We’re surging into Leadership Month this March on Inman. Join us as we deep dive into leadership fundamentals, culture, even playlists — all culminating at Inman Disconnect in Palm Springs at the end of the month.
We work in a mobile era. There is much discussion about the death of brick and mortar, and the growth of a virtual workforce. However, despite these changes to the way we work, there is still enormous value in gathering agents for in-person meetings.
When we come together, we become inspired by those around us. We also get an opportunity to build culture, create strong connections within our team and learn from one another.
But how do we, as leaders, drive attendance? How do we encourage our agents to see the value in coming into the office again? The key here is content. No other content is more vital to agents than the kind that helps increase their business. An ideal way to provide valuable information is to set themes for each quarter. These themes can be determined by what agents need during that time of year in order to truly grow and focus their business.
Quarter 1: Systems and efficiency
A seasoned agent in the industry used to tell me: “I love January! The phone starts ringing!” This is true; the first quarter of the year is a time for getting busy to get busy. As a leader, help your agents use this period to better prepare for the business that’s coming. Being prepared will not only make them feel more confident, but will help them set the stage so they are ready to work efficiently and manage more business going forward.
Most agents don’t take the time to run their business like a business. They let the business run their day (rather than taking control themselves) and face uncertainty with every next step. When there’s no plan in place, repetitive tasks can really eat away at your agents’ time and hurt their efficiency.
Systems can be a game changer to an agent’s productivity and profitability. As their leader, you can provide valuable information about systems that help with daily work habits, transaction processes, client communication and marketing.
By introducing agents to the best practice systems for each of those areas and the right technology to effectively implement those practices, you really get an opportunity to directly affect the growth of their business.
Imagine if your agents implemented even one new efficient system to their process every year — and how that would impact their business. All to say, the information you provide in this area can truly move the needle.
Quarter 2: Client service and work-life balance
As soon as the second quarter rolls around, the excitement from all the phones ringing quickly dwindles. Agents get busy. It’s not unusual for them to burn out and drop the ball on certain things. If not managed, this fatigue can negatively impact an agent’s business and work-life balance.
When we get busy, we tend to cut back on service, education and anything else that affects our time. It is a survival mechanism; we resort to doing the bare minimum to get by. In doing this, we can negatively affect the quality of the consumer experience we provide, our knowledge as professionals, and the growth of our business in the future.
As leaders, we can help agents prevent this behavior by sharing examples of great client service. This information will remind agents of what they should be doing in their business. It’ll also shine a light on where they may be coming up short. By encouraging agents to continue providing the highest possible service during this busy time, we will ensure less peaks and valleys in their business and profitability.
In addition to cutting back on customer service, your agents’ work-life balance can really suffer during this busy season in real estate. A lack of personal time can create burn-out and make agents moody, short and less effective in their work.
As leaders, we can help agents by sharing best practices for taking control of their business and clients. When agents take control of their business, they protect their own personal time. This creates a better work-life balance and sustains the agents’ ability to work at the highest level.
Quarter 3: Prospecting and business development
We are all very aware that prospecting drives business. What agents do now in prospecting efforts typically leads to new business within a two- to four-month time span. Unfortunately, after an extremely busy few months in real estate, prospecting tends to be the last thing on an agent’s agenda.
The majority of agents look forward to a break in the third quarter. Agents have a bad habit of going into hibernation mode and putting prospecting efforts off to the side. The effect of this break, however, tends show up several months later. It leads to a winter slump in production or a slow start to the agent’s year.
As leaders, we can help agents avoid this winter slump by focusing content on prospecting in the third quarter. Share best-practice ideas for client communication, appreciation and pop-bys. Give advice on phone calls, personal notes, face-to-face meet-ups and other valuable prospecting activities. Your encouragement will foster more prospecting, which will equal to a more consistent business return for the agent all year.
Quarter 4: Business planning
The theme to the fourth quarter is arguably the most important of the year, and yet, it’s often the most neglected by real estate professionals. A written-down goal is 42 percent more likely to be achieved. However, only about one-third of business owners actually have a written business plan. This does not even take into consideration the large number of business owners who don’t look at or update their plan on a regular basis.
Business planning is critical to improving success. As leaders, we can help our agents ensure a higher level of success by creating content that drives business planning in the fourth quarter of the year.
A successful approach is to create planning workshops, based on the essentials of running a successful business. Workshops will give agents the tools and structure needed to create a yearly business plan, a marketing plan and a vision board.
Encourage agents to not only write their plans down, but also to take some time in the fourth quarter to pre-plan and implement any action items for the upcoming year. For example, plan and create any marketing campaigns during this time so they are ready to go for the following year. When business gets going again, and agents are busy, any unfinished items risk being put aside and not completed.
Finally, have agents share their completed business plans with you or an accountability partner. By sharing goals, there will be more of an opportunity for you or their peers to hold agents accountable for their goals and a higher likelihood of success at achieving them.
Lynn Wheeler serves as 2nd Vice President and Branch Manager for The F.C. Tucker Company Keystone office.