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Top concerns and challenges for agents, brokers in 2015 [report]

Brokers and agents are preparing for the coming year, and share common concerns and challenges.

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2015 for brokers

‘Tis the season to prepare for the coming year, addressing concerns, challenges, and goals of our businesses. The results of the 2014 Imprev Thought Leader Survey indicate that brokers and agents are most concerned with lead generation in the coming year, and recruiting tops the list of goals.

Fully 42 percent of real estate leaders surveyed cited the creation of “systems for more effectively competing against the RE portals for generating leads” as among their top two technical challenges as they plan for next year, second only to “getting our systems to work together,” which topped the list with 54 percent.

Also of note for 2015, 86 percent of respondents say that recruiting agents is their top business challenge, and 54 percent note that retaining agents and teams, followed closely by “attracting younger team members” rounding out the list.

Imprev reports that when asked, unprompted, “What’s your firm’s single-biggest challenge today?” nearly one in four cited recruiting and retaining agents as their biggest challenge, followed by growth (15 percent), profitability (13 percent) and an aging work force (7 percent).

Although an influx of international home buyers dominating headlines, they aren’t on many minds, with only 8.0 percent of respondents cite “tapping into foreign home buyers” as one of their most critical challenges as they plan for 2015, tied in last place with “my MLS competes against us.”

Visual representation of survey results

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Imprev surveyed over 270 broker-owners and top executives at leading franchises and independent brokerage firms that were responsible for nearly half of all U.S. residential real estate transactions last year.

Although this is not exactly a scientific survey, nor is it a sizable sample, it is a peek into the pulse of the industry and is in line with what we’re hearing on the ground as well.

Growth is a top priority and recruiting and lead generation remain top of mind for brokers and agents.

The American Genius' real estate section is honest, up to the minute real estate industry news crafted for industry practitioners - we cut through the pay-to-play news fluff to bring you what's happening behind closed doors, what's meaningful to your practice, and what to expect in the future. Consider us your competitive advantage.

Real Estate Brokerage

The psychology behind why customers blame you for everything

(BROKERAGE) When things don’t go our way, we search for a cause, and tend to blame others. Psychology explains why customers point the blame at you.

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Man texting on phone representing client psychology.

The customer is always right – Is that real psychology?

We are all too familiar with the old adage, “the customer is always right.” While we know that it is virtually impossible for the customer to always be right, we play along because it is our job to do so.

Psychology attempts to offer some explanation as to why customers may behave the way that they do and why they love to blame “us” for everything (note: I use the term “us” in a universal sense, as it is not reflective of The American Genius).

Some complaints are warranted, but…

Retailers, restaurant workers, and everyone in between has dealt with a difficult customer or two. While sometimes their anger may be warranted, there are often times where the customer is projecting anger onto you.

There are behavioral theories within psychology, Attribution Theory, and Jones & Davis Correspondent Inference Theory, that may help to shed some light onto why people behave the way that they do.

Attribution Theory explains how we judge behavior

Attribution Theory is simply how we attach meaning to our behavior or the behavior of others. Fiske & Taylor explain that Attribution Theory tends to explain how humans judge behavior. If they are judging the behavior of someone else they are assigning internal attributions, while if they are explaining their behavior, they are making external attributions.

For example, if you are driving and someone cuts you off, you may assign an internal attribution that the person is a horrible driver. On the other hand, if you were the one to cut someone off, you would externalize your behavior as unintentional.

It is natural for people to always look for a cause behind an event. Searching for a cause could explain why customers place blame on us. Using the ideas from the example above, if you are at a restaurant and see that your order is wrong, you may attribute blame to the server in saying, “they don’t know what they’re doing”, when it was simply a mistake.

Inference Theory attributes behavior to personality

Jones & Davis Correspondent Inference Theory takes the idea of Attribution Theory a step further, and deals with how people pay particular attention to internal behavior rather than accidental or unthinking behavior.

The Jones & Davis Theory suggests we attribute a person’s behavior to their personality. This means that you would take the aforementioned assumption that the person who cut you off earlier is not only a horrible driver, but also a horrible person.

When something goes wrong at the (usually) unintentional hands of someone else, we internalize that behavior for them. This goes back to our initial claim that, if something bad happens, we search for a cause.

Easier to blame others than ourselves

Sometimes, it is much easier to place blame on others than onto yourself. The idea of attributing something helps to assign a meaning or a cause to let us organize our lives. Being that customers do not always see us as individuals, it is easy for them to cast blame if something goes wrong.

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Professionalism

Recognize and use free time at work like the gift it is with these tips

(BROKERAGE) Free time during your workday can lead to furthering your mind and productivity. Learn how to use it wisely.

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Woman writing in journal representing free time.

Clocked in but clocked out

We’ve all had those slow days at work where we’re looking for ways to kill the time until the clock strikes five.

While it can be tempting to use this time to text or mess around on the Internet, there are much better ways to use that free time that will make your future so much easier.

Cleanliness is next to godliness

First off, tidy up your workspace. Papers and items have a way of accumulating and may be distracting you even if you don’t realize it. By organizing your stuff and throwing away what you don’t need, you’re able to breathe and focus within your workspace.

It also does wonders for your work brain to clear up your email inbox.

Once that’s all done, plan out the rest of your work week. Make a list of the major goals you’d like to accomplish and then a sub-list of how you’ll knock those goals out. Update your calendar and make sure everything is on track.

Social media, networking, and research

It’s also beneficial to use this downtime to further yourself and your organization. Three ways you can do this is through: social media, networking, and research.

If you have access, take some time to look through your company’s social media and see what can be done to enhance it. Either throw up some posts yourself or pitch ideas to the social media manager.

Networking can be done in this small amount of time by sending out “catch up” emails to old colleagues, “welcome emails” to new clients or introduction emails to LinkedIn contacts.

Send them a “how’s it going?,” tell them what’s new with you, and see what they have going on. You never know where networking can lead so it’s always good to stay in touch.

With research, see what the latest trends are in your field and study up on them. This may give you new ways to look at projects and tasks at hand. And, it’s always beneficial to have continued learning.

Get Smart(er)

While on the subject of continued learning, take this time to mess around with something you may not feel completely knowledgeable of. Maybe dig around RPR data, perhaps practice using different computer programs it is never a bad a idea to nourish your brain.

Having free time during the workday is something of a gift. If you can help it, try not to waste it.

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Real Estate Brokerage

How you can stick with your habits and actually achieve your goals

(BROKERAGE) Sticking to new habits can be tough, but there are ways to train your brain. We’ve got the deets on the best way to beat fatigue.

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Person typing on computer representing habits in our workday.

Just about every Sunday night I say to myself, “This week, I am going to eat better.” And, just about every Monday afternoon, I find myself cooking the same frozen pizza I always eat. Why is it so difficult for us to stick to our guns and really follow through on developing better habits? Well, if you’re anything like me, it’s mostly because doing what you’re used to is so much easier.

Trick of the trade

Each year I find myself being notorious for skipping out on my New Year’s resolutions, my fitness goals, and my attempts at reading one book per month. Right when I was beginning to feel completely fed up with myself, I found a trick that has helped me form habits and maintain behavior to accomplish my goals.

And, this trick is quite simple: accountability.

This can be found in the form of a friend or in the form of a planner or calendar.

Creating accountable ideas

I have thousands of ideas per day, many of which are fleeting. However, some ideas are about self-improvement.

For example, I often have the idea of beginning a workout routine. While I know that I should be doing daily exercise to increase my overall health, it can be a difficult task to stick with.

By developing this idea into something that I am accountable for, it makes me much more likely to stick with this habit. Let me explain…

Accountable for others

The two aforementioned methods of accountability, a friend or planner, can be used for the given workout example.

If you find a friend who can daylight as your workout buddy, you have someone that will motivate you and that you can motivate.

Now that you’ve made this friend your workout buddy, you have someone to hold you accountable if you miss a day. Gone would be the days where you could skip a workout and have no one to answer to.

Accountable for yourself

But, if you are a solo exerciser like myself, it can be difficult to find a method of accountability. What I have found works for me is taking my thought of, “I should workout,” and putting my goals down on paper.

By writing down a workout plan and the attached goals, it fosters a sense of tangibility.

I then create a calendar where I write down what exercise I want to do on what day, and, after I complete my goal, I am able to check it out.

For the accountability aspect, I like to put this calendar somewhere in everyday eyesight, so that I can’t ignore it. And, sure, I could easily throw it away and pretend it never existed in the first place, but I promise the act of writing out your goals will motivate completion.

In the end…

While sticking to habits can be a tricky business and different methods work for different people, developing an environment in which you hold accountability helps to inspire motivation.

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