The market is falling. Prices are on the decline. Sales are slowing. Everyone is focusing on what happens to a realtor’s business, and the challenge for brokers/owners has doubled.
Not only does your brokerage lose per-transaction revenues due to fewer overall sales, but you also face the loss of realtors leaving you for other brokerages. When the market is moving against a brokerage, when losses seem inevitable, how do we hold our ground? More importantly, how do we grow?
When facing a slowing market, we must make a return to basics. This means asking a series of core questions about yourself, your existing realtors, and your business services. We must articulate our value and remind our realtors of the dream that brought them to the industry.
Analyze your data
Start with a list of your existing agents. Gather the hard data. It’s worth it. Write down the name of each individual. When did they start with you? How long have they been in your office? How many transactions did they do the year before they joined you? How many do they average per year now? What was their income over the last 12 months? What is the office’s average income per realtor?
Getting the answers to these gives you some basic metrics against which you can measure your realtor’s business growth. It gives you some tangible feedback to offer when someone says they just aren’t making enough or the market is too slow. You can point to the group’s success while highlighting the individual realtor’s successes.
Next, gather your qualitative data about each realtor. What was their career goal when they started? How has that changed with time? What are their biggest challenges? What is the next step for that realtor to grow their business? How have you added value to that realtor’s business? How has your brokerage impacted their career? Where do they see themselves in three to five years? What do they want out of the rest of their career?
If you’re a data nerd like I am, group the answers you get from your realtors and assign a numerical value to each grouping. This will allow you to determine the most common answers and help you decide what you can offer to assist the largest number of realtors in your brokerage with the least effort and cost.
Don’t be afraid to tell your team that you’re doing research to help them. You know the market has slowed as much as they do. You want to understand what your office has done for them so that you can target your efforts to support their survival and growth during the slow market. I promise the fact that you make an effort will mean as much to your realtors as the outcome.
Reassess your toolkit
Now, take an inventory of the tools and resources that your brokerage provides your realtors. Do you offer websites? Listing presentations? Administrative support? Training? Lead generation systems? There are a thousand tools your office might provide.
The key to unlocking what tools are best depends on what tools support the value your realtors tell you they get from you. The tools you have are the evidence that what you think about, what you do, and what you say to your realtors align. The alignment of your thoughts, actions, and words injects trust into the culture of your office.
Finally, choose. You must remind your people of the value that your office provides. You must reassure them that their trust in you is warranted. You now have the opportunity to give your realtors a new tool that will help them survive and ultimately thrive during a slow market.
Provide strategic support
All too often, I’ve heard brokers cry that a realtor left because they weren’t loyal or they were seduced away by low fees or big promises that won’t be fulfilled. I rarely hear brokers pointing the finger at themselves and asking what they could have done better, not today, but one to three years ago, when that realtor placed all their trust in the office.
It is often said that the best leaders are the best navigators. They take stock of their surroundings, resources, and skills. They chart a course over, through, or around the next challenge.
In times of market decline, your realtors are looking for strong leadership. Whether they act on it or not, the fact that a strong leader is present has charted a course forward, reassures them that they are in the right office and that you care for them and their career.
Cameron has worked within the real estate industry for over a decade. With early success in sales and winning a handful of local and corporate awards, he transitioned to the management side of the office. It was in this phase of his career that he found his strength. He has consistently worked on business development for brokerages since, consistently recruiting 50+ realtors per year, coaching and developing new realtors and designing custom brands and business strategies for senior realtors. Today, Cameron continues in this work, helping offices and realtors consistently grow their bottom line through implementing results-orientated processes.