The reality is agents don’t want to sit through a meeting that’s boring or that doesn’t apply to them when they could be out doing business. But well-run sales meetings can be productive, informative, and even fun. Yes, fun.
To get her agents excited about coming to sales meetings, Alicia Trevino includes some creative incentives, such as monthly massages and Mardi Gras mimosa parties. Leading up to their attendance of the 2014 National Association of REALTORS® Conference & Expo in New Orleans, her team dressed up in Mardi Gras costumes and played jazz music. As president and CEO of Century 21 Fine Homes & Estates in Mesquite, Texas, she believes in creating activities that build camaraderie as a way to help her agents grow and sustain their business.
Here are more ideas from brokers and managers for how to encourage attendance and participation at sales meetings and keep agents from yawning.
Start on time. If the meeting is set to begin at 9 a.m., don’t wait for latecomers to arrive. It reinforces bad behavior if you allow them to be late. Shut the door and start on your agenda.
Stand up. Most people sit at meetings, including the speaker. But Jeff Boss, cofounder of Chaos Advantage in Richmond, Va., believes that if everyone is on their feet, it boosts the energy in the room and lends a sense of urgency for people to speak up. It keeps participation high, and the meeting moves along more swiftly.
Give them goodies. Every other Friday, Trevino conducts a business development meeting featuring three presenters. She gets sponsors to serve a full breakfast, which helps her attract about 70 percent of her agents to each event. The last Friday of the month, her office gives out recognitions and awards, and the meeting concludes with a celebration of all the birthdays that month—with food, of course.
Set an agenda and stick to it. Boss, who is a former Navy SEAL, says receiving mission orders is similar to setting the agenda for the meeting. Agents should understand what will be going on during the meeting as well as the end goal. That guides the dialogue along a designated course. Put the agenda on a whiteboard or flip chart. If someone goes off-topic, you can always refer back to the whiteboard. “One reason meetings get prolonged is people don’t want to raise their hand or say that the meeting is off-topic. They don’t want to be the bad guy,” he says.
Change up the location. Is your meeting about selling a specific market location or home type, such as a historic neighborhood? Have your meeting at the local historical society. Get out into the field. Even going to a restaurant with a patio for a meeting outdoors can bring a new dimension to the group dynamic and encourage sharing of ideas.
Keep track of the discussion. Ask an assistant or staff member to take notes or digitally record the meeting. That way, if you need to follow up on a discussion or question—or if someone asks what came up at the last meeting—you’ll have a record. You could also use a video recording to review roleplay coaching or objection handling with agents.
Mix business with social. Rich Rodenburg meets with his agents after work on a Thursday afternoon at a local establishment. “The company buys the first beer and appetizers,” says Rodenburg, founder, owner, and associate broker at Nebraska Home Sales in Lincoln, Neb. Everyone in his company works from their own home offices, which is why having meetings at restaurants and bars has become part of their routine.
Thank the attendees. In addition to making sure agents understand the purpose of sales meetings as well as their roles during them, they should be thanked for their participation at the end. Everyone wants to feel appreciated.