My alarm goes off at 6 a.m., I hit the snooze button once — I’m only human — and then I’m up and at ’em, making breakfast, getting ready for work, shuttling my kids off to school and, finally, heading into the office.
It’s a routine that, for the most part, stays the same. That’s a good thing because it makes mornings in my household a lot easier.
In many ways, brokerages operate like a morning routine — though the characters change. No two clients are the same, but most brokerages have processes or methods in place to help agents with daily operations.
Having unique processes that are readily available and well-supported for marketing, education and technology help agents succeed and can set your brokerage apart.
1. Build systems with innovation top of mind
Most brokerages have systems in place for marketing, education and technology. Why? Because support in these three areas give agents the upper hand when it comes to winning a listing and converting a new lead.
If you want to give your agents a competitive advantage, you’ll need to think outside the box. Build systems with innovation in the forefront.
Coldwell Banker’s D’Ann Harper has one of the best marketing methods I’ve seen to date. The brokerage sends a video team out to new listings once a client puts a home up for sale.
They turn the footage into a virtual tour, which is broadcast every Sunday on NBC’s local affiliate station in San Antonio, Texas. Agents at D’Ann Harper love this system because it helps attract clients and makes selling homes easier.
When it comes to building a unique education system, any process that makes training readily available and fun will help agents be more successful. I worked with a brokerage in the past that offered regular “Beer for Real Estate” sessions.
Agents would meet at an off-site location, enjoy a few adult beverages, and then dive into a training session hosted by peers, outside speakers and in-house trainers.
Adding a few drinks into the mix makes the process painless. The agents have a good time, and they learn something while they’re at it — ultimately building skills that better your brokerage.
Encouraging use of the right technology is also a proven way to boost agent productivity, and building a unique system around it is the perfect way to encourage high adoption rates.
Start by offering onboarding sessions and regular support. Good technology shouldn’t require a ton of troubleshooting. But not all agents are tech-savvy, and you shouldn’t expect them to be.
If you incorporate steps in your process focused on encouraging usage, you’ll see an uptick in successful adoption. One brokerage “gamified” tech by tracking usage on a leaderboard in their office and giving awards and prizes to top users.
Agents are competitive by nature — and that’s a good thing. Needless to say, turning technology into a competition was the perfect way to encourage usage.
2. Make systems immediately accessible
Give your agents access to the tools they need for success right off the bat. All brokerages offer up systems, but not all brokerages make onboarding as easy as it should be.
Start by developing processes that are as simple and as easy to pick up as possible. For example, a solid marketing method might start out with an agent completing a listing input form, which initiates an office marketing team to produce “for sale” fliers specific to that property and is followed by a standard method of flier distribution.
Because the process is simple and doesn’t require agents to put in requests or follow dozens of steps, new agents will be able to take advantage of the system right away, and veteran agents will use it because it’s hassle-free.
Once you have easy-to-follow systems in place, you’ll need to make sure your agents know what’s available to them. Communicate early and often.
One method for making sure agents are well-informed on brokerage methods is providing agents with a checklist and instructions for accessing these tools.
Most brokerages have buying and listing checklists, so why not have them for onboarding new agents and keeping resources top of mind for veteran agents? If your brokerage offers regular training sessions or seminars, make sure those opportunities are spelled out on your checklist along with details for when, where and how to access these tools.
Another key to making methods immediately available is getting agent’s feet wet right off the bat. New technologies can be hard to pick up without any training or onboarding. But they’re also what many agents want and expect — millennials in particular.
Metro Brokers uses a transaction management network to complete new-hire paperwork. That way, agents are learning and getting a feel for the technology well before they’re expected to use it with clients.
3. Hire or outsource staff for support
So you’ve built your systems, and made them unique and readily available from day one. Now, it’s time to turn these plans and processes into tangible benefits for your agent.
Some of the most successful brokerages hire or outsource a team of people to bring their processes to life. You might be hesitant to add team members. But the return on investment will speak for itself: Agents will be more productive; well-executed campaigns will result in more market demand; and clients will receive high-quality service and hassle-free technology that streamlines manual processes.
If you only want to dip your toe in the water, one way is to train existing staff to perform multiple tasks. For example, some brokerages have a team of peer agents who teach systems and processes to new employees.
People often hear the word “process” and dread the thought of rules and regulations — but processes are easy, efficient and pain-free as long as you build them with agents and staff in mind.
Being the brokerage that serves up well-designed systems that orient around your organization, unique workflows and team members can place you and your agents ahead of the curve. And if you structure your systems just right, operating your brokerage will be easy — like Sunday morning.
Marnie Blanco is the executive director of industry relations and national accounts at dotloop. You can follow her on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter.
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