Handling Commission, Fees, & Gift Idea Posts

In the last three years of group management, as we’ve continued to grow, we see a definite division between how many of the community discuss and appreciate the professionals that serve them.  Through trial and error we’ve landed on the side of NOT approving Commission, fees, or gift posts in Vetted VA.

Some “Whys”:

  1. Commissions/Fees are not universal and can be negotiated.  Also, according to Article 12 of the NAR Ethics guide a Realtor is not allowed to conditionally make a statement about the professionalism or character of a fellow licensed REALTOR regardless of location.  Commissions need to be discussed between the professional and the client, not the group as a whole.
    1. There are also common breakdowns here that are regionally impacted and we do not know the reasoning behind certain structure.  Similar to how we can not say an interest rate is “bad” or “good” without knowing the full credit profile of the asker of the question, we cannot coach a commission.
    2. We CAN help them by giving them questions to ask their potential agent on knowledge, service, experience, etc.  But we do not do this by approving that post.
  2. Gift posts come across with amazing heart and we want to approve them.  Because the person asking usually has an amazing story, they are exceptionally grateful for the service their professional has given, and they are keenly aware of the time and effort spent and want to do something personal in response.  However, every time we’ve tried to moderate these effectively – the wolves come out – and the disparaging remarks like “They got paid a hefty commission for your business” are commented more and more.  Unfortunately, multiple times we’ve worked to address those misconceptions the commenting still goes off the rails with negativity.  So much so that I (Nathan) have had to reach out to Original Posters, or respond to their messages, and apologize for the community attacking their desire to give back and work to clean up the post.
    1. As an example: this is a great post and question.  The initial response by moderator is solid and educational.  But the community follow up continues to move the conversation to a negative space.

Then the negativity strikes:

SO – how do we handle these?

  1. For Commission/Fees – Send the OP a message, something along – “Thank you for reaching out and seeking more input.  Unfortunately Commissions, like interest rates, have a lot to do with area and client.  So we can’t approve this post as written.  However, maybe we can help you with other questions?  Such as – How do I interview an Agent?  What questions should I ask to understand their experience?  How much experience should I be looking for?”
    1. See how the responses go with the OP when you update them on the decline and why and then work with your Squad Leader to get that OP supported.
  2. For Gifts – Thank them in a message on their heart and apologize that we can’t approve because these posts regularly turn nasty.  But then go in and tag them on other posts about gifts.  Explain to them that we have kept some of the posts as a good idea resource and would love to give them other ideas as they need.  Also encourage them to continue posting about their experiences and questions and we want to help keep the education growing in the group.

Use your own words and heart to get the message across lovingly and supportively.  Utilize your Squad Leaders as back up and oversight to make sure you aren’t having to go it alone.