As many Power Brokers know, closing the fourth quarter strong is vital in order to prepare for a strong start in 2015. In a recent webinar titled, “Finish the Year Strong, Start the New Year Even Stronger,” hosted by RISMedia President & CEO John Featherston and sponsored by Bank of America Home Loans, some of the industry’s leading brokers weighed in on how they’re keeping their firms invigorated and productive while preparing for what will eventually drive their business in January and beyond.
Building and maintaining momentum remains one of the top priorities for the webinar’s esteemed panelists, which included Dan Forsman, president & CEO of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Georgia Properties, Metro Atlanta; Jeff Sposito, president and founder of J. Rockcliff Realtors, Danville, Calif.; Sandra Sanders, founder and broker/owner of RE/MAX Estate Properties, Palos Verdes, Calif.; and Paul Wells, broker/owner, RE/MAX of Barrington, Ill.
After introductions from Bank of America Home Loans Senior Vice President, Alliance Strategy and Business Development Executive, Robert Brown, and top producer, consultant and moderator Terri Murphy, Forsman spoke of the benefits of re-branding to the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices brand, which has significantly helped his recruiting efforts across the board.
Throughout the year, Forsman gained a net of 167 agents, which is anticipated to hit 200 by the end of the year. BHHS Georgia Properties established their “SURGE campaign” in order to generate new leads and “surge” to a big finish for 2014. As part of the campaign, the company implemented a new tool on their website—an AVM estimating tool—in addition to creating manageable daily tasks for agents to pick up on. Agents were challenged to send and share the company’s e-campaign, send texts or selfie videos, send postcards via email or print, use Facebook sharing or ad boosting, and establish a routine for calls and pop-bys with clients. With a practical five-day schedule of tasks, agents created lots of activity and conversation with new leads and current clients.
“The hardest thing to do with agents is keep them engaged in the fourth quarter,” said Forsman. “Agents sometimes quit working, but we wanted to finish strong and carry some momentum into January. They all did their activities and were richly rewarded with leads that they otherwise wouldn’t have had.”
Sposito set out to break the cycle of having dismal first quarters, therefore, J. Rockcliff Realtors started stressing the importance of business planning for the following year as early as October. To help foster the notion of early planning, the company created “New Year’s in October,” a banquet held at a hotel ballroom, where agents could come to hear motivational speakers and were encouraged to create 15-month business plans.
“Our typical agents did their business planning between Christmas and New Year’s, so any benefit from that wouldn’t show up until spring. We had to change the mindset of the agent,” said Sposito.
“Agents are looking to us to lead,” said Wells. “One of the ways we’re leading is by listening to the ground and finding out what they need.”
RE/MAX of Barrington sets out to lead by example, keeping in contact with agents via email, phone or through special events. Being big fans of coaching, the company utilizes everybody involved, while making the managers look like the innovators and initiators of the process.
“If we can help team leaders look great to their team members, their teams explode,” said Wells.
The company is also very heavy on the use of technology, having been one of the first companies to pick up a 3D camera. The best part? Agents only need to ask for what they need—staff is on hand to assist and produce videos and other tech-related output so that agents can focus on the one thing that’s most important to their business: selling homes.
“A lot of companies stagnate because they’re afraid to make a mistake. I only learn when I do something wrong,” said Wells. “I’m trying to enable our people to have the ability to make mistakes so we can grow. It’s having an impact as to where we’re going right now. I take the responsibility for what goes wrong, but I give them absolute credit for what goes right.”
For Sandra Sanders and RE/MAX Estate Properties, training is key to their approach, but caring and respecting their agents really takes them the distance.
“Sometimes the new people we’ve recruited will come up to me and say, ‘You have so many tools and benefits we can’t believe it, but what’s most impressive is that you’re caring and really respect us.’ That’s our theme and our culture,” she said.
Thanks to the RE/MAX brand, the company attracts a plethora of national motivators to help coach agents one-on-one. They also have an in-house attorney who answers phone calls and emails, a green room for agents to utilize video, and constant training for agents to advance their technical abilities.
“We encourage our people to always be truthful and kind. That’s the only thing we insist they do,” she said.
The company plans to conquer the Beverly Hills/Hollywood area moving forward, and hired an independent consultant to help give them a more luxurious facelift on their signs and website. Despite these aesthetic changes, they haven’t lost sight of the prize: “We never lose our focus—to keep our agents happy, trained and productive.”
To view this webinar in full, visit RISMedia’s blog, Housecall.