Commentary by Scott Einbinder
RISMEDIA, May 19, 2008-Having read the 2008 Power Broker Report, I’d like to thank RISMedia for putting together such an informative document. Like all good resources, there are things to learn and apply from what we have read. Within the pages of this report rests a very important characteristic of our industry. This characteristic is what I believe is a core problem within our honored profession. This core, as I will share, represents a long-standing philosophy that is catching up with far too many members of the real estate family.
This characteristic can be found on Page 124 of the 2008 Power Broker Report in Real Estate magazine’s April issue. This graph shows much more than a statistic, it shows a philosophy and a belief system. The answers in What Matters Most; Key Issues for Power Brokers speak volumes about one’s true mission statement. What struck me was that Recruiting and Retention ranks as the top issue for most brokers. However, less than 3% of the respondents thought Connecting with Consumers mattered the most. In addition, it only mattered most to 7% of the brokers that Training Agents was crucial. Does this response sadden you? Does this result mean we care little about our clients’ connection to us and the skills of our agents, yet recruiting people and keeping them in the office is the # 1 issue? The # 2-ranked issue that mattered the most was our Profitability. Are people the path to profits? Or does the path to profits depend on efficiency, skill and happy customers?
Over these past challenging months, I have spoken to managers who feel the intense pressure to “recruit.” In an environment where agents are leaving the business, the need to fill those desks are intense. As a trainer I meet agents from all walks of life who “sell real estate” and have hopes and dreams to make a lot of money. However, I find myself saying all too often “what was management thinking when they hired this person?” I know what they were thinking-“you never know who will make money in this business, so bring them on.” Why do they retain unproductive veterans, I ask “Well, they do a few deals a year” is the answer I hear often.
This philosophy is at the root of many of today’s brokers’ concerns and real life business issues. What business can thrive when Customer Connection and Trained Agents lag at the bottom of a company’s priorities? Too many firms feel the cost of quality training is expensive. However, what is the cost of an unsold listing? What is the cost to service an overpriced listing? What is the cost of advertisements that are designed to keep sellers happy rather than sell the property? What is the cost to managers spending countless hours with agents who are not trained well as they burn through buyers? What is the cost of untrained agents who blow through lead opportunities when sitting on the up desk and have no real idea what “sales” is all about? What is the cost of writing contracts on properties that may be designated in a Declining Market Areas and an agent who is untrained to negotiate an alternative?
When I read that Connecting to Customers was even less of a concern than Training, I ask; is this the philosophy of your company? Are you really operating your business in an authentic and transparent manner with the consumer needs and wants up front? Brokers whom I work with that are thriving in this market, place their consumers first and their own high quality sales training second. They understand that the experience of selling or buying a home must take on a significant level of convenience and tremendous value for the public. Nothing is more important than real customers and clients. They call them clients, not leads. They create transactions not deals. They don’t drip on people with marketing campaigns, they build relationships. They see high quality training as an investment not as a burden to keep a credential. They don’ recruit, they interview. They don’t retain, they keep their people accountable. These are the brokers that are not complaining about their profitability because they have it. Let the 2009 Power Broker Report reveal and finally place those who really pay our bills at the top of the graph! Brands don’t smile, people do.
Scott Einbinder is a nationally acclaimed sales trainer, speaker and consultant specifically to the real estate industry. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org