In today’s virtual, work-from-home environment, agents are seeking training and coaching in entirely new ways. In August, we’re laser-focused on what defines good coaching today and how to get the most out of it.
One hallmark of a good real estate brokerage is a broker or manager who’s available to agents and takes a real interest in their success. If they manage the office with a focus on coaching to bring out the best in each member of the team — well, that’s a huge plus.
In truth, this statement should apply to any real estate office, but I find that it’s not as common as you would think. So, if you’re a broker who wants to provide coaching opportunities to agents, here are a few tips.
A coaching broker helps agents define and clarify their goals, during the onboarding process as well as throughout the year. This may include both business and personal goals. What does the agent really want to achieve, and why?
I ask agents to set annual and five-year goals. Then, we break the annual goals down into quarterly goals, which are monitored closely throughout the year. It’s hard to shift gears and fix things that are going sideways if it’s September, and you know you’re way off track. If you track things quarterly, you’ll be able to see the trends quicker and adjust accordingly.
Quarterly check-in sessions help your agents focus their attention on the end goal. They also foster engagement between you and the team. Some brokers might meet with an agent annually to set goals, but never revisit them during the year. This is a missed opportunity to deepen your relationship with your agents and know what’s going on behind the scenes.
You’ll have less surprises when someone misses a target or picks up and leaves the firm if you have regular one-on-one meetings with your agents throughout the year.
2. Plan and execute
After their goals are set, you can help your agents plan out how they’re going to achieve them. After all, goal-setting is useless without execution. I’ve been in many corporate meetings where a manager stated the goals or mission of the company, but gave no guidance as to how to get to the desired end result. A goal without a plan is never going to happen.
Once your agent has a list of quarterly and annual goals, how will they get there? Create a step-by-step guide to show them how they can hit their goals. It’s important to build in accountability as well.
For example, some agents may say they want to list two new properties a month. How will they do this? Help them create a daily checklist in which they pledge to mail a letter to 10 expireds, call five of their past clients, and send two note cards or “thinking of you” messages to two people in their sphere every single day.
Then, at the end of the week, they can turn in those sheets to show you what they’ve accomplished. The reward will come when the contact points start turning into listings.
A good coach is tough but fair. They don’t do the work for you, but they guide you and advise you to make you better. They don’t let you skip practices or slack off. I’ve always found that a good broker doesn’t bark, “Do this!” Instead, they say, “Let’s do this together,” or “What would happen if you tried this approach?”
Some agents want the broker to do the work for them, or at least assign an assistant to do it. I had an agent in the past who had fantastic ideas on how to bring in clients — but never wanted to do the work herself. She wanted us to attend trade shows and sponsor events, but when it came to manning the booth or doing the work, she was too busy. But of course, she wanted the leads generated by those events.
A broker and an agent working side by side to create business and work the leads is a give-and-take relationship. Agents should feel like their voices are heard and that the broker will help promote them in a way that generates business and benefits them and the company.
When brokers and agents actively work together to create a plan that’ll drive the agent’s success, they’ll both enjoy the fruits of that labor. It’s a win-win for all. The agent ultimately is responsible for executing the plan, but the broker needs to be there in the background, advising and guiding them throughout the process.
4. Skills path
Along with advising, brokers should be there to hone their agents’ skills. Getting your real estate license is just the first tiny step to mastering real estate. The true learning begins when you learn how to fill out contracts and negotiate a deal from start to close.
A coaching broker constantly looks for educational opportunities and “next steps” for individual agents (and the entire team, in general). In my office, I’ve paid for agents who expressed interest in taking broker-level courses.
If an agent wants to take their business to the next level and undergo more serious training than just regular, basic continuing education courses, I see the benefit there for the entire office. I want more educated, better-trained agents — and I will pay for that.
I regularly bring in out-of-office trainers to teach courses that I may be capable of teaching. That’s because I see the value in bringing outsiders into the office.
Check with your service providers to see which ones may be willing to come in (free or paid) to train on a topic of their expertise. Recently, we paid for a half-day training on our CRM platform, and the experience was well worth it, as it brought agent adoption and their skill up a notch.
Good brokers motivate their staff and agents to perform at higher levels. Remember, motivation is not just about the money. There are many ways to reward people, and not all involve higher splits or bonuses. Some involve public recognition or posting leaderboards in the office that are set to certain goals or metrics.
For example, during the early months of the pandemic, our office decided to set a target for every person to achieve — making 10 calls to past clients or sphere per day. We logged the calls in an app that produced a dashboard, which was posted in our private Facebook group. The winners received bonus leads the next week.
The competition got quite heated at one point. Agents who never paid attention to the leaderboard before suddenly began trying to make it to the board and even knock others out of first place. The plan worked. It built camaraderie and a sense of competition amongst the group. Moreover, it gave everyone a mission to accomplish every single day.
The result? Our group worked hard throughout March, April and May — months when many Realtors in Pennsylvania shut down and didn’t do anything because we were not allowed to show houses in person.
We rocked it on the phones and lined up listings for June, July and August, and we made it through the pandemic. Other offices were down 28 percent in volume during that time, while we were up 35 percent. Our strategy worked, and it kept the team motivated.
Not all brokers or managers have a coaching mindset or run their offices that way. There are agents who don’t feel like they have a coach in their corner or can’t find their broker when they need help. If you’re a broker thinking you can’t afford the time or effort to coach your agents, know that you could bring so much more to the table by offering coaching.
If you’re an agent reading this and wishing your broker operated this way, know that your license is portable, and there might be a broker in your market who does coach his or her agents to success. Take a look around, and see what’s out there. Once you’ve been coached by someone who is tough but fair,and who holds you accountable, you may be surprised by just how quickly your career takes off.