A trio of industry leaders urged agents and brokers to try new things and focus on building their roster of clients during an Inman Connect New York panel on Wednesday.

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Interest rates are rising.

New companies are trying, and often succeeding, at disrupting the homebuying process.

Demand is still sky high and housing inventory is low.

The world is swamped in crises, from COVID-19 to war in Ukraine.

Which is all to say, these are unusual times. So how can real estate professionals thrive?

That was the question at hand Wednesday when a group of industry leaders took to the stage as part of a panel on brokerages at Inman Connect.

The panel featured Jason Mitchell, president and CEO of Arizona-based the Jason Mitchell Group, John Wollberg, managing broker for Side in New York, and Chris Gill, chief commercial officer for Mexico-based developer Simca. And the takeaway was that brokerages and agents aren’t going to thrive in these strange times by resting on their laurels. They have to be proactive.

Here’s how:

1. Always try something new

Wollberg urged brokers and agents to think outside the box. It’s a common bit of advice, but he specified that the key is to constantly be trying new products, strategies and services.

“If you’re not using new technology every year you’re leaving yourself out of the field,” he advised. “If you’re not using new data ever year you’re leaving yourself out of the field. Look for something new. Think of new things to do.”

The idea of trying new things comes up often at this moment in real estate, when technology and new companies are constantly changing the landscape. But Wollberg’s advice hinted that brokerages and agents need to be proactive and, significantly, experimental.

From left to right, moderator Kendall Bonner, Chris Gill, Jason Mitchell and John Wollberg at Inman Connect Wednesday. Credit: AJ Canaria & Mercedes Santiago of MoxiWorks

2. Always follow up

Gill noted that in his case, he has been doing real estate for decades. But for a long time, he was doing it wrong.

“I’ve been doing it right for the last three years only,” he said.

So what did he learn from that process?

Gill said his single biggest piece of advice was to always follow up with everyone. That means real estate professionals need to reach out to people in their databases. They should work to meet new people so that they can build those databases. Even attending industry gatherings that create networking opportunities counts, Gill said.

“Understand who is your partner and follow up,” he suggested.

3. Do lots of sales

Mitchell noted that many agents want to be luxury agents, or to focus on that one big deal that will net a big payout. But for most agents and brokerages, that’s not typically how the industry actually works.

Instead, Mitchell said the “name of real estate is how big your portfolio is, so you can continue to have clients who send you business year after year.”

In other words, real estate professionals stand to benefit more from a constant stream of steady business than they do from big, but intermittent, sales. And that only happens when agents have an established and growing book of business.

“It’s not about the big sale,” he concluded. “It’s about how many sales you can have and make.”

Email Jim Dalrymple II

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