Joan Allen is a co-owner of Windermere Stellar and cochair of the Windermere Foundation. As co-owner of Windermere Stellar, Joan provides overall strategies for management, marketing, and company direction. Joan works with multiple nonprofits in the region as cochair of the local Windermere Foundation, which supports charitable organizations that assist low-income children and families. She also serves on the board of directors for New Avenues for Youth, Bridge Meadows, and Providence Portland Medical Center, and is an advisory board member for Girls Inc.
5 Tips for Helping Agents in the Spring Market
It’s important for managing brokers to support their agents and alleviate some of the stress a feverish market can bring. Here are five ways to set your salespeople up for success this season.
March 26, 2015
Spring is here, so buckle your real estate belts; it’s a fast and furious ride.
With the winter doldrums mostly behind us and the economy on an upswing, people are increasingly eager to make a move. In many markets, well-priced homes are being gobbled up as fast as agents can download the new listings. Amid stiff competition and multiple offers, it’s easy for agents and their clients to experience serious stress.
So what can we do as managers to help our agents come up for air when they’re drowning in a sea of fast-paced activity? I sent out a plea to Windermere Stellar’s managers to help me provide tips for getting through this fast-paced time.
Here are our top five tips:
1. Have Your Agents’ Backs. The increase in competitive transactions means our managers are spending more time helping agents navigate their deals. Managers must be available, offering a safe haven for their agents as they navigate through transaction challenges. Not only are listening skills very important but consistent coaching and support are also essential. Good managers must play many important roles for their agents: adviser, coach, cheerleader, psychiatrist, sounding board, and problem solver.
2. Learn to Pause. In the Internet age, consumers are used to getting what they want — immediately — and agents have been obliging. On top of that, changes in the loan industry and appraisal practices, as well as multiple offer situations and evolving sale agreements, are putting more-complex demands on agents than ever before. Salespeople can experience stress and sometimes a sense of panic. Yes, at times we have to work in crisis-management mode, but your agents can offer better answers and advice to their clients if they pause to create thoughtful strategies. As leaders, we must model calmness in order to help control the frenzy instead of becoming part of it.
3. Cultivate Future Business. The current demands of the day can consume 100 percent of your agents’ time and energy. They need to be protected against a potential drop in future business after the spring buying season recedes. It requires discipline to continue prospecting during busy times. Agents should implement automated marketing systems so that they’re staying consistent without taking attention away from their current clients.
“It’s at times like these that we cannot afford the luxury of letting up on our pursuit of the future,” says John Gregory, managing broker at Windermere Stellar’s Portland-Raleigh Hills office. “The light at the end of the tunnel may grow dim if we think we are too busy to promote tomorrow’s business.”
This year, our company has shifted more agent support responsibilities to staff. This has freed up time for agents to focus on high value activities, such as going over paperwork with current clients in person to create satisfied customers, and attending networking events to build future business momentum.
4. Communicate Proactively. Consistent communication reduces not only clients’ stress but also agents’ stress during this tumultuous season. Encourage agents to reach out to clients with regular updates before their clients reach out to them for progress reports. Not only is this better customer service, it’s also more efficient and can help lower tension levels.
5. Set Clear Expectations. Managers must remind agents to educate and qualify both sellers and buyers so they have a clear understanding of what to expect before they jump into the market. Agents need to make sure they are working with sellers who are motivated to sell and have rational market expectations. Buyers should be financially qualified, understand hot market dynamics, and be prepared to act fast and commit some loyalty to the agent.
Being an agent in this age of fast-paced information and evolving marketplaces is not easy. It is our job as managers to provide the kind of support that will allow them to excel amid tight regulations and fierce competition. If you can offer some of the care that is outlined in these tips, your agents and their clients will be lucky to have you in their corner.