Managing an office is one thing; the ability to seek out Realtors with the skills needed to thrive in real estate is another. Without quality agents, the office will flounder. Managing brokers know what they want in their Realtors; regardless of an agent’s experience, Realtors must be confident in their knowledge of the market and must show a natural ability to network with people. Managing brokers should remember Realtors for the right reasons; they must be ethical and compassionate.
Donna Lancaster has grown her pool of agents to 45 from 16 since she took over Berkshire Hathaway Homeservices’ Miami Beach office in 2007. When considering bringing on a new Realtor – managing brokers are always open to adding new talent – Donna wants agents who know to adjust to the myriad personalities they encounter through their clients. Above all, however, Realtors must be dedicated to the industry and must prove their worth as a networker.
“Most important is the commitment to succeed and the ability to network, because real estate is a people business,” Lancaster says. “Where are they going to get their business? I don’t want them to just depend on me to hand them out business. I need them to be self-motivated.”
Managing brokers all have their own tactics when they interview agents. Rosie Hernandez, managing broker of Gold Rose Realty in Miami, requests that prospective Realtors provide a written-out business plan. Jordan Millman, broker-principal of West Avenue Realty, quickly quizzes prospective Realtors about the market in the area, believing a great Realtor is one who can name the three hottest buildings on any given street without digging through the MLS. In a rapidly developing area like South Florida, managing brokers place an emphasis on knowing the market.
Creating a Collaborative Culture
The fundamental responsibility of a managing broker is to ensure the success of his or her Realtors, or as Lancaster puts it, “I’m here to protect their license.” Brining on quality agents is an important step to success, but the job doesn’t end there. Retaining agents is an equally challenging and crucial task; if Realtors do not like the office they work for, they will look elsewhere. Therefore, managing brokers must establish a culture that excites Realtors and makes them feel important and welcome. Managing brokers achieve this by doing something that sounds easier than it is: listening. Millman takes advantage of the fact that West Avenue Realty seeks to be a boutique firm. With just seven agents on board, Millman has the ability to implement valid suggestions from his agents at a company-wide level. For instance, his agents suggested rebranding West Avenue Realty’s logo. Agents thought moving away from the palm tree/South Beach style and conjuring an image that better represents Brickell and downtown – where a large portion of their business is – would benefit the company. This input brought not only a new logo, but also an entirely new website. Managing brokers who demonstrate such responsiveness and inclusiveness make the agent aware that they are valued. “Our agents have a say in what goes on and their input is calculated,” Millman says. “They feel like it’s their company.” Real estate offices come in all sizes; Millman and two other broker-principals lead seven agents, Hernandez manages 10 Realtors, and Lancaster works with 45. But regardless of the number of agents, managing brokers work to create a culture that is collaborative at its core. Whether managing brokers receive feedback about logos or step in and advise during transactions, the goal is to position themselves as partners. “In this business, managing brokers need to understand that agents are partners in the business, and the better they do, the better the brokerages do,” Hernandez says. Many managing brokers believe such a relationship cannot be fostered if they are busy worrying about their own transactions; therefore, many managing brokers, like Lancaster, are non-competing. Even if managing brokers never go after their agents’ clients, Lancaster says being a managing broker and a Realtor are two full-time jobs, and there simply isn’t enough time to be successful in both roles simultaneously. However, some managing brokers do take on their own clients; the trick is to make your business a second priority to the wellbeing of the office. Hernandez, for example, tends to collaborate with her agents on deals. “I’m at the point where I’m actually partnering up with my clients so that I can help them build their business,” Hernandez says. “So for most of my clients, I’m teamed up with my agent.” Millman also maintains his own client base, though he does so in a calculated – and collaborative – manner. “If I feel I have more leads than I can handle, or if leads are for specific areas that aren’t my expertise, then I refer those leads to our agents,” he says, adding that he had never competed with his agents for the same listing and sustaining his career as a Realtor has helped land leads for his agents that they otherwise would not have received. Managing brokers can indeed continue to practice their business, but it’s a fine line to walk. The instant when personal interests distract managing brokers from the interests of their agents is when they’ve failed to do their job. Teaming up with agents, like Hernandez and Millman do, is a genuine way to remain active and generate a sense of togetherness within the office.
Keeping in Touch
Managing brokers crave an office that works like a family, an office that functions as a unit, rather than one that embodies a dog-eat-dog mentality. After going through great lengths to create such an environment, managing brokers certainly don’t want to lose it. The solution to a sustainable work culture is simply communication; however, with today’s technology and evolving work habits, managing brokers find that communication is at once effortless and maddening. “The new real estate agent is not here everyday,” Lancaster says. “They’re not coming into the office to do research; everything is online; all our forms our online, MLS – everything is online. Agents don’t need to come to the office now to get their material, so how do I stay in contact with them?” The methods are numerous: email, phone, text, video chat, social media, etc. The maddening part: agents are extraordinarily busy, many working 80 hours a week in order to close a transaction for a client. So, phone calls are missed, texts receive no response, and emails linger indefinitely in cyberspace. That can be problematic, especially when managing brokers have industry news to impart in their agents. Therefore, managing brokers need to construct systems of communication that not only ensure correspondence, but also make certain that the agent clearly absorbs the message. Lancaster follows a simple pattern and moves onto each successive level if the prior method garnered no response within 24 hours: e-blast, personal email, text message, and phone call. In the meantime, all of her agents are welcome to attend her monthly meetings; if she has had trouble getting in touch with a Realtor, she will specifically ask to meet with them. West Avenue Realty meets every other week to go over all existing transactions. This way, Millman says, the agents can voice their problems to the group, a setting that is beneficial for the entire team. Of course, managing brokers need to be prepared to adjust their communication systems, in the event that an important message is not getting through to their agents. Hernandez, for instance, has always stressed to her agents the importance of having their buyer clients contract them as their exclusive buying agent and having their seller clients contract them as their exclusive listing agent. Often, when following up with agents, Hernandez learns that they didn’t bring up the topic with their client due to fear of rejection. Knowing this, Hernandez implemented a buddy plan, where she accompanies her agents in their initial interview with clients and assists in explaining how the client benefits by having their own exclusive real estate professional representing them. Managing brokers must not become complacent; they should always be open to tweaking their systems for the better of their agents. The extra effort and willingness to assist their Realtors in any way possible goes a long way in developing the trust needed to operate a sustainable, productive brokerage. “Keeping an open communication avenue with my agents is a way to show them that we’re here for their best interest,” Hernandez says. “Notifying them of any current activities or updates on what’s going on in the local market or their transaction helps us show them that we’re being very transparent and giving them the information they need to make the best decisions possible.” – See more at: http://miamiagentmagazine.com/effective-strategies-managing-brokers/3/#sthash.UflZa5IZ.dpuf