Married, With a Team

Working with a spouse can be a business match made in heaven.

June 1, 2003

If you are wondering whether a working relationship with your spouse would pan out, think in terms of opposites who attract. The same qualities that first attracted you to your spouse may be the very qualities you need to improve your business.

When Florida salesperson Marilyn Wechsler first started seeing Allen Rosenthal 14 years ago, both had lost their spouses. Otherwise, they had little else in common. Rosenthal was an insurance salesman with an easy way with people and a talent for negotiation. Wechsler was a former teacher, a stickler for order and getting things done by the book.

The courting couple spent so much time together that Wechsler’s broker took Rosenthal aside one day, and jokingly suggested that he get a real estate license, so he could make some money while wooing Wechsler.

"We became partners in real estate and in life," says Rosenthal. "We are the exception to the rule."

Reasons to team with a spouse

Add strengths, minimize weaknesses

Rosenthal explains that he enjoys the people work, while Wechsler enjoys the paperwork. He works the sphere of influence, while Wechsler shepherds their deals to closing.

"We both have different skills," Wechsler says, "and we’ve combined our knowledge and past sales experience. I’m great at detail work, listings and contracts and keeping up with marketing, and Allen is great at negotiations, dealing with people, computers and doing our marketing on the Internet. Customer acquisition we do together."

"We complement each other," says Rosenthal. "I’ve had over 40 years sales experience, and Marilyn has 25 years experience in real estate and is number one with paperwork."

Wechsler returns the favor. "He is easy going," she smiles at Rosenthal, "and in sales, one has to be flexible, and I’m not that one. Everything is regimented with me. He doesn’t get tense or upset during negotiations, and he stays calm."

Safety

Many people are starting to team up, whether or not it's with a spouse, notes Wechsler. "In today’s society, it is hard to have one person do everything, and it isn’t safe," she says. "When you are going into homes with people you don’t know, it’s nice for a woman to team up with a man. I know some who have teamed for safety."

Division of labor.

"We are at an age where I want to enjoy life," says Rosenthal. "We have a team to back us up and there is always someone to cover out business, We take client calls anytime, I am available all the time, but we take vacations, too. We sold two homes while we were in Hawaii, we were on vacation, but we are still working."

Freedom to try new things

Because you have someone watching your back, partnering can also mean having the ability to try something new, like Internet marketing.

"We have our own Web site, and we belong to other sites who are publicizing us,” says Rosenthal. “We are on Realty Times and I’m tied into all these partners that bring us traffic. They are linking to us and gives us better exposure.”

"The Web is part of our future," says Rosenthal, "and every day we get clients who are searching the Web. We ask our clients how they search for a home, and 40 percent of our clients have searched the Web at one time or another, and we also know from tracking where they came from."

Rosenthal says he is beginning to reallocate money for magazine advertising to the Web. He says that the Almar team spends about 15 to 20 percent of their income on advertising, and about half of that is now allocated to the Internet.

"We are getting inquiries from all over the country, and the Web is both for relocation and local clients. Clients are more educated, and in our case we refer them to our Website so they can search the MLS listings," says Rosenthal. "If I get a return, we feel that it is definitely money well invested."

The ability to expand

Because one person isn't trying to do everything, the married couple were able to provide enough relief for each other that they were also able to take the time to hire more personnel. The Almar team now has five members, with three more salespeople who function as team members and work with buyers and sellers.

The results of a working married partnership speaks for itself. The Almar team ranks in the top 2 percent of salespeople nationally.

(c) Copyright 2003 Realty Times. Reprinted with permission.

Blanche Evans is a writer/editor and CEO of evansEmedia. Formerly, she was a senior editor with Realty Times, where she was named by REALTOR® Magazine as one of the most influential people in the real estate industry.

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