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This past year has seen its share of volatility in the housing market. Many agents and brokers are experiencing the squeeze. But you are not alone. The housing market is seeing a boom in demand. Buyers are very active, driving up home prices and causing homes to sell quickly in competitive market conditions. With low inventory of homes and high demand, what’s an agent or broker to do?

In times of duress, the answer to weathering any market is a lot closer to home than you think—and you can do something about it today. As the adage goes, “Preparedness breeds confidence, and confidence breeds success.” By looking ahead, agents and brokers can focus on a defensive strategy to tackle the upcoming year. For agents to better navigate their bottom line, the answer lies in a mixture of organization and retention, preparation and motivation, and last, but certainly not least, tools and systems that will benefit agents and brokers through cutting-edge education.

For brokers, here are the four best practices that you need in order to prep your agents for success:

1. Business Development and Planning
Every new agent needs business development and planning skills. By focusing on building better systems and habits, a career path becomes much clearer. Investing the time now to learn and grow will set new agents up for success down the road.

2. Marketing
In the digital age, marketing takes on many forms. New agents need to adapt—social media has replaced many of the traditional forms. Furthering their exposure online and developing a brand presence allows agents to reach popular and untapped markets.

3. Leads, Referrals, Listings, Prospecting/Sphere of Influence
Real estate is a relationship business. The majority of real estate transactions come from repeat clients and referrals. Every agent must learn to collaborate with other new agents and interface with clients around the country, enhancing their referral network. Good client management and service will never go out of style.

4. Negotiations
Negotiations don’t have to be tense or overwhelming. Agents that master negotiating will be prepared to respond in any situation thrown at them. Mastering this skill gives new agents the tools they need to approach with confidence.

In order to meet new agents where they are, the Residential Real Estate Council, a national leader in business resources for residential real estate agents, will host an all-new, 12-week course called Agent PLAN (Professionalism, Leadership, Achievement and Networking). The course focuses exclusively on the essential role new agents have on broker owner’s business. Designed with the on-the-go agent in mind, the program allows flexible learning on the agent’s own time, covering the four broker best practices that every new agent needs.

Join Broker Solutions and Residential Real Estate Council for Agent PLAN starting on April 8.  Prepare broker/owners and their new agents to start learning and start earning. Visit crs.com/broker-solutions for more information and to sign up.