All hunters use bait. And the most clever hunters know the best bait is something that’s both instantly appealing and totally mesmerising, reducing the likelihood of anything other than short-term thinking in the minds of their prey.

For example, you might use a worm on a fish hook. In a mouse trap, you could use cheese. The South Indian Monkey Trap is a particularly clever concept – you put a banana in a trap with a hole in the trap big enough for the greedy monkey to get his hand in, but too small for him to pull it out with the delicious banana clutched in their fist.

Real estate recruiters have recently come up with their own form of monkey trap. If you want to catch an unsuspecting real estate agent or business owner, all you need now is a large sum of cash.

The interesting part is, this trap is a relatively recent phenomenon. In days gone by, a real estate group might have considered contributing something towards changeover costs as a sign of goodwill, but it was rare to see much more than that as part of the deal. The conversation was always about the value proposition first and foremost, along with the alignment of values.

Today the game has changed. We’re now seeing tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars being handed over to join big brands. And some “prospects” don’t even seem to mind the thought of being bought. It’s now at the point where the first question some agents and business owners ask a recruiter is, “how much will you pay me to join?”

Obviously these prospects must be missing the catch. In exchange for the cash, they sign a three or even five-year contract, during which time the bait payment will generally be repaid to the brand owner in the form of franchise fees. And as the fees are always a percentage of overall turnover, as success continues to build, so of course does the amount paid.

Then eventually, the end of the fixed-term agreement will arrive, at which point the brand is generally so strong in the local area due to that individual’s diligent efforts, they’ll generally feel they have too much to lose to consider changing.

So they’ll feel no option but to sign up again, this time without the upfront lump sum of cash, and now find themselves facing an even steeper curve of rising fees back to the brand they actually built.

And so the trap is sprung.

At First National Real Estate, we stand for fairness and parity. Our members all pay a flat fee, and all fees go back to the members in the forms of products and services they choose and value. We also don’t do long-term contracts – our members have the choice to renew every year.

Importantly, while we are still open to good faith support to help you lift off when you join us, we are upfront that we don’t pay to play. That’s because we are not interested in trapping anyone, but best of all, we don’t have any interest in monkeys.

Here’s what agents who’ve joined us say about the experience.

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