Erica Ramus is an indie broker and a tech geek in Pennsylvania. Her regular monthly column publishes on Thursdays and covers and array of topics including recruiting, independent brokerage, technology and social issues.
Whether you’re a rookie agent, a rising team leader or an established veteran broker, we can all benefit from sharpening our skills. Follow our “Back to Basics” series to learn fundamental strategies, tactics, philosophies and more from real estate pros across the industry.
Google the subject “sales meetings,” and you’ll see hundreds of results on how to plan and run a great meeting. You’ll also find plenty of sites that bemoan how boring, unmotivating and unnecessary meetings can be.
In today’s high tech office environment, are physical face-to-face office meetings necessary, or even possible, when so many brokerages are virtual? Here’s a few best practices when it comes to holding company meetings.
1. Keep track of time
Remember that you are the steward of other people’s time, so manage the meeting by the clock. I do not believe in the concept of “Realtor time,” where meetings start late because agents are wandering in whenever they please.
It’s respectful to start the meeting on time and end it on time so your agents can plan the rest of their day. If you build a habit of starting promptly, others will recognize that and follow suit.
Given proper notice, everyone should recognize that a 10 a.m. meeting means be in the office prior to 10 a.m. — and be ready to start on time.
2. Provide an agenda
To keep everyone on track, distribute an agenda before the meeting. This does not have to be a formal piece of paper, but the main purpose for the meeting should be clearly known.
I post meeting times on my company’s private Facebook page, and while there will be a more detailed agenda on the day of the meeting, the “big why”is stated in the Facebook post.
Each meeting has one big takeaway (normally a training topic, so agents know what they will gain by attending), which is followed by a regular structure.
Lisa Heindel, broker of Crescent City Living in New Orleans, also is a fan of the paper agenda. She says it keeps the group on topic and also gives them something to hold in their hands.
Heindel’s group of 14 agents meets weekly for an hour. Her recurring agenda has a similar structure each week, and the company’s meetings are highly interactive.
Sometimes they might brainstorm buyer pain points, which gives the newer agents an opportunity to learn from the more experienced ones. She always ends each meeting with announcements of new listings to give the meetings consistency and to signal they are at the end of the discussion.
3. Be consistent
In my brokerage, we have a similar arrangement. Our meetings start with training on contracts and current topics, move on to discussing the issues we’ve had with recent deals and how to solve them, and I end with discussion of current and new listings.
We meet weekly, which can be hard to keep up with during our busy spring and summer months. If you keep the meetings to a consistent time and day of the week, agents will learn to schedule around that window. When meetings are canceled due to holidays or busy schedules, it can be hard to get back in the groove again.
Besides teaching skills, a good meeting motivates and inspires the team. Agents who are in a slump might feel better after hearing other agents have issues with their deals, too, and might learn new ways to solve problems.
Stumbling blocks might not prove so difficult when brainstormed in a group setting. These are the benefits of having a small meeting.
In larger offices, it might not be possible to achieve the same dynamics in a monthly sales meeting. Larger offices can form small mastermind groups to achieve the same effect.
Put together smaller groups, and invite them to meet once a week consistently to help each other through issues. Breaking out into smaller pods can provide great value to both top and small producers, giving equal chance to shine and learn from one another.
4. Use technology
So what do you do if you have hundreds of agents spread out in multiple cities across a state? Kevin Scanlan, broker of All City Real Estate in Austin, Texas, utilizes the power of Facebook to bring his agents together.
At least twice a week he and his partner, Dathon Aragon, host Facebook Live “meetings,” giving their 520 agents a chance to interact even though they are spread across multiple cities in Texas.
The brokerage heavily utilizes their private Facebook page to connect their agents and build their culture. They’ve found Facebook live to be an effective way to quickly convey information to their agents and keep them updated on company news.
“Not everyone can get into the office on a Tuesday or Wednesday at 10 a.m.,” Scanlan said. “Unlike missing a sales meeting, Facebook Live actually lives on our All City Collaborative page. We can broadcast from anywhere, and agents can watch it live or watch it later as it is stored in our archives.”
5. Keep them engaged
Scanlan said All City fosters a culture of education and collaboration. During their Facebook Live sessions, agents check in and interact with the meeting hosts, so it’s not a one-way discussion.
This is important because remote meetings run the risk of attendees multitasking and getting distracted if there is not a chance for interaction.
In smaller group, remember that introverts might shy away from brainstorming or heated discussions. Take the time to draw these agents out, and be sure everyone has a chance to contribute.
Heindel has a “wins, losses, lessons learned” session in her meetings where agents can speak up about what they experienced during the week. Nobody is put on the spot, but everyone is encouraged to participate.
No matter if your meetings are weekly or monthly, in person or virtual, this is your chance to bring your agents together as a group to learn and to share. Our office has had periods of no meetings, and agents told me they actually missed weekly meetings.
When we brought them back on track and instituted regular weekly sessions, the group really did get closer.
What does your brokerage do to make sales meetings great? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.