It’s never been a more interesting or exacting time to be an indie broker. In November, Inman celebrates the indie by narrowing in on what growth tactics are working best and what tech is emerging that offers the best competitive advantage.
Regardless of the size of your brokerage, it’s lonely at the top when you’re the one in charge. This is especially true for many indie brokers who must handle a wide variety of roles, even as they are forced to sell to stay profitable. Where can you turn to find the support you need to thrive?
Our guest this week on RealEstateCoach Uncensored is Sara Sutachan, the vice president of industry relations and strategic initiatives for the California Association of Realtors (C.A.R.).
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Sutachan began leading a series of town hall meetings with 200 of California’s top brokers. That number has grown to over 800 today. Based on the feedback from the C.A.R. broker town halls and the WomanUP! research, here are seven ways to create a strong support system for your brokerage.
1. Tap into existing communities
Kama Burton just launched her indie brokerage in September 2020. She has found the C.A.R. broker town halls to be invaluable to her as a new broker. Sutachan explained that the town halls have helped build enormous trust among their brokers. The chat has been on fire as they ask each other questions, share best practices and problem-solve in real time around the issues they face.
The WomanUP! research also showed experienced brokers are more than willing to share advice and lessons learned with new brokers in their local market. All the broker has to do is to ask.
Additional resources indies found to be helpful included their state and local associations, Women’s Council of Realtors, plus networks like the chamber of commerce.
2. When you need legal counsel
Very few indies can afford an in-house legal counsel. When you need legal assistance, two excellent resources are your state association’s legal hotline as well as your local board of Realtors. NAR also offers a wealth of helpful resources.
With the rapidly changing requirements for showing properties and maintaining social distancing due to COVID-19, Realtors are hungry to know how they can continue to conduct their business while still following required guidelines.
Consequently, it’s important to be in constant communication with your agents about shifting requirements. Use virtual office meetings, email, Facebook, text messages and videos to reach them through multiple channels and keep your agents up to date.
4. People first
Along with overcommunicating regarding business issues, it’s even more important to regularly check in by calling each of your agents and administrative staff.
The brokers who did this found that many of their agents hadn’t had a live conversation with another person for days or even weeks. The fact that you took the time to call and see how they are doing strengthens their connection with you. It also builds retention.
Sutachan also recommended doing personal check-in calls with your loan officers, title reps and escrow officers. Chances are you’ll be the only broker who cared enough to see how they are doing personally. These simple personal touches go a long way toward having these people support you and your brokerage now and in the future.
5. Lead with a heart of service
Top brokers have always understood the power of serving the needs of their community. This pattern has been consistent for decades. Successful brokers become integrated into their community as they raise money for charitable causes, serve on boards of nonprofit organizations, volunteer at local schools and help their communities respond when there’s a natural disaster.
The law of attraction says, “You attract who you are.” When you give to your community, your community gives back to you and your business.
6. Family support
Perhaps one of the most important findings from the WomanUP! research was that close to 90 percent of the women who ran brokerages had a spouse or significant other who actively supported their role as a broker and also pitched in to help at home.
Family members (often children, siblings or other relations) also provided support. In many cases, that support was an actual partnership or some other role in the family business.
This is especially true if you have a small office. Not only do you have all your leadership roles to contend with, but you are also responsible for almost everything else, including taking out the trash and scrubbing the toilets.
7. Be more gentle with yourself and others
Sutachan, a widow with two school-age children, knows the challenges associated with being torn between your child care responsibilities and your job. She explained how now more than ever, the lines between our business and personal lives have become blurred. As a result, it’s more important than ever to be patient with others who are contending with kids and pets in their virtual workplaces.
To cope with the stress, Sutachan recommended engaging in more self-care. Whether it’s a one-minute meditation session, shooting fun videos, painting or gardening, it’s more important than ever to schedule daily time to care for you.
Sutachan’s final advice was make sure you check in on regularly on your agents, staff and others you work with, as well as your clients. Tap into the power of your local community because when you support others, they support you.
Bernice Ross, President and CEO of BrokerageUP and RealEstateC