Archive for the 'The Role and Resposibities of a Real Estate Agent' Category
Where do you find good sales staff – and how do you attract them to the profession???
In one of our team planning meetings recently it was recognised that while we are fortunate to have a stable group of sales staff – we also have an aging core of sales staff, and 2-4 of our key salespeople are looking at retiring within the next five years. While Allan Sykes and I (being two of the three company directors here at Allens) may be over 50 and a hell of a lot closer to retiring than Vanessa – the facts remain that we have an ageing team. And we really don’t think it’s just limited to our office… instead thinking it is perhaps representative of the industry as a whole.
We once had dreams of a “super office” taking in people new to the profession, training them til they reached their maximum potential then elevating them to the “top” (both literally and figuratively in terms of commission structure as well as moving them to our top floor offices). We soon realised that both the economic climate, population declines and seeming loss of talent to overseas markets as well as media negativity towards the industry, new regulations and increased costs taking the “shine” off an already challenging industry. Now we are by no means knocking the REAA – the changes this body has brought about to the industry have been positive.
So we decided it was time to embark on another recruitment mission - to further extend our service to Northlanders, and to ensure the longevity of the Allens brand. Now, it’s not just about numbers, it’s about finding the right people – and hopefully finding a spread of people across the ages who are passionate about real estate and passionate about doing good business.
Now we’ve all tried throwing money at recruitment campaigns – full page glossy ads in a variety of media – but with markets becoming more segmented, we have to get more savvy. We needed to sell the brand, sell the team, sell the passion and we need to do it face-to-face and continuously. At Allens we are fortunate to have a fun, loyal team who are passionate about the industry, their jobs and the community. Our team are regularly “out there” in the public eye – actively raising money, getting involved and having fun. This is one of greatest recruitment strengths. We want to use it – we want to promote it – we have a culture and we love it. We firmly believe our teams public profile are one way of promoting Allens as a great place to work – however, people still rarely knock on our door to join our sales team.
Although we have strong brand loyalty and agent loyalty – it is extremely hard to recruit young energetic people to the industry – specifically in Whangarei. We’ve seen the likes of international companies recruiting and headhunting business graduates in centres such as Auckland and even in Australia – and we see some truly amazing young business savvy people speeding up the ranks in such centres. But how do we achieve this in Whangarei – how do we lure university graduates back to Northland, but even more simply – how do we simply recruit young people (graduates or not)? When was the last time you heard a teenager say that their career goal was to become a real estate agent? It just doesn’t happen. So how do we recruit young energetic well educated and dynamic people to Whangarei – when, in all honesty, they could go work in the big smoke – and no doubt earn a hell of a lot more?
So, we took these questions to the team in an “Allens Team Discussion” titled: Recruitment: Moving Forward. Setup in our auction room the meeting was non compulsory, simply a round table “discussion” with us asking for everyone’s ideas and input. We had a great response and massive team turnout. Yes, we needed to overcome the fact that we are asking our own team how to recruit more people to this industry which would ultimately mean more competition to them – but the team took it well, understanding the benefits to them collectively oh having an even bigger, even stronger, sales force. (We were all in agreeance of course that we need the right people and the issue was more than just sourcing bums on seats.) Surprisingly everyone seemed to embrace the challenge and positively contributed.
Interestingly between the time of our initial Directors meeting and the time of the team meeting we had the NZ Herald delivered to the office and the front page feature article was “Quarter of Estate Agents Walk Out” which highlighted a drop of 26% of agents Nationwide leaving the industry. Now I can confidently say although we have said goodbye to a few people over the last 24 months – our losses have been nowhere near as high as this.
So where do we find the right people, and how do we lure them to the industry?
Some really interesting stuff came from the meeting. To target a younger demograph ideas included offering apprenticeships to school leavers to give them a “taste” for the industry as well as targeting careers counsellors and Polytechs. But then we also looked internally – at our branding – making that more vibrant and dynamic, embracing new technologies to sell the sizzle of the industry (and also help promote ourselves as industry leaders). We looked too at changing our current Allens Education Foundation Scholarships (currently given to school leavers looking to further their education… which primarily goes to those wishing to undergo University studies) to include an apprenticeship or “special” scholarship component specifically for someone wanting to enter a career in the property market.
We looked at other ways to give people a taste of the industry – to overcome the fears associated with not always having a steady pay check/income – whether it be by employing “buyers” agents and telephonists and take advantage of government subsidies and grants currently available.
Leads are scarce – having the opportunity to talk to someone about the profession is gold! To overcome the fact that people rarely knock on our door or answer recruitment ads (even in times when it is increasingly hard to find salaried employment) – we created an internal lead reward system (or “finders fee”) for agents who recommend someone to us. We’ve said it before that success comes back to “people and attitude”. The ideal candidate is someone with enthusiasm, business savvy, strong communication skills, with a competitive streak. People who have a passion and a desire to win while still possessing the ability to empathise. People who are prepared to learn and continually up skill and better themselves.
And for those already in the industry we talked about head hunting existing agents in our area, and outside areas too – selling the sizzle of Northland (after all we’re passionate about Northland – why wouldn’t you want to live here!), and we even talked about offering relocation packages from Christchurch based real estate agents.
Head hunting existing agents – now this is something I’d like to elaborate on a bit more – we have resisted head hunting from other agencies. We don’t do it because we wouldn’t like it to be done to us. We presented this to the team. When we asked how our agents felt about this there was an overwhelming majority in favour of it – “why not” being the common response. I guess real estate is a slightly ego driven industry – why wouldn’t you like to know you stood out as a peak performer, why wouldn’t you like to know you’d been recognised… and valued. Collectively as Directors through – we remain in limbo about the morality of this one.
So what came of all of this?
Well, we are continuing to run recruitment ads (in both traditional and non-traditional media) , but now too have measures in place to achieve recruitment (or at least enquiry) targets. We’re continuing on with our community involvement. We’re continuing to use social media, and we’ve set the wheels in motion to review our internal systems and ensure we are at the forefront of technology – to help us deliver an energetic, forward moving brand (and we remain hopeful that we can recruit some “youngsters” to the team).
We know we’re not the only ones facing these issues – but what are others in the industry doing about it?
Just out of interest, here’s a copy of one of our ads:
July 28 2011 | Being a Business Owner and Marketing and Our Community and Recruitment and The Role and Resposibities of a Real Estate Agent | 1 Comment »
Here at Allens in Whangarei we have a large open plan sales office where every director, consultant and personal assistant has the same size desk area.
We have found this open-plan working environment has many great benefits including:
- management are in constant contact with the team making it easier to pick up on the energy of the team and pump it up if necessary;
- communication is freer, easier (and frequently fun), and there is much more of it;
- it actually enhances productivity by promoting spontaneous brainstorming, greater sharing of expertise and experiences among team members – translating to better results for our customers;
- as a result we are able to overcome the traditional culture of secrecy;
- business owners and managers are more accessible to the team for sharing information and giving support, and are often considered more approachable;
- it allows management by observation;
- it promotes equality and breaks down hierarchies;
- it strengthens the team and promotes camaraderie and respect for each other;
- and importantly too for the bottom line, an open plan layout is more cost effective.
In the unique industry of real estate,
I highly recommend you give the open-plan office a go!
December 03 2010 | Being a Business Owner and Case Studies and Experiences and Our Community and The Role and Resposibities of a Real Estate Agent | No Comments »
Over the years I have spoken to quite a few sales consultants about their businesses and why they have ups and downs and why they never seem to have a consistent stream of clients (and income). Some of them assume they are working with the wrong people or in the wrong area. Others tell me they aren’t making the money they deserve because they are in a small town and there isn’t much business there. Many tell me that they would do better if only the market/economy was in a better shape.
There are a lot of excuses I’m hearing.
After talking to these people for a few minutes, I realize that while these excuses may be contributing factors, this is not the reason why they don’t have a thriving business.
They don’t have consistent business because they aren’t marketing to anybody at all.
Yes, you need to be strategic about your marketing. It’s important to know who you are marketing to , understand WHY they would use your services , what they are looking for and how you could best and least expensively get in front of them.
That’s all important, and you should do it. If you don’t do those things and you aren’t strategic about your marketing, you will waste you time and money. But the bottom line is….you still have to market yourself. If you don’t do something, no one will know you are out there.
Write articles, newsletters and publish them. Go to social and professional networking events. Make a point to have a coffee with one person a week. Send cards. Make cold calls. Whatever you choose to do…do something. Take action.
Your marketing doesn’t have to be perfect, but it does have to be happening. Now, this is a non-tangible thing I am going to say and some of you may just laugh, but you have to get that marketing engine in motion and get that energy going. GO, GO, GO. It’s all about the moving energy.
If you are in a place and you are uncomfortable or unfulfilled with where you are at or with the results you are getting, you need to change things. You have to move.
Imagine being in a stale or stuffy room with all the doors and windows closed. New air can’t come in and the stuffy, stale air is just sitting there and can’t get out. No one likes the way the room feels, but no one is doing anything to change it. No one wants to be in this stale and stuffy room. New people rarely if ever come in, and the people that are in the room are too hot to talk or be friendly with each other because they are miserable.
But then … you come in.
You open the windows and the doors, maybe bring in a fan and start moving the air around. You get the air to circulate. Suddenly it’s easier to breathe and new people start to come into the room and socialize.
You need to do the same thing with your marketing. Of course you don’t have a room with stuffy air, but the energy around your marketing is stale and is either not attracting clients or not attracting the right clients. You need to change the air - i.e. your marketing energy.
If you are doing nothing but thinking about what you are going to do, nothing is moving. Including your energy.
The funny thing about doing this, about taking action, is that people start coming to you that you aren’t even marketing to. It’s something about getting your marketing energy moving around, kicking up the cosmic dust, just the act of doing it and building the momentum up starts to make things happen.
The moral of my story … get marketing. Do something. Move your butt!!
October 18 2010 | Marketing and The Role and Resposibities of a Real Estate Agent | No Comments »
“I’m not ready to work with an agent yet,” says Margie; however she picked up the phone and called a real estate agent anyway. She wanted information on a listing. Margie had been calling real estate agents for days to find out about properties she might want to buy. Translation:
- I don’t know what an agent can do for me, and I don’t know you.
- I’m wary of agents because they might try to sell me a home I don’t want.
- I can find my own home
Lots of people don’t trust real estate agents and don’t really understand what an agent brings to the table that they can’t do for themselves. Its an understandable reaction. This is a weird profession to be part of. There’s very little middle of the road. Agents are either despised or loved. They earn an A or an F on their report card – there is rarely a C on performance in this business.
Quite frankly , some buyers and sellers could manage quite well on their own. I believe that an A-rated agent can bring added value to the transaction, but for some consumers, an agent may not be necessary. Here is how you can tell whether it is.
Do You Need an Agent to Sell a Home?
Nobody really needs an agent. As a seller, you can find your own buyer but the lingering question is would an agent have helped you to net more on your bottom line? Much depends on the real estate market.
- In super hot seller markets, almost anybody can stick a sign on the fence and attract offers. Thats because buyers are falling all over themselves to buy and waving money deposits in the air.
- In buyers markets, there are fewer buyers, which makes an agents services worth more.
- More than 80% of buyers purchase a home through a real estate agent. If you don’t hire an agent, you could be losing exposure to 80% of the buying population.
Agents Can Bring Added-Value to a Transaction
Unless you routinely attend every open house in your neighbourhood, you may not possess intimate information about the interiors of your neighbours homes nor why some sold for higher prices than others. Experienced agents have this knowledge and use it to position your home to sell at the highest possible price.
Top agents sell homes day in and day out. Here is a list of services most agents offer to vendors:
- Top notch marketing materials and proven selling systems.
- Professional photography and presentation tips.
- Wide Internet exposure.
- Promotion at company meetings and caravans.
- Networking with fellow real estate agents.
- Price guidance according to market data and recent sales.
- Home stagers, inspectors and repair contractor referrals.
- Buyer feedback and private viewings.
- Qualification and confirmation of potential buyers.
- Counter offer and negotiation expertise.
- Some of the services you may expect as a buyer from an agent you might not be able to obtain on your own. Apart from knowing about listings before they are available to the public, agents can:
- Provide comparable sales data.
- Pull property profiles reflecting sales history, property data, demographics and neighbourhood services.
- Obtain a copy of the properties historical documents.
- Suggest pricing strategy.
- Prepare a strong offer that presents the buyer in the best light based on market demands and agent interaction.
- Provde a buffer between the buyer and the seller.
If you feel competent that you can handle a sale or purchase on your own, you probably can. But you may always wonder if you paid too much or accepted too low of a price!
September 02 2010 | Buying and Selling and Buying Property and Selling Property and The Role and Resposibities of a Real Estate Agent | 1 Comment »