As a brokerage owner, the activities of your agents build business for your company. What happens when the market slows? Is your business equipped for the leaner times of year, when agent productivity slips?
In the latest Imprev and RISMedia webinar, "How to Build Your Business for Consistent Income," two brokers delved into their profitability strategies, which curb downtime in the market. The call was moderated by Verl Workman, CEO and founder of Workman Success Systems.
"Very often, the market exists between our ears," said Dean deTonnancourt, CEO and president of HomeSmart Professionals Real Estate in Rhode Island, as well as HomeSmart Real Estate Network in Maine.
"It's really a mindset," deTonnancourt said. "The challenges are different from agent to agent, and ultimately, we've got to shift our support accordingly."
As a broker and manager, you have to set the tone, said Carrie Zeier, CEO and owner of RE/MAX Elite in Tennessee.
"You've got to be the CEO of your business," Zeier said. "When agents are taught that, they value you more."
To consistently drive profit, they recommended these strategies:
- Champion entrepreneurship.
Agents are entrepreneurs, and as their broker, your duty is to empower and motivate them. When you do, you communicate a message of support, which builds loyalty and keeps momentum strong.
"Real estate is not a sales job; it's a career," deTonnancourt said. "We treat our agents like professionals in the field. We give them the opportunities, the tools, the technology, the education and the support they need to succeed both personally and professionally. They're treated like an entrepreneur, rather than a salesperson."
That carries over to recruiting. As a broker in a competitive industry, are you exceeding expectations?
"This is a transient industry," said deTonnancourt. "Agents are running their own individual business, and they need to be where they feel they belong. Are you providing everything that was promised?"
- Deliver proven training.
Agents can call cold inquiries, but the gold is in their sphere. By committing to connecting with their database, agents can consistently earn free leads, and establish long-term referral relationships. So, drive home the importance of prospecting in your training.
"Marketing is not 'today'—it's branding, but the future [is when] you'll get business from that," said Zeier. "Prospecting can change your business and your life today."
It can be daunting to prospect, so Zeier has agents begin with 30 minutes of calling daily, then expanding that to an hour, two hours, and so on. (Her best are at it for four hours!)
"You don't have to run a marathon the first day—just a walk will start it, then a jog, then a run," Zeier said. "Once an agent starts seeing success, it becomes addictive, and they start building their system."
- Enlist mentors.
Accountability is critical in real estate, where agents can self-start and thrive, or flounder without motivation. In your brokerage, consider establishing a mentorship program, so that agents have a guide on their path to success.
"Any new associate is required to go through our mentorship program because it teaches them to build a business," deTonnancourt said. "Everyone learns at a different pace, and everybody has different goals. We have a program director who oversees the program and handles the educational component, and we have a roster of 10 coaches. These are selling REALTORS®; they are active in the industry, listing and selling real estate, but they've agreed to be part of this program to give back to the new associates."
- Look to other services.
The brokerage business can be lucrative on its own, but the best brokers invest in multiple revenue streams. With ancillary services, brokers can cushion themselves from dips in the market, and build out their capabilities for clients, enhancing their overall value.
"Your big wheel in front of you is your REALTORS®, and all the spokes on the side are so much a part of our business that we're involved in through the entire transaction," said Zeier, whose brokerage has mortgage and title, as well as home inspection, insurance and warranty.
An attorney is essential when establishing these services, Zeier said, and so is giving them opportunities to present.
"Every month we have a kick-off in each of my offices and all of the alliances come in," said Zeier. "I want it to be valuable to the agent so that they know that segment of the market. [If you make] ancillary business more beneficial for the agent…in return, everyone gets business all around."
- Remember, we're in this together.
The brokerage business is competitive, but there are benefits to coopetition.
"I'm a firm believer in people like to work with people that they like—people that they can connect with," said deTonnancourt. "Relationships in the industry are critical to our success."
"We all work in this town as professionals," Zeier said. "In the future, you never know what changes. Something may happen at another company. Why burn any bridges? I'm an advocate of our industry, and getting to know as many people in our industry as possible and supporting each other."
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