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real_estate_landscapeThe Power Broker Roundtable is brought to you by the National Association of Realtors® and Steve A. Brown, NAR’s Liaison for Large Residential Firms Relations. Watch for this column each month, where we address broker issues, concerns and milestones.

Steve A. Brown
, Liaison for Large Residential Firms Relations, NAR

Vinnie Tracey
, President,
Denver, Colo.
Bill Soffel,
CEO/Broker, ERA Team VP Real Estate, Chautauqua, N.Y.
Mark Stark,
CEO/Broker, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Nevada Properties,
Las Vegas, Nev.

Steve A. Brown: I don’t know that there’s ever been a time when it was more exciting—or more challenging—to be successful in the real estate industry. There’s no question that technology, mobility and global reach have made our business increasingly innovative. At the same time, everybody wants to make the deal, and in an age when consumers are more market savvy and independent than ever before, it’s the agents who are best at selling their value who become the high achievers. So what do we as brokers need to do in today’s recovering market to ensure profitability?

Vinnie Tracey: We’re telling our brokers that a traditional environment has returned. It’s good for them to go back to the basics and focus on recruiting, retention and providing great value to their agents. Because agent count drives profitability, recruiting is the most dollar-productive thing they can do. And it needs to be a daily activity. Agents want either more time or more money (and sometimes both). Whichever they prefer, you have to show them how they’ll get it at your office—and then, after they’ve joined, help them make it happen. Retention is just as important, and it’s about closing the back door, re-recruiting your agents constantly and helping everyone achieve their goals.

Bill Soffel: Buyers and sellers are regaining confidence, and there’s a lot of pent-up demand. As a result, we’re seeing a lot of activity, especially in our high-end resort communities. But there’s still a shortage of inventory, at least in our local markets. We’re advising our agents to get back into the neighborhoods where homes are selling and list, list, list. Then get into the adjacent neighborhoods and list some more.

Mark Stark: In our market, there’s no shortage of inventory, but listings have always been and always will be the key to building your business. Also, short sales are not as common as in the past. We’re talking today to sellers with equity. They’re looking to get the best price for their homes, and they care very much how you plan to market their property. Good listing presentations and innovative marketing plans are absolutely crucial to profitability.

SAB: If we’re moving back to basics, focusing on listings and recruiting, what else would you put into that category as a means to growing your business today?

BS: For agents, it’s time to reach deep down into your database. Reconnect with your sphere of influence. Knock on doors if you haven’t done that for a while. Redouble your efforts to get referrals and leads.

VT: For brokers and agents alike, it’s also time to watch expenses. Be accountable to your partners or coaches, and be open to new, strategic partnerships that can minimize costs and help increase productivity.

MS: Steve opened this talk with a reference to selling your value. Building a skill set in some aspect of the business can be a powerful—and profitable—differentiator. What can you offer above and beyond what the customer can find online? What’s unique about your marketing plan? Do you guarantee your response times? Do you know the local neighborhoods better than anyone?

SAB: Good point. That’s one of the reasons NAR recently launched its “Real People” national consumer advertising campaign. It’s designed to show consumers the value of having impeccably accurate information—and why now, more than ever, working with a REALTOR® is essential to consumers who want to realize their real estate goals.

BS: Now is the time to connect with buyers and sellers…up close and personal, not just with accurate information, but with customized services they can’t find online.

VT: That’s correct. No excuses. No diversions. Just get the work done. If you can connect with people and provide great value, you’ve positioned yourself for success.

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