Attorney Turned Generational Expert Helps Brokers Better Bottom Line

Written by Posted On Monday, 28 February 2005 16:00

According to research done by The Real Estate Standards Institute in November, 2004, brokers are losing their shirts. Not only do their labor costs exceed 80 percent compared to general business labor costs of 37 percent, but their net-per-transaction has slid from $300 to $400 per transaction five years ago, to less than $100 today.

While there are a number of reasons why the profitability is going out of brokerage services, one reason that has been documented over and over is generational differences which lead buyers and sellers, and agents in different and conflicting directions. Generational differences also affect recruiting, as brokers find they must replace retiring agents or office-hoppers who have been lured away by increasingly preposterous incentives.

It's clearly time to teach old dogs new tricks.

Real estate consultant and RECON president and founder Jeremy Conaway has seen the problem coming for a long time. RECON specializes in business planning and development counsel for real estate associations, MLSs and brokers. He was looking for a way to expand his business with the help of another trusted consultant who, could address problems arising for his real estate clients in both personnel and sales.

Conaway picked John Ansbach, a Dallas attorney and founder of the Generational Consulting Group, to open a second RECON office in Dallas. Ansbach's practice is providing generational and strategic business and marketing information to clients, a concept that dovetails nicely with RECON's mission.

"John's expertise and client assistance capabilities enhance our offerings and increase our ability to help our real estate clients provide excellent service to their members," says Conaway. "This expansion means that RECON will better assist our clients in managing and embracing the critical industry issues of the day, particularly those involving management of personnel and sales."

Ansbach, also a visiting lecturer at The University of Texas School of Law in Austin, Texas, has put together a series of presentations for a variety of audiences -- brokers, agents, and MLS and association personnel, and has already appeared before RECON clients with his generational theories and advice.

"I have the luxury of working for and promoting the interests of our clients," says Ansbach, "with generational tools that really work. All they want is to be more successful, more productive, and happier in what they do, and we can help make that happen."

So, why is it important for brokers and agents to learn about generational attitudes?

"Primarily because the very nature of business, in our industry and in others, has changed over the last several years," says Ansbach, "trending towards more tailoring of management, and sales efforts to reach and address the employee or consumer, in a manner that will prompt them to respond as desired. Put simply, it's more effective to manage employees and sell to consumers when you know who they are, where they come from, and what they want. Generational tools provide this knowledge. When brokers and agents train in generational dynamics, they learn critical information, tactics and strategies that empower them to improve their management and sales efforts. This is a low-cost, high-yield tool to add to the toolbox of today's real estate professional."

Ansbach teaches simple concepts that work -- the Golden Rule of sales and marketing.

"What we do at RECON through generational training is we arm sales professionals with specific, actionable information about real estate consumers based on the latest generational research," says Ansbach. "For example, current data reflects that first-time home buyers are dominated by Generation Xers, ages 29-40. By arming sales professionals with the latest in Gen Xer home buying and selling preferences, we enhance their ability to know their customer and, therefore, to better serve them. In short, knowing the identifiable generational characteristics of home consumers allows our clients to gain the advantage over their competitors."

He advises that an open mind is a good way to begin.

"First, set aside your stereotypes about others you work for and with. If you maintain an open mind about where other people come from and what they grew up with (i.e., their generational values), oftentimes you can attain a level of understanding that not only improves your working relationship with them, but, moreover, enhances your ability to work with them, allowing you to be happier and more productive."

"Second, take the time to identify what generation your consumers belong to. If you simply know the age of the person(s), you can improve your understanding of their preferences and values, thereby improving upon your ability to provide them with better service in a manner they will be most responsive to."

"Third, review your current efforts for generational consistency. Are you communicating with consumers, fellow agents, and brokers in ways that are "generationally comfortable" for them? Are your messages consistent with their generational values? If not, commit to make changes that will put you and the people in your professional sphere, on the same generational page. The resulting increased productivity, profitability, and happiness will make you glad you did."

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Blanche Evans

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