Being the leader of a real estate agency requires a deep commitment to supporting your agents in every way possible to ensure their success and well-being, writes Seattle broker Adriano Tori.

Real estate is an industry that often attracts people looking for a career change. The pandemic spurred unprecedented growth in the industry, with over 150,000 new agents entering the field between 2020 and 2021. Subsequently, 2022 was filled with some especially difficult market conditions, and 2023 hasn’t been much easier so far. 

So what does it take to build and maintain a thriving agency in an industry that’s known to have a nearly 90 percent rate of failure among agents within the first year? It all boils down to investing time and resources into your team. 

Establish core values 

Emphasizing core values can be a defining feature of your agency that will help it stand out from others in the industry. What exactly does this mean? It means that as the leader of an agency, you have laid out a roadmap for success and defined a set of core values from which your team can operate.

Every leader is different, and core values will vary from agency to agency, but whatever those core values are, define them and put them in writing. In doing this, remember to keep your list on the shorter side. 

Your core values shouldn’t be a full-on manual. They should be three to five simple but powerful statements that give your team a clear guideline for how they should be carrying out their work, engaging with their colleagues and serving their clients. Make sure you engage in regular discourse with your agents about what your agency’s core values look like in their everyday actions, and allow them to ask questions about how and why you chose the core values. 

It’s important to remember that core values are two-sided. Just as agents need to operate within your core values, learn your business model and commit to your way of doing business, they also need the flexibility and autonomy to incorporate their individuality into their role.

When an agent is first getting started with your company, sit down with them and have an intentional conversation about their career goals and motivations for getting into real estate. Learn about your agent’s personal core values and show them how those core values will be an asset to them at your agency and in the industry.

Continue these conversations throughout their time with your agency to maintain a strong working relationship and support their unique vision for their career.

Provide your agents with a roadmap to success

Empower your agents with a data-driven process that pinpoints the best approach to working with buyers and sellers. Teach them the importance of analyzing demographic data and keeping a pulse on MLS data to have a picture of what inventory looks like so they can present their clients with the best options available.

Explain to your agents how to gather intel from sellers, such as their current housing and financial situation, in order to lead clients in the right direction and secure the best deal on a home. 

Show your team how to conduct thorough research on the education, safety, entertainment and amenities in the community their clients are considering moving to. Make sure each of your agents understands that buying a home is the biggest investment many people will ever make. Emphasize there can’t be any guesswork in the process. Your team must be diligent in conducting research to anticipate every client’s needs.

Showing your agents how to leverage innovative technologies to eliminate unknown variables in the home buying and selling process is another key component of setting them up for success. While building relationships and using traditional methods of engaging with clients is still a priority, it’s necessary to keep up with and utilize tools such as interactive maps, videos and floor plans.

You have to equip your agents with platforms that can offer services like tours, open houses and listing appointments in a virtual setting in order to make sure they’re staying ahead of the curve. 

Offer educational and mentorship opportunities

Real estate is an ever-changing industry, so it’s crucial for you to guide your agents on how to stay up on the latest trends and best practices. In order to level up their expertise and skill set in real estate, you need to be intentional about equipping them with tools such as online tutorials, webinars and workshops. Providing opportunities to attend classes, conferences and panel discussions will keep their minds sharp and give them a competitive edge. 

It’s also worth refreshing your agents’ knowledge by taking them through certification courses to brush up on their core competencies. Instilling a life-long appreciation and respect for learning in your agents will help carry them far in their careers. In turn, it will allow your agency to reap the benefits leading to continued success and a vibrant company culture.

As much as it’s critical to stay up on the latest trends and patterns in real estate, it’s also important to maintain a foundation of traditional principles and practices that continue to serve as fundamental aspects of real estate. That’s why fostering connections between your agents, especially newer or younger ones, and industry veterans is essential to ensuring that real estate transactions aren’t losing their roots in relationship-building and personal relations.

Keeping an active list of upcoming workshops, networking events and classes for agents to glean insight from industry veterans will solidify the fundamentals of real estate into your agents’ workflow as they continue grasping the new technologies and tools of today’s world. 

When it comes to giving your agents the best roadmap to success, mentorship perpetuates extraordinary growth and provides an extensive learning curve. It can be difficult to move up the ranks in real estate, and everyone has to start somewhere, which is usually from a place of limited knowledge. Set up your newer, less experienced agents with a mentor who can help them learn fundamental perspectives that might otherwise take them years to develop on their own.

Working alongside a more experienced agent can also help them develop a working style that can generate the best results for the agency and fit well with the expectations of the local community. 

The bottom line is that taking a chance with less experienced people who want to pursue a career in real estate is necessary to keep your agency’s door open to fresh and innovative approaches to the agency’s business model. 

Foster a supportive workplace with a healthy culture

Real estate is an extremely rewarding career, but it also comes with pressure or stress like any other line of work. There will be periods of time when it feels like everyone in the agency is working around the clock and not catching a break at all. This is where having a strong agency culture gives your team the encouragement and motivation to preserve and maintain a high level of work satisfaction. 

As a leader, acknowledge your agents’ accomplishments and celebrate together. Cultivate a collaborative work environment where everyone knows they can receive support and lean into the unique experiences and skills that every agent brings to the team. 

It’s also important to recognize that collaborating among agents won’t be without misunderstandings or disagreements. In any agency, it’s not a matter of if conflicts and debates will arise — it’s a matter of when. But occasional conflict is okay as long as you establish healthy communication to prevent those conflicts from creating toxic dynamics in the workplace. 

Encourage agents to avoid unhelpful responses like “This is not a big deal,” “You’re overreacting,” or any other statements that minimize a person’s emotions. We all experience overwhelming emotions, and we all need to feel heard. So, as long as agents are being respectful, it’s beneficial to listen and help them process emotions and negative experiences so they can move forward. Promoting open communication and expression among agents can go a long way in mitigating tensions in a career that can be very stressful at times.  

Leading a real estate agency takes a strong vision, perseverance, grit and innovation, especially with the current unpredictable housing market and the increasing interest in real estate careers. Being the leader of a real estate agency requires a deep commitment to supporting your agents in every way possible to ensure their success and well-being. When you take care of your agents, they will take care of your clients, which will keep your operation running smoothly and effectively.

Adriano Tori is the CEO of RexMont Real Estate, a real estate agency in Seattle, Washington. Connect with him on Instagram and LinkedIn.

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