This April, one of Inman’s most popular recurring theme months returns: Back to Basics. All month, real estate professionals from across the country share what’s working for them, how they’ve evolved their systems and tools, and where they’re investing personally and professionally to drive growth in 2022. It’s always smart to go Back to Basics with Inman.
A lot has been penned lately about what agents expect from their leaders — and expectations are high.
With so many brokerage options out there, agents are constantly weighing the value proposition of each to find the right fit and amplify their businesses.
As founder and CEO of The Agency, the mission to elevate the value of the agent is what the core of my career has been focused on. I’ve developed insight along the way as I continue to strive to meet agents’ needs and then some.
The question is, how can teams and brokerages make agent wish lists become reality? Here are five ways you can provide an incredible experience to your agents and create a loyal community that feels valued, connected and heard.
1. Make over-delivering your standard
Meeting expectations is fine, but it doesn’t create memorable experiences or lasting impressions. Leaders need to go above and beyond to surprise and delight their agents and team members.
When you set forth on an initiative — whether it’s intended for a single agent or the whole company — set your intention to make it a moment that will win their respect, trust and loyalty.
At every touchpoint, strive to make your agents and team members’ lives easier: When launching a new tool, provide them with accessible, seamless training on how to leverage it. When throwing an event, have a fun surprise that they aren’t expecting. When they hit a significant milestone, send them a personal congratulatory note.
These are the moments that stand out to people, which means there is a huge opportunity for you. When in doubt, underpromise so that you can ultimately over-deliver.
2. Lead toward the desired change and growth of the company
As agents and staff focus on the microcosm of their roles, your job as their leader is to see and continually guide them toward the more macro goals and visions of the company.
At our brokerage, the cities and partners we choose to grow with are directly tied to maintaining our brand’s identity as a top boutique brokerage with a global reach.
Over the past few months, I’ve been traveling to new offices we are launching around the world. On my visit, I make sure to sit down with our managing partners to hear their feedback and operating experience and learn, adapt and grow. With technology being top-of-mind, one question to ask is if they need a new tool to make part of their workflow easier?
Start evaluating current processes and how they can be refined. Are they feeling valued and heard? It’s time for an appreciation event. As soon as you feel the wind blow in a certain direction, make a move toward improvement. Don’t wait — stay ahead of the game.
3. Solve problems (for real)
When trying to provide a solution to a challenge that your agents may be experiencing, don’t be reactionary. Instead, respond thoughtfully and strategically.
Do some undercover research to proactively provide solutions before the problem fully takes shape. Go beyond the information reported to you, and consider the actual root of the problem.
How can you put a system, tool or protocol in place that will truly solve the problem and create ease? Put some time into the answer, devise a functional solution, and communicate it clearly to your agents. They will understand they are a valued part of your organization. That’s a real win.
4. Create culture and community — your way
Culture is everything — and it’s up to you to be intentional about yours. Figure out what the core values of your company are, and build a culture that reflects them.
We care deeply about collaboration, so we’ve built a culture where agents rely on one another, reach out and feel like a family. Events are a big part of how we create culture. We love coming together, networking and celebrating.
Our in-house events and partnerships team curates experiences year-round and makes every get-together at truly remarkable. We all leave energized, smiling and feeling connected. Lead by example, bring the energy you wish to see in others, and have some fun.
5. Deliver extras that make work easier (and more fun)
There’s a lot to be said for perks — things small and large that make the day-to-day exciting and enjoyable. What “extras” can you provide to your agents? Whether it’s a monthly happy hour, holiday gift, gym membership or coffee bar at the office, bring value beyond the essentials.
Make your brokerage a place they want to be — a place where they feel great and can thrive. Your CRM is a great tool to keep track of their personal interests and information so you can create experiences for them that tell them that you know them and you care.
It’s important to remember as a leader in the real estate space that every agent is different — some value the camaraderie and social aspect of working in a brokerage; some the information, training and mentoring; some the prestige of the brand.
Consider how to address each type of agent by employing the above high-level tactics. Your role as a leader is an opportunity to make people’s lives great — so seize it. With some thought, reflection and creativity, the possibilities are endless.