Landman Brokers: Give Your Clients Metrics!

Measure All The Things!
There has been a trend over the last few years for field landman brokers to come up with these cool “whiz-bang” web interfaces.  I believe the intent is to “provide real-time information” about the status of projects, the real truth is that the interfaces are rarely ever used by in-house landmen.  If they need something they will pick up the phone and call, or they will send an email and ask for it.  There are also metrics that most in-house landmen keep on their field brokers — but those aren’t the metrics that are typically reported to them in these nifty interfaces.  I don’t quite understand why.

Want To Get New Clients?

I think most brokers and field landmen want more work, from more clients.  It gives you a good feeling about the future, and makes your business more diversified.  I won’t go into all the ways to generate clients and do business development (that’s your job), but I’d like to discuss one thing you can do to help retain existing clients and generate actionable metrics to sell new clients on.

What In-House Landmen Care About

I have one word for you: Metrics.  I really don’t care how long Landman Joe spent on Mr Sim’s lease, or how long it took him to do the runsheet on Tract 141 — but I do care how long it takes him on average compared to all your other field landmen.  I especially care when you equalize the time taken versus the billable rate of that person.  So if you provided me with averaged out statistics on each contractors output I might find that pretty useful.  

For example, in a title team I might want to see average metrics on:

  1. Instruments Reviewed Per Day
  2. Number of Days to Complete Tract
  3. Average Expenses Per Day
  4. Average Dayrate Cost / Tract
  5. Average Total Cost / Tract (Including Expenses)

For a lease buying team, I might expect to see something similar to:

  1. Number of Leases Purchased Per Day
  2. Number of Net Mineral Acres Purchased Per Day
  3. Average Dayrate Cost / NMA
  4. Average Dayrate Cost / Lease
  5. Average Total Cost / NMA
  6. Average Total Cost / Lease

You can apply these principles to any type of project, and don’t worry about the fact that some people are going to be doing work that is more difficult than others.  For starters, we know that Joe has the harder work and Steve has the easier work.  In addition to that, in situations like this Steve should be getting paid (and billed at) a lower dayrate.  So your metrics on total cost should still equal out, and you can explain the outliers if need be.

Landmen Like Numbers, So Do Accountants

So why would you provide this type of information, if nobody is already asking for it?  It sounds like it is inviting trouble.

If you are worried about it inviting trouble into your own business — you have bigger worries, but it very well may invite trouble for the other brokers you are competing for business with.  If you start providing real, measurable performance metrics, then you might find that in-house landmen start asking for the same information from their other brokers.  You are the best of the best, right?

So you kill two birds with one stone:

  • You show that your brokerage is using the capital expended in the most efficient way.
  • You are able to monitor individual performance to make sure it stays that way.

One more time: Quantifiable Metrics = Performance

Conclusion

I’m willing to bet that if you provide these types of metrics without being asked for it, that you will up the ante on the competition and make your own organization better while you’re at it.

Randy Young

Randy Young

Randy is a land consultant with experience in field and in-house land work, land administration, and software consulting with systems used in the land management business. He is an active member of the AAPL, HAPL, and NHAPL and is a regular attendee of industry functions.

Randy’s latest projects have included land data systems integrations, with a focus on Quorum Land System.