(Once you’ve read, please comment with at least one thing you’d like your Broker to do or change in 2009)
Recently in our market we’ve seen great exoduses from certain brokerages and insertions into others. In a few cases it’s a mystery in others it makes absolute sense. In many situations, the brokers are archaic and apparently unaware of their need to adapt and overcome their office culture to the changes in the industry.
Failing to move forward with change isn’t an option. The rapid change in the industry resulting from the turbulent economical state and coupled with the generational specific demands of the consumer, will change your business model or leave you in the dust.
Consumers as well as more and more agents are continuing to challenge the fact that Brokers have stipulated how real estate is done. Brokers need to make some changes now more than ever. The following is a list of recommended changes for the 2009 fiscal year.
- Brokers need to get rid of your office computers. Require your agents to bring their own laptops into the office. This will cut down on your expenses and encourage your agents to befriend what should be an agent’s best tool. Lots of brokers spend countless dollars in maintaining office computer equipment, when only staff need to have PC’s supplied. Setup wireless Internet and printers and that’s it.
- Use sources like Airset or Ning to host company files, e-mail lists and documents. No need for local servers that agents have to be in the office to use, or VPN.
- Go as paperless as possible. Unnecessary paper usage is not only harmful for the environment, but expensive. Why store countless boxes of files when they can be reduced to PDFs and the paper recycled (consult state laws – as always)
- Create a written technology training program for yourself. Set aside your pride and realize that you need to know all that your agents do.
- Setup a RSS reader which has all your agent’s blog pages setup to ensure that your agents aren’t being knuckle-heads online. Add at least five Blogs that reveal current industry knowledge to that RSS feeder, outside of your staff’s.
- Resolve to put the consumer’s best interest first and eliminate single-agent dual agency in your offices. If you do allow it, require that agents meet certain qualifications, such as ABR, GRI, specific training or certain amount of experience. Otherwise they should have to come to you each time.
- Establish a specific policy for agents taking Short Sale listings. Establish parameters by which listings can be taken. DO NOT TAKE UNSALABLE LISTINGS!
- Eliminate “Administrative Fees” as they are in no one’s best interest and makes it harder for your agents to be competitive, unless they pay the fees.
- Enact a policy that requires agents to submit a list of marketing venues to you, so that you can be aware of what and where information is being submitted.
- Check all your agent’s marketing venues frequently. In most states Brokers are ultimately responsible for the agent’s marketing.
- First and foremost; do away with office meetings. If you’d like to retain good agents, respect their time. If you wish to have monthly business meetings to train and prepare your agents great. Stop asking agents to go around the room and talk about their loser listings! Don’t spend time harping on the need for timely EMD submission, etc… Do that by e-mail so that you can prove you did it AND not make meetings about anything other than how to do business better.
- Provide good tools and resources for your agents to utilize, but don’t demand they use them. If the agents aren’t using good tools on their own – they may not be appropriate for your office. Demanding agents use certain broker specific tools may just frustrate an agent with their own powerful systems.
- Learn to recruit quality agents and not just a quantity of agents. Production is important, but not if the prima donnas are retarding your other agents mental well being and productivity.
- Brokers should concentrate on their business and be agent-centric. Competition against your agents causes animosity and takes away from business development. If you’ve got a good team of agents they are producing, you shouldn’t have to!
- Provide easy access to trend reports and statistics about the market and consumer trends, to your agents.
- Have all policies written and reviewed with your agents, but do not create such restrictive policies that your agents can’t be creative in their business – the industry has enough legislation to go around!
- Most of all, be responsive to your agent’s needs and desire to seek counsel. Show that you are prepared and willing to answer questions.
What Say You?
This is far from an exhaustive list and I am well aware that many Brokers would simply laugh at this list – but changes are coming. Agents are looking for Brokers who can use their wisdom and knowledge to help lead a company – not maintain the status quo.
If you could recommend or change at least one thing about your company; what would it be?