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Our Most Important Clients: Helping Our Agents Grow Their Business

Feb 10, 2019 by

This month’s National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) Power Broker Roundtable discusses the agent experience. 

Moderator

Jim Imhoff, Chairman, First Weber, Madison, Wis., Liaison for Large Firms & Industry Relations, National Association of REALTORS® (NAR)

Panelists

Chris Kelly, CEO, Ebby Halliday REALTORS®, Dallas, Texas

 

Christy Budnick, President/CEO, Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Florida Network Realty, Jacksonville, Fla.

 

Kim Bakey, CEO, Iowa Realty, HomeServices of Iowa, Des Moines, Iowa

 

Jim Imhoff: In a discussion with brokers last month, we zeroed in on the need to define our value proposition, and what doing so means to the success of our companies, our brands, and our most important clients: our agents.

This month, we thought we’d take that a step further. What, in this age of keen competition and shiny new business models, can we do—as part of our evolving value proposition—to ensure that we have the best educated, most technically prepared, most professional agents on the block?

Our panelists are innovative and experienced leaders with their fingers on the pulse of the industry. What’s changing, Chris, and how can we respond?

Chris Kelly: What’s changed for me is that I once saw the brokerage—and the brand—as an umbrella under which the agent works. Today, I see them as a foundation for the agent—a base upon which every agent can grow in his or her own unique way, whether as an individual or as part of a team. Our job as brokers is to provide the tools and support every agent needs to build their own successful brand, because if we do it right—and this is something that has never changed—their success is also ours.

Christy Budnick: I hear you, Chris. There are a lot of different business models out there, some of them high-split, but little or no support. We take pride in the support we provide, and in defining ourselves as a Ninja company. We are focused on building relationships, listening to the customer, and helping both our agents and their clients achieve their goals.

Kim Bakey: As an agent-centric company, we have to know—even anticipate—what our agents need, whether it’s more education, one-on-one coaching, specialized technology, or maybe just getting them out from under all the paperwork so they can be out there doing what they do best.

JI: For busy agents, getting away from the paperwork can increase production dramatically.

CK: It’s one of the reasons agents develop teams, with admin to do the paperwork for them.

CB: It’s very helpful to relieve agents of paperwork, but it’s just as important, as the support team behind them, to help them excel at building relationships. That’s a chore we take off their shoulders with an automated program called AutoFlow that literally does their marketing for them. Once the agent signs up for it, we reach out to everyone in their database three times a month with e-cards, newsletters, even coupons to the local venues we partner with, all branded to the agent. These pieces go out automatically, keeping the agent top of mind with their clients.  

JI: Do agents actually see tangible results from it?

CB: We’re finding that the agents who use it are as much as 50 percent more productive than those who don’t—and it’s a way to be sure we’ll never hear people say, “I would have used my agent again if I could only have remembered her name.” 

KB: Another advantage: the one-stop shopping model. Having brokerage, mortgage, insurance, title and settlement services integrated throughout our operation provides an efficient, streamlined experience for consumers and agents. It’s a key value proposition that’s been a part of our culture since our earliest days of operation in the 1950s. It is so much a part of our fiber now that we sometimes take its value for granted.

JI: Like technical and social media proficiency, and the ability to work remotely, that may indeed be a solid underpinning of our value proposition as brokers—and of the value we bring to helping our agents distinguish themselves from the competition.

CK: Also, in this digital world, we see enormous value in maintaining a dynamic office environment. We encourage our agents to be part of this—to surround themselves with top producers, who are their best, most supportive role models. The best producers know the pie is not finite. They are generous in sharing their time and knowledge.

JI: Often, too, sharing, mentoring and a spirit of camaraderie go hand in hand with giving back, as a unified team, to the communities where we do business. People like to do business with people who give back, and it’s one more way we can perpetuate success and ensure that our brand remains viable well into the next generation.

KB: I think the question for all of us, brokers and agents both, is, ‘How can I be better?’ It’s a question we must always be asking—and that means taking a deeper look into every aspect of our business.

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RPR® Delivers a Competitive Edge for Agents and Brokers

Feb 2, 2019 by

Realtors Property Resource® (RPR) makes hundreds of thousands of real estate professionals more productive by giving them easy access to extensive data available on properties across the U.S.

The RPR® database tracks records on more than 150 million parcels, including past sales, tax and deed records, foreclosure and pre-foreclosure info, mortgage and lien data, local school information, neighborhood trends, and even voting records.

Since its inception, REALTORS® have had access to RPR®, which is available at narrpr.com, free of charge. On-the-go real estate professionals find the desktop and mobile functionality (which are automatically synced) to be user-friendly and intuitive. And, most importantly, agents can easily create colorful, client-friendly reports that can be printed, emailed, texted or shared on social media. Clients are informed and impressed by agent-created Property Reports, Seller’s Reports, Market Activity Reports, School Reports, and more.

In the last year, RPR® has continued to make positive additions and enhancements to the platform and the mobile app, which helps REALTORS® solve the demands they are challenged with every day.

A new RPR® mobile-only feature makes it easy to create Buyer Tour Reports that can be shared in an instant with clients and prospects. Simple in nature, but comprehensive all the same, the new report enables agents to select properties, determine the order in which to tour them and then create a colorful, client-friendly report to share with buyers.

RPR®’s map search has also recently been enhanced, now incorporating such features as drive time and distance search, traffic flow counts, school attendance zones, and parcel overlays.

Brokerage Brands—Front and Center
As a broker/owner, consider customizing RPR® and the reports your agents create with your company’s distinctive brand. It’s all part of RPR®’s Broker Tool Set.

Branding the RPR® Website, Mobile app and Reports with your company’s logo is an important way to reinforce your brokerage’s value proposition, whether you own or manage a franchise affiliate or an independent office.

Broker/owners can also leverage the RPR® data tool to compile stats across multiple MLSs for a truer picture of your company’s performance. For multi-office brokerages, brokers can compare sales among company offices and against the local market as a whole.

Additionally, through the Broker Tool Set, display an automated valuation model (AVM) on your brokerage website or company intranet. It’s simple to set up and built to load quickly.

Choose to promote your preferred affiliated services, such as mortgage, title, home warranty or other specialized services, in the reports generated by your agents.

Getting You and Your Team Up to Speed With RPR®
To help you and your agents get up to speed on the vast trove of data and tools available for your business, RPR® has assembled on-demand learning resources at blog.narrpr.com/workshops.

In addition, RPR® recently launched an on-demand, seven-part course that’s easy to incorporate into your sales meetings. Each video runs less than 10 minutes and includes a corresponding handout. You’ll find this new resource at blog.narrpr.com/sales-meeting.

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When the Market Slows, the Best Agents Shine

Dec 25, 2018 by

Over the past few months, I’ve been on the road meeting and talking with RE/MAX brokers and managers during a series of fall retreats across the country.

I always enjoy connecting personally with our business leaders, exchanging ideas and discussing the opportunities and challenges of their individual markets.

Of course, the big topic on everyone’s mind today is the slowing housing market. An industry that’s been heavily favoring sellers for the past several years is now shifting gears.

At its essence, this slowdown represents a rebalancing of the market—and is the result of normal market forces. It’s a return to equilibrium following a years-long run of constantly rising prices.

For many in the industry, a tapering market might cause concern. However, in discussing the situation with RE/MAX brokers and agents, the consensus is clear: The best agents love this type of market.

When markets tighten, the best agents shine. They see opportunity where others see obstacles. They know that when things get complicated, buyers and sellers need an expert to cut through the noise and advocate on their behalf.

Keep Calm and Sell On
Macro-industry trends are one thing; the reality of your local area is quite another. Even in slower times, buyers are looking to buy, and sellers are looking to sell in markets across the country.

However, for these same buyers and sellers, the current situation does leave less room for error. Now is not the time to wing it. It’s time to call in the pros.

The skill, know-how and expertise of a professional agent is critical in this environment. Even in the most straightforward transactions, an agent must coordinate countless variables for a successful outcome. In today’s market, the variables are even more variable.

Added to this is the one factor that influences nearly every home sale and purchase (and that no technology can address): the human factor.

Like no other transaction, home-buying and -selling is charged with different emotions, personalities and motivation levels. Beyond contracts, showings, negotiations and meetings, a qualified real estate agent has seen it all when it comes to the people factor.

Being skilled in relationships and working with people is particularly valuable in a slower market, when the stakes and intensity are raised for everyone.

The best agents not only guide buyers and sellers through the mechanics of a transaction, but also through the emotions. They can advise on when to step back, when to step in or when to step out altogether.

Yes, today’s market is rebalancing and, as part of this process, you can expect ebbs and flows and ups and downs. It’s a situation that calls for expertise, knowledge and a steady hand that the best real estate agents provide.

Key Takeaways

  • The current slowdown in real estate represents a rebalancing of the market—and is the result of normal market forces.
  • When markets tighten, the best agents shine. Where others see obstacles, they see opportunity.
  • A tight market can lead to higher emotions among buyers and sellers—and a higher likelihood of issues arising.
  • The best agents not only guide buyers and sellers through the mechanics, but also the emotions of a complicated transaction.

Adam Contos is CEO of RE/MAX, LLC. For more information, please visit www.remax.com.  

For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com.

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