nothing every day?

Treating people the way you would like to be treated goes a long way toward increasing successful collaboration within a company. It is a defining principle at our firm.