It’s hard being a broker. Giving agents a monthly pep-talk about bringing in money and getting rich will only take you so far. You will need to provide tools, advice and research that will help your agents succeed in this difficult economy.
1) Clearly define roles – Some agents may assume the broker’s job is to bring in new leads, this is not true. A broker’s job is to bring in new, productive agents and turn-around listings as fast as possible. The role of generating leads, following up, and turning prospects into clients belongs to the agent. Be sure all your agents understand this clearly. You’ll be shocked at how many are waiting for others to bring them leads!
2) Lay off the cold call routine – Are you guilty of screaming “cold call!” down the halls? I bet you are! Cold calling is just one of many ways agents can bring in leads. It should be treated as an available tool, and not the “one sales activity to rule them all”. If you’re having issues with certain agents, have them download the 8 Essential Marketing Tips. It has a ton of advice on how to bring in leads without picking up the phone. Are you still set on cold calls? At least offer affordable options to make your agents cold calling experience easier. More on bringing cold calling to the 21st Century. You may be surprised at how many more agents will be willing to cold call with the help from technology!
3) Keep things fair. Agent versus broker mentality often begins when a certain agent or team is perceived as receiving preferential treatment. Don’t constantly provide huge 12’x12’ signs to one team and give window stickers to everyone else. You should have a defined budget set accordingly to a percentage of potential revenue (often it’s 5% of Broker’s Cut) or a fixed range. Stick to it and don’t stray unless an agent has a good reason. I knew an agent who was leasing a 1,500 SF office and received a 120 acre master plan deal from that same client. Sometimes even the non-profitable ventures end with big money, so keep an open mind.
4) Deal with “greener on the other side” syndrome. Some people want nothing more than to come in every day and spread poison. “CBRE provided more of this and that. This company is cheap!” When you’re a smaller firm you simply can’t provide the equipment and man-power the big guys provide. However, those big firms also take more out of the agent’s check and take longer to pay. Remind these folks that you’d gladly provide all those things if they would be willing to pay a higher Broker’s Cut and delay payment for 60 days. That will make most for them shut-up. You may have to fire the agent that wants to watch the place burn – I guarantee everyone’s uncomfortable around this person anyway.
5) Handling the under-performing agents. Achiever to Under achiever: Usually a simple heart-to-heart will give you insights on why this person is struggling. Personal issues such as divorce, family issues, addiction or illness are the most likely causes of sudden job performance woes. If they were a model employee until a personal disaster, give them patience and kindness (even if he’s acting like a jerk). This is when an agent needs people the most, but often pushes them away. When his mind becomes clearer, he’ll thank you for your patience. Never Achieved Success: Everyone’s had a new agent who promises huge numbers and delivers little. Try to get to the bottom of what’s wrong. Usually this is due to playing on the Internet all day and not doing any actual work. Be sure this person has clear goals such as, “Make $X or you’re not profitable to the company”. Even giving a simple number to shoot for is enough for most agents. However, if an agent refuses to do any marketing or sales activities you’ll need to consider the prospect that this person has no business in sales. More on giving agents clear goals.