Eugene Pak, director of business development, Climb Real Estate

SAN FRANCISCO — “If you have 30 agents, you have 30 out-of-control agents,” said Climb Real Estate’s Eugene Pak at today’s Indie Broker Summit, part of the Inman Connect programming. The lighthearted comment generated chuckles from the audience of independent brokers and set the tone for his funny, relatable and actionable presentation. 

Pak broke down tough-to-handle associates into three categories reminiscent of The Breakfast Club’s basket case, brains and princess.

The ‘Hot Mess’

The problem

“The hot mess … keeps me up at night,” Pak said. “I don’t know what they’re doing. They’re not organized. They don’t communicate. These are big issues.”

The solutions

1. Hire transaction coordinators.

The agents at Pak’s firm have no choice but to use in-house transaction coordinators who have their eyes and ears on all the files (and know how the files are supposed to look). Real estate firms in California can be randomly audited — and each time Climb has been inspected, it’s passed with flying colors. It also helps the agents because “they know that there’s something backing them up,” Pak said.

2. Play up risk management.

Pak’s firm associates with a risk management attorney as a resource for agents. This professional also does seminars two to three times a year that cover the risks agents face when it comes to compliance (with some scary lawsuit stories thrown in there). “After these seminars, the files are cleaner; I don’t get as many calls,” Pak said.

The ‘Engineer/Know-It-All’

The problem

“They have all the answers, but they don’t know how to convert,” Pak said. “They’re knowledgeable but, for whatever reason, [just can’t close].”

The solutions

1. Pay for coaching/training.

There are a lot of different programs out there, three- to four-week sessions on just learning how to close, Pak said.

2. Pair them with ‘The Hot Mess.’

Talk about synergy: Hot Mess and Engineer just might have what the other needs. Look for solutions within your own firms — they’re right under your nose. It “doesn’t have to be some third-party vendor,” Pak advised.

Use the agents in the firm to your advantage. They’re not just there to sell for you but also to build your whole brokerage.

The ‘Diva’

The problem

The Diva is high maintenance and constantly requires attention, hogs resources and is demanding in all ways.

The solutions 

1. Sit down and talk.

Talk about business with The Diva and how you can improve it together. Create a partnership with him or her — a la “If you go down, we go down; and if we go down, you definitely go down,” Pak said.

2. Steer The Diva toward being a team player.

One of the biggest problems with diva-types is that they simply aren’t willing to be a team player and are prone to complaining about the small stuff.

Find out where they legitimately need help (their gripes about having to print out open-house flyers is probably not it), and open up the line of communication.

Use tools like Slack that offer more immediate message delivery to connect about important and timely needs (rather than always relying on everyone’s war zone of an email inbox).

With a little guidance, these problem children will turn into assets.

Email Caroline Feeney

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