- Real estate brokers should encourage their agents to be innovative and think “outside the box.” However, innovative projects (such as free seminars) should not drain time and energy from proven tactics and reliable revenue streams.
In this monthly column, Anthony Askowitz explores a hypothetical Miami real estate situation from both sides of the broker/agent dynamic.
A Miami real estate agent has created an innovative series of free homebuying and investment seminars and is seeking support from her broker to make them more successful.
After many years of reaching prospective customers through traditional channels, I tried something different, with very promising results.
I gathered a group of real estate experts and produced a free homebuying seminar for first-time homebuyers, military, veterans, police officers, firefighters, teachers and medical professionals at a local community college.
The seminar featured presentations from insurance, mortgage and inspection professionals (and, of course, myself), providing guidance about financing, incentives for service members, down payment assistance, identifying the right home and property insurance. We promoted it well and packed the room.
A month later, I produced a second seminar focused on building wealth with real estate, featuring presentations on rental properties, flipping, taxes, financing, international investment and foreclosure sales.
Again, we had “standing room only” and incredible feedback. The seminars have generated about 20 leads for me (a handful of which are solid), and while they may not be the most lucrative opportunities, they are evidence that the seminars are productive.
My name is definitely getting “out there” to a host of new people, and I feel like I am also providing a valuable community service.
I would love to get more support from my brokerage to produce these seminars, by providing more expertise, better promotion and maybe a little financial backing. (Having my broker lead a presentation would also be a huge stamp of approval!)
I don’t think that’s too much to ask, and it would not be difficult to produce one every month. My broker was very encouraging at first, but I can tell his enthusiasm is cooling, and I’m not sure why.
Either way, I will definitely continue producing these seminars, with or without my office’s support.
I absolutely love this agent’s willingness to think and act “outside the box.” I applaud her commitment to the seminars, but I’m not yet convinced that they have produced equivalent results, when compared to the time and energy invested. After two seminars, is a “handful” of solid leads worth so much attention?
I want to see this agent (and every agent in my office) be as successful as possible, and that means focusing on a variety of traditional sales methods — in addition to the seminars, not at their expense.
I know the agent believes the seminars are getting easier to produce, but there is still a huge allocation of time and focus.
The logistics of securing a venue, recruiting guest speakers, promoting the seminars through various channels, organizing the schedule, communicating with everyone involved, setting up and breaking down the room and following up effectively can drain hours of time — time that might be better spent on farming, sphere and affiliation networking and online marketing.
Successful agents have multiple streams of business and do not “put all their eggs in one basket,” concentrating on just one sphere of influence.
If the agent has, let’s say 100 friends and past clients, and the average person lives in their house for 10 years, with a concerted, effort she should be generating at least 10 listings a year.
But those listings will not simply fall into the agent’s lap; she must put in the time and commitment to reach out and make those calls.
With respect to my own time and commitment, I always make myself available to agents and often join them on listing presentations when they think it will help close the deal.
That has proven to be an effective use of my time for many years, helping generate tangible business for them and for the company. I am very open to supporting (and even leading a presentation for) an upcoming seminar, but I need more demonstrable proof from this agent that the seminars are generating a consistent stream of reliable leads and business.
How to meet halfway
There are plenty of opportunities for the broker and agent to put their heads together and maximize the effectiveness of the seminars.
The broker can give the agent more time and freedom to prove his or her effectiveness, while the agent could make subtle changes in topics and content to generate more and higher-quality leads.
At the same time, the agent should carefully analyze his or her hours and ensure greater balance with traditional revenue streams.
If the agent is able to demonstrate consistent, tangible, positive results from the seminars in the form of leads and closed sales, the broker should then consider investing (and gradually increasing) company time and resources on his or her behalf.
Anthony is the broker-owner of RE/MAX Advance Realty in South Miami and Kendall, leading the activities of more than 170 agents. He is also a working Realtor who sells more than 125 homes a year. In 2017, the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce honored him with the R.E.A.L. award in the category of “Real Estate Broker – Residential.”