The Backstory: MLS-Broker Conflict CMLS Session

“You have 10 days,” Craig Cheatham said frankly to MLS executives attending the Friday afternoon session at the recent Boise CMLS conference. I thought to myself, “Holy….”

How we all arrived at this pivotal moment is worth sharing.

A couple of months ago, I was invited by CMLS to moderate a session topic we had actually proposed: “Eliminating MLS and Broker Conflict.”

Full disclosure: While most of our customers are broker-owners, we also work with MLS firms, including MRIS.

This gives us a unique role in the industry, working with both sides, and based on what our customers were telling us, we knew this topic needed to be surfaced.

The players

The panel participants invited by CMLS included regulars Brian Donnellan, MRIS and Gregg Larson, Clareity. We were asked to invite a broker.

My biggest fear was that the session would turn into a puff piece. Quality content is crucial to everything we do, including moderating a conference. It was vital we fully presented the broker’s point-of view.

So we reached out to The Realty Alliance for Craig Cheatham’s help. His group represents North America’s most elite real estate firms.

Craig wanted assurances that the session would invoke real dialogue. I assured Craig our interests were aligned, and after he spoke with his leadership, Craig agreed to join the discussion.

The session

To kick off the panel, I asked the audience by a show of hands, how many believed there was little or no broker conflict with MLSs?

An overwhelming majority of attendees raised their hands. I was surprised by the response, and said with a chuckle, “Well I guess the session is over then.”

Yet during the panel, Craig had a lengthy list of broker issues and concerns about MLS practices that are likely to create/increase conflict between MLSs and participant firms.

His complete list has 46 items.  Greg from Clareity has published them here.

He also suggested that CMLS shouldn’t book their next conference too far into the future, and that his broker members “have had it. They have lost faith in the system.”

Any trepidation I ever had about this session being lightweight instantly evaporated.

The aftermath

Based on what I am hearing from others, it appears many MLS firms took Gregg’s advice in the session to pick up the phone and call their largest brokers, and ask the Ed Koch question: “How am I doing?”

It’s not often one gets a chance to be in the conductor’s chair, and even rarer when a big moment like this reminds us how good customer communication is simply essential. I’m also humbled to have been part of something that could affect significant change in our industry

What I said at the end of the conference remains true, at least for now: “We’re done, but we certainly aren’t finished.”


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Article by Bill Yaman, Chief Revenue Officer

2018-05-10T14:31:22+00:00October 15th, 2013|Business Strategy|0 Comments

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