All agents, both newer and experienced, really need to know their markets and return to real estate basics like never before. This may require brokers to conduct sales meetings, seminars, or classes that discuss the current market realities with their agents.
For example, what percentage of your local market sales are made up of bank owned foreclosure properties and/or short sales? What are the current inventory levels and how long are they staying on the market? What is your company's market share and how does it impact your agents on the listing sold side as well as the buyer controlled sale side in your market? Do they truly understand and believe that each and every market provides fabulous opportunities for the agent willing to adapt his/her skills to that market?
We keep hearing the expression, "It's time to get back to the basics". But what does that really mean? Let's start with "knowing the inventory"! How many of our agents really KNOW the inventory in the areas that they work? I would suggest that if an agent is holding an open house in a neighborhood, that he/she should be able to field most questions without having to say, "That's a good question, I'll look that up and get back to you." Hopefully the agent has previewed every possible house in the neighborhood, reviewed all the comparables, knows all the floor plans, and is thoroughly familiar with the history of sales, pendings, and available properties in that neighborhood. Do they now . . . or are they considering the possibility of farming this neighborhood?
Getting back to the basics starts with an exceptional knowledge of the local market conditions and inventory. However, are those agents prospecting the expired (or withdrawn) listings? Do they have a plan for working with the For Sale By Owners in the area? What canvassing and door knocking programs have they initiated and consistently work? What other target marketing activities are a part of their regular routine? How do all of these activities tie back to an overall business plan? How are the activities and results being tracked by the agent and by the responsible manager?
In my opinion much of this is lacking in the current market! Too many agents are looking to their brokers for leads rather than learning how to generate their own leads! The past couple of years has tested the commitment and perserverance of many good agents. That's why "getting back to the basics" is critical! This is the only way to develop the skills necessary to be top producers in this market. But those skills must be further developed into permanent habits that will sustain the agent in good and bad times. Prospecting and target marketing offer agents those multiple streams of income, realizing that some activities generate better results than others at any given time. However, agents with great habits continue those activities that produce long-term results as well as that are good for the short term triumphs.
Success is derived from a balace of experience and training; the more experience one has - the more training that will be required. For those that are struggling now - training is essential, now! There are a number of very good training program available to supplement in-house training. However, I place a premium on any program that develops lasting habits and not just skill sets.
Perhaps it's time to help our agents "learn how to fish" rather than depending on the broker to do the fishing for them. Otherwise, they will be "Just Hangin' In There" and perhaps tomorrow's attrition statistic!