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Success for Women’s Council Members: Chicken or the Egg?

by Carol Weinrich Helsel

Survey ArticleBased on the 2015 Women’s Council of REALTORS® Member Survey, being a Council member is a good thing for your business bottom line. Council members earn substantially more than the “typical” REALTOR®, based on a comparison of annual median income.*

The median income for Council members is $33,560 higher than that of the typical REALTOR®. Looking only at full-time real estate professionals (recognizing the vast pool of all REALTORS® likely includes more part-timers), we still find a large differential with full-time Council members earning $29,400 more than the typical full-time REALTOR®.

This is great news for Council members but it begs the question: Do members become more successful after joining the Council, or does the Council attract members pre-destined to be more successful? It’s a classic chicken or the egg question.

In truth, it’s likely a bit of both. Successful professional organizations attract successful professionals. However, what makes the Council successful is exactly what contributes to the individual success of Women’s Council members. Let’s look at some of the findings from the 2015 Member Survey.

Referral Network. Council members report half of their business comes from referrals (former clients, friends and other REALTORS®). When asked about reasons for making a referral to another Council member, the top-cited reason (far and above all others) is that “Council membership means a high-level business leader who will follow through on client needs.” The average overall estimated paid commission value of Council referral activity in 2014 was $13,217 (excludes referrals from other sources).

“It’s not surprising to me to learn that Council membership was such a strong determinant for client referrals,” says newly installed 2016 National President Melissa Zimbelman. “Our members are confident that in making referrals to other Council members, clients will receive the same high level of care they would provide themselves.”

Leaders in the Community and Industry. Nearly two-thirds (65%) of Council members report holding a leadership position in the past year – primarily in their local community. “Whether in their church, local government or local Council or REALTOR® association, our members are known for getting involved and giving back,” says Melissa. “While those already serving as leaders view the Council as a good professional ‘home,’ it’s clear we are successful in our stated mission to advance women as professionals and leaders in business, the real estate industry and the communities we serve.” Within the National Association of REALTORS®, 25% of the board of directors includes Women’s Council members, and 23% of committee appointments are held by Women’s Council members. Women’s Council members also invest in the industry, with a 62% RPAC participation rate, and $1,800,000 invested in 2015.

Engaged in the Profession. Council members are all-in when it comes to their business. Ninety-five percent conduct one or more transactions per month (the average is four) with the average transaction volume for 2014 being $6.3 million.

But it’s not all work and no (professional) play. More than 40 percent of members attended a national Council meeting in the past three years and a whopping 94 percent attended one or more local Council meetings in the past 12 months. “The extraordinary high level of participation in Council activities signals a group of professionals who understand the business value of engaging in a professional network,” says Melissa. “Our nationwide network successfully delivers business value to our members. Based on our survey, more than 64 percent of members ‘strongly agree’ that Council membership gives them a sense of professional pride and satisfaction.”

So does the Women’s Council of REALTORS® attract highly successful industry professionals, or help create them? The 2015 Member Survey can’t provide a definitive answer, but for 2016 National President Melissa Zimbelman, it’s an immaterial question. “The fact that our members rise above the norm says to me that there is meaningful, real-world value in Council membership. Our vision and our value statements reflect this. We invite everyone to take advantage of what we offer, and we hope everyone is able to give a little something back. It’s what makes the Women’s Council a strong and successful professional network.”

*Source: NAR 2015 Member Profile

SIDEBAR

By the Numbers -- 2015 Council Member Survey Fun Facts

  • 54 – Average member age (compared to 57 for all REALTORS®)
  • 50% – Percent affiliated with a national franchise (compared to 37% of all REALTORS®)
  • 10% – Percent of male members
  • 16 – Average # of years members have been active in real estate
  • 56% – Percent making a referral to another member in past year
  • 44% – Percent of members who specialize in luxury/high-end property
  • 89% – Percent reporting satisfaction with their local Council
  • $114,000: average annual income ($93,200: median)
  • 62% – Percent who invest in RPAC (compared to 31% all REALTORS®)

Note: Visit full survey and data

 

Carol Weinrich Helsel is a freelance writer with 24 years of experience in non-profit organization management. She is owner of Pastiche Communications, specializing in helping companies meet their marketing and communication goals. Learn more at www.pastichecommunications.com.

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