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It’s the age of the agent, according to Christian Barnes and Amy Chorew of Better Homes and Gardens Kansas City Homes and Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate.
In the brief but information-rich Broker track at Inman Connect panel on how office leaders can inspire success in their agents, Chorew and Barnes stressed that agents need to understand the value of systems to become successful, and those systems need to be centered under an entrepreneurial mindset, which isn’t common in many new agents, according to Barnes.
“Honestly, a lot of them kind of flounder a little bit, and that’s what drove me into my leadership position, and my passion for coaching and training and mentoring evolved out of that,” Barnes said.
Chorew, vice president of learning at Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate, told attendees that helping agents grow from being sales associates to more sophisticated business leaders remains a challenge for the industry’s leaders.
“How do we get our sales associates from being just transactional agents, you know, ‘where’s my next deal coming from?’ to being true entrepreneurs with a business that can support them?” she asked.
Barnes, broker-owner of Better Homes and Gardens Kansas City Homes, believes that the answer lies with brokers’ ability to set up agents for success.
“Agents can’t work by accident, which is common, they need to work on purpose,” Barnes said.
A dynamic business plan is the best foot forward, according to Barnes, and it needs to focus on the word “dynamic.”
“It can’t sit on a shelf, it has to have moving parts and pieces to it and really be used as the roadmap to achieve success, whatever that looks like for them,” she said.
The business roadmap needs to direct agents toward a primary goal, a “really big rock,” as Barnes calls it, and then the more tactical pieces, the smaller rocks, such as everyday phone calls, lead follow-up efforts, and other client and sphere touch-points.
“And that all starts with their why and their vision,” she said.
Too many offices and industry leaders gloss over the idea of getting agents to change their mindset, Chorew said. But having the right tools in place to support them is a great way to start. Brokers need to let agents know they support their effort to succeed.
“Some of the pieces that agents need to have would be lead-gen tools. Are they using their sphere, or are they buying leads?” Chorew said. “If they’re working their sphere, what are some of the tactical things they need to do on a daily, weekly, monthly basis to stay in touch?”
After leads, comes follow-up. Chorew stressed the technology for tracking and managing is essential. And brokers need to know what they’re using, how often and if not, why not? What can they recommend?
Referencing the book Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by James Clear, Barnes said that those tools and systems can help agents “stay in the game.”
But those needs and systems are different for new agents and seasoned agents, Barnes said.
“You have to first and foremost quartile your agents, and with that comes quartiling your learning plans and putting them in place for an entire year,” she said. “Just like we ask our agents to have a dynamic business plan, brokers have to have a dynamic plan for their leadership and training and coaching.”
Quartiling refers to establishing specific agent groups according to experience and then designing training resources for each level.
The pandemic notwithstanding, Chorew and Barnes shared with the online audience the idea of the “100-Day Affect,” a business tactic that suggests designing business programs 100 days ahead of the market.
“You always have to look three months ahead,” Chorew said. “If you want to hit the spring market with listings, we would be doing a lot of training and coaching and role-playing for those [spring] listings.”
But, that training and coaching can’t be left to simmer.
“It’s not a crockpot,” said Barnes. “You can’t set it and forget it. It has to be a living, breathing plan.”