Many real estate agents today are in need of intentional, hands-on help from their brokers. It’s easy to get caught up in the unknowns of the market and unrest in the industry, and without strong leadership, agents might flounder and catastrophize.
At NAR NXT, The REALTOR® Experience, in Anaheim, Calif., veteran trainer David Knox, president of David Knox Productions Inc., outlined seven ways brokers and managers can help their agents through today’s tumult.
1. Get Back to the Fundamentals
Spend time with your agents. “Just have coffee with them. Ask them about their families. They are starved for your attention,” he said, noting that in his findings, the number one request from agents of late was not more technology or resources, it was time with their brokers, owners and managers.
Remind your agents that, regardless of market volatility, interest rates or any other variable they might be worried about, these three points are time-tested and still true today:
People move. Agents need to see what that looks like in your market, Knox said, because right now, they’re reading the headlines like everyone else, and it’s scaring them. Show them the data.
People still use real estate agents. The National Association of REALTORS®’ latest data shows that 89% of home buyers used a real estate agent when purchasing their home. Despite anything speaking to the contrary, real estate agents are still an integral part of the home buying and selling process. Remind your agents of that, Knox said.
Life circumstances change. Children are born. Loved ones pass on. Children grow up. Life’s circumstances change, and people have to upsize, downsize or offload properties on their own timelines, no matter what the market is doing.
To know what’s going on in people’s lives, agents need the fundamental skill of engaging in two-way communication, Knox said. “Conversations precede transactions. Make sure your agents are having two-way conversations with people.” Relationship-building is a necessity in a slow market. “Call clients and thank them. Invite clients or prospects to something. Give them useful information on what’s going on in the market.”
2. Step Up Marketing
With so much negativity and catastrophizing circulating, make sure your agents know the importance of circulating a positive message. And when it comes to social media, tell agents to ensure that whatever they’re posting, it’s valuable to their audience.
3. Go Back to Meetings and Training
You can’t build the office culture you want online, Knox said. It has to be done in person. Even virtual offices can host in-person meetings at a Starbucks or a local staple, and agents want to get together.
Knox suggested putting new agents and seasoned agents in different rooms and different training tracks altogether, because they don’t need the same experiences.
In training and coaching situations, get specific on what your agents want out of their careers, how they want to reach those goals and why those goals are important to them, he said.
4. Have a Live Training Component
Rather than automating all of your training materials through videos, handouts or PowerPoint presentations, add in a live component. Bring in a presenter from an ancillary service or have one of your agents lead a presentation.
5. Role-Play With Your Agents
Most agents hate it, Knox said, but time and again, the feedback he gets from role-playing is that it’s a source of some of the greatest growth for agents. If they’re dealing with an issue or walking into a new situation, role-playing the scenario will help them get comfortable.
“They have to perform the skill for the first time somewhere,” he said. “Would they rather do it with you in the office, or would they rather do it out in the field in front of a client?”
6. Help Agents with the Numbers
Don’t let your agents get caught up in negative concerns around interest rates and pricing. Instead, make sure the message they believe—and the one they’re spreading—is rooted in reality. Show them the potential benefits and opportunities of the current market, and make sure they can articulate that to clients.
But remember that too much time wrapped up in the numbers bypasses the most important and most fundamental factor about real estate: “Home is where the heart is and home is where people find their security and raise their families.” Numbers are secondary to that fact, Knox said.
7. Manage the Inventory You Have
If a listing has gone stale, take action, whether that’s a price adjustment, property enhancement, or marketing to a wider buyer audience. Make sure you’re taking care of the inventory you have right now. Extend your contracts into January. Whatever you do, make sure that what you have on the books right now is moving the best it can.