A few weeks ago I attended the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Sales Convention. If you’ve ever been to a franchise conference, like Keller Williams Family Reunion or RE/MAX R4, you know there’s a lot of selling. Franchises trying to convince you this is the right company to partner with. Vendors trying to market their product. Brokers trying to do a little recruiting.
I’m going to do the opposite. I’m going to share a few things I learned (since I help orient BoomTown’s product better for real estate professionals) and I’d love to hear your thoughts/comments on them.
Oftentimes, people work in a bubble. But sharing ideas and what we’ve learned can sometimes lead us to an unknown path to success. Here we go …
1. Knowledge & Wisdom > Data & Information
What’s the value of a real estate agent? This is a loaded question. Obviously, here, real estate professionals know they are extremely valuable to the real estate process. But, do consumers? Do home buyers think they are getting a good value for the service you provide today?
I think this question has been growing in debate across the country. With companies like Opendoor and Zillow, they’ve certainly changed how people find agents and homes for sale. Obviously, this isn’t the first time people have questioned whether or not they need an agent. When real estate websites grew in popularity, there was a similar war-cry.
But it brings up a good point. If a homebuyer asks you “How’s the market?” and your response is “It’s great. It’s a good time to buy.” then you aren’t providing much value. Consumers can already look online and find housing data. They can see what properties are worth, what they sold for, and what activity the market is seeing.
Your job is to build on the data they’re seeing. Instead of acting like a facilitator, you need to act like an advisor. Show them what you know from experience, how things will play out, etc. People appreciate wisdom over data. It positions you as the expert.
It’s the reason Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices has taken “Good to know” as their tagline. When an agent is consulting a client, they should be providing knowledge that is … good to know. This creates value.
2. Forget Recruiting & Retention. Select and Develop Agents, Instead.
Sounds like wordplay, right? Recruiting an agent and selecting an agent are nearly the same. So, what’s the difference? Mindset.
Everyone wants the top producers to join their office, but the method for winning those champion agents should be examined. Recruiting is a term designed for the military, for conscripting soldiers. You train them and give them orders. But really, you want to build a team that continues to improve performance.
Brokers and team leaders all take the same approach to hiring a new agent. They start the conversation with “What did you earn last year?” or “How many listings did you have last year?” or some variant. In your mind (the recruiter’s mind), you’re ready to offer them more. More money. More leads. More listings.
But this is the wrong approach.
You’re going into the conversation trying to sell them on joining your office/team. Instead, you should be selecting them. Asking them “how much they made last year” puts the person on the defensive. They get protective.
Here’s an alternative way to run the conversation -- one that’s designed to create a positive mindset:
[You] Do you still have an open mind about your real estate career?
[You] What percentage of your income do you attribute to your company versus you?
[Agent] I’d say 5-10%.
[You] With all due respect, if you only attribute 5% of your income to your company, then why do you stay with them?
[Agent] Well, I like my boss. He’s nice.
[You] What’s more important to you? Your happiness with your manager or the potential to earn more income?
[Agent] Earning more income.
[You] Then give me a ballpark. What would you like to see yourself earn in 12 months?
[Agent] Around $200,000.
[You] Would you settle for $190,000?
[Agent] Yeah, I think so.
[You] Why? If you want to earn $200k, then why are you not devoted to earning that? Why would you settle for less?
[Agent] Their response will vary.
[You] Do you think you need to leave a company to earn this?
[You] Look, if you’re committed to earning $200,000, then I want to show you something. Here’s a quick look at one of my team members in the area who is making $150,000. I’ve worked with him to build a strategic plan to get him to that number. I’m willing to do the same for you, if you ever decide you want to work for a company that supports your goals. Give it some thought and let me know what you decide.
End conversation. Leave your contact info.
This framework addresses why they are staying with their current company. It makes them think “why am I staying?” versus you trying to sell them. It also creates a more positive mindset versus a defensive one. You don’t have to sell. Instead, you win them over.
Overall, as a manager, your job is to build a strategic plan to help the agent get the salary they want. If you want top producers to join your office and stay with you, then they must come first everyday. Now, you’re selecting the agents you want and you’re developing their skillset -- while improving your business.
These are just a few things I learned and thought about during the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Sales Convention. If you have any thoughts or questions, let me know in the comments section below.