Why do some offices only have a few, not so successful, agents when other offices are full of busy people doing business and celebrating new market shares?
There are of course many answers (one is how they work with numbers in their sales) but what most successful offices have in common is that they are led by great office managers that have the ability to make their colleagues grow and thrive.
What are the specific best practices when it comes to coaching estate agents?
Great management is about making decisions, delegating, building a team etc. There are thousands of great, general, management books out there but what are the specific best practices when it comes to coaching estate agents to success?
Here are five key areas to focus on:
- Make sure the office has the right manager
- Make the Monday meeting the most important hour of the week
- Lead by example – show what’s important
- Make sure you have the information to coach your colleagues
- Free up time for sales
Most agents are not great managers
The career options for estate agents are limited. The obvious path for a successful agent is to become an office manager, buy an office in a franchise chain or even start their own brand. The problem is that being a great agent doesn’t necessarily mean you have the skills to lead other agents, handle the bureaucracy and deal with HR problems.
Is the right person doing the coaching?
We have seen so many examples where this is the case and the result is an under performing office: The once so successful agent doesn’t have time to handle as many listings as before and the agents working for him or her don’t have the manager they deserve and hence don’t deliver as well as they could.
There are two solutions but both demand that the office manager has understood that it actually is he/she that stands in the way of the office becoming successful:
- The obvious solution is to become a great manager. Go on management courses, find a great mentor, learn to enjoy the administration that comes with the management role… This might very well work if the manager is ready to put in the time and really wants to be a manager in reality and not just on a business card.
- Hire an “operative manager”. A person who actually knows how to manage people (and likes it) as well as take care of the paper work. That way, the once so successful agent can rise to the stars once again at the same time seeing the office grow.
Our experience says that it is easier for a great manager to learn the estate agent industry than for an great estate agent to learn the art of management.
The Monday meeting
Something most successful offices have in common is that the office managers hold well structured meetings every Monday morning. A great way to make sure important information is shared.
From a sales perspective, the agenda should include a run through of each agents’ performance last week:
- How many valuation meetings did he/she attend? How did they go?
- How many new listings?
- How many sold objects?
- How many valuation meetings are booked for this week?
- Have the potential sellers in the agent’s database grown?
Taking the time for this is well worth it. It is putting focus on what’s important (sales) and it is adding some peer pressure on the agents to make the numbers and their goals (see more here about how to set goals). But it also invites the agents to share and discuss challenges they have met or new approaches they have found helpful.
Walk the talk
In an estate agent office it is extremely important that the manager shows what’s important, what level of quality the service should have and what standards should be followed. This also applies to the sales work. If you believe that every inbound should be followed up right away – do it. If you believe that every call should be recorded in the CRM – do it. If you believe in punctuality – always come in on time.
Make sure you have the information
Coaching is mainly about helping someone to succeed through asking questions rather than pointing out a direction. It is so much easier to ask the right questions if you have access to information – preferably in real time – about how the agent is doing right now as well as the agents track record. Where in the sales process is the agent’s biggest challenge? Has the agent worked on the things you agreed on? Has the new approach on valuation meetings given effect?
If you have access to information about the agents sales activities you will also be able to much earlier spot negative trends and act on them before you have a problem to deal with.
Free up time
It is obvious that an agent that gets help with routine tasks from support personal can focus more on sales and will perform better. A manager should constantly look for ways to make the agents work more efficiently with the goal to reduce or eliminate the time the agents have to put into anything else other than speaking to possible buyers and sellers.