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How to find a compatible business partner

In my last column, I talked about how to use a Points Per Task system with a business partner to support each other without having to share commissions.

This system allows you to get more done, be more flexible and take time off more frequently; all without ever giving up a dime of your hard-earned commissions to another agent.

The key is finding a compatible partner, which sounds daunting, but actually, it’s surprisingly simple to get started. You can “try out” a “loose” partnership and if it’s not working, end it and try again with someone else. No big deal.

On the other hand, if it’s going well, the sky’s the limit on how far you go with a partnership. For example, at one time, my business partner Dave and I shared the same CRM, the same assistant, the same listing presentation and even the same office.

And yet, we never once shared a commission. We looked like partners to the outside world, but in fact, we were two individual agents who just figured out a great way to support each other, using the Points Per Task system.

So, how do you find a compatible partner?

One of the things that people worry about with a partnership is if their partner will put out the same effort for your clients as they do for their own. But Dave and I had the opposite experience. We both felt a strong responsibility to do a great job for the other guy’s clients; the last thing we wanted to do was disappoint our partner!

I would go above and beyond to make absolutely sure that Dave’s clients received great care and advice from me and he would do the same.

The point is that you and your proposed partner don’t need to be clones of each other, but you must have similar values and a similar work ethic.

To determine this, take it slow and easy and get to know each other. You don’t need to even talk about the Points Per Task system or mention the word “partnership” until you are ready. Instead, start with a weekly accountability meeting to discuss business and support each other in achieving your goals. This could be with anyone in your office that you feel might make a good future partner. Or talk to your broker and ask them if they could recommend a good match.

You’ll learn a ton about the other person by meeting and chatting with them every week, and some of what you learn might not be from the talking. For example, if I had a proposed partner who was late for every meeting or made excuses to change the date and time every week, I would end it and try someone else. For me, not being prompt and reliable are deal-breakers. For you, maybe it’s something completely different. The point is, get to know your partner well before you take the next step.

If it’s going well, go ahead and introduce the Points Per Task system and see if your proposed partner is interested. All you need to do is agree to whatever points are assigned to each task, which is completely open to discussion. Many agents get hung up on the “points” part, but it’s almost always because they think too much in dollars and cents rather than in points.

For example, would I go to all the work of researching and building a CMA for a property, do a full listing presentation and sign the clients up to a contract all for $1,000? Not a chance.

But would I do all that work knowing that my partner would now owe me an equivalent amount of work later? You bet I would!

Once you’ve started using the Points Per Task system, you must continue to meet regularly. You’ve formed the foundation of a partnership, which can lead to great things. But never forget, all great partnerships are built upon great communication.