Erica Christoffer is the product manager for REALTOR® Magazine, driving growth and helping make data-driven decisions for the editorial products and programs that fall under the publication's umbrella. Erica also co-manages the magazine's 30 Under 30 program. During her tenure as an editor, she wrote and edited hundreds of articles for the magazine and launched the Broker to Broker section. Connect with Erica via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
3 Brokers: How Iron Sharpens Iron
Three experienced industry pros talk about taking time away from the daily grind of running their own brokerages to educate themselves on the latest systems and trends.
July - August
When you look at your calendar, are you prioritizing what’s most important to you? Do you schedule family or personal development time first? Jennifer Archambeault, Philip Becker, and Brian Copeland do. As successful brokerage leaders, they know the importance of work-life balance and time management. Part of what sustains them, they say, is strong connections with other brokers. During a break at the recent REALTOR® Broker Summit in Austin, Texas, they discussed why they attend real estate conferences and how these gatherings help shape their business practices.
Brian: I often get calls from agents who aren’t at my brokerage. They’ll say, "I know you’ll know this." Do I know more than their broker? Maybe, maybe not. But the perception is I know more because I go to quality events in the real estate space. Agents want their broker to have that checkmark.
Philip: As an independent broker, I don’t have a corporate headquarters where people are doing research and development or spending millions of dollars to compete with other big companies that might not be traditional brokerage models. These conferences help me interact with people and see what new tools or systems I might bring home.
Jen: For me, it’s about gaining the right mindset. I get it from the people I’m meeting. Also, because I’m an independent broker, I want to get to know other brokers so when my agents have a referral, I can send them to someone who thinks like me, someone I want to associate with.
Philip: Yes, because we’re not with a franchise, if we weren’t plugged in, then we wouldn’t have that great referral network.
Jen: There are little nuggets that you take away that will deliver something of value to your agents and to yourself. Something will strike me, and I’ll think, "I can convert that into a class or a webinar."
Brian: We all see the slick, fun stuff like marketing and videos. But what about independent contractor agreements and addendums to those agreements? Those boring things are important. When you’re wondering what to put in your ICA regarding social media policies, where else are you going to find that?
Read more in the 3 Brokers Walk Into a Bar series:
Making Time for Connections
Jen: The first NAR event I attended was the 2013 REALTORS® Conference & Expo in San Francisco where I met a whole group of independent brokers from around the country—from Vermont to Kansas. To this day, we get together at every event to talk about our families, our businesses, what’s working, what we’re failing at. We ask one another for help or how we can be of help.
Brian: When you own your own brokerage, it’s lonely at the top. Agents are constantly taking, and we love giving, but where do we get our nutrition? Here!
Philip: You have to be fed so you can continue to feed others. I love the hallway conversations after sessions, chatting with people from different areas. It gets you thinking in a different way.
Jen: I just set up a limited function referral organization. I didn’t know where to start with the agreement, so I reached out to a woman I met from Kansas City, and she sent me hers.
Philip: The CRM that I use came from another independent broker. I’ve learned about direct mail from other brokers. We’re not in the same market. No one thinks of each other as competition.
Brian: You see this next wave of brokers in such a sharing space because they’re coming from a place of abundance as opposed to a place of scarcity.
Managing Time Away
Jen: When I’m at a conference, my agents need to know when I’m not going to answer the phone and why. They have access to a Google Calendar that shows what times I’m available.
Philip: I empower my agents through a secret Facebook group. I also have broker--associates who receive incentives or a higher split so that they’re a resource when I’m not available.
Brian: You have to be able to tell people when you can’t do something. But in exchange, you’re bringing back a gift, knowledge to help them in their business.