The Jan/Feb 2016 issue of the Austin REALTOR® is out now! Here's part of our cover story. Read the full version here.
Do you have a solid starting point for a business plan, but looking to change it up from last year? Let’s breathe some new life into it. From budgets and goals, to start resourcing and client relations, there are always areas for improvement. Consider adding these goals to your business plan, based on your experience.
1. Develop your skills (and your agents’ skills). We know that to maintain your license, TREC requires REALTORS® to take continuing education courses. But, why do just the minimum? This year, make it a point to develop your team’s skills beyond what’s required. Try your hand at a new designation or certification. Check out the social NAR Designations and Certifications list at bit.ly/NARlist to see the vast options available—each one will give you a new field of expertise to better serve clients. Need to refresh your business planning skills? See what we have available at the ABoR Academy.
2. Use the ABoR member tools and services for business management. Do you have too much technology at your disposal and don’t know what’s useful? We can help you sift through what’s available, so you can use only what you need for your business. If you haven’t already, check out the ACTRIS dashboard when you access the MLS. ABoR partners with several software vendors and smartphone apps to make broker management easier. Most of these tools are free to use just for being a member!
Brokers 2-6 Years in Business
1. Re-engage agents through planning meetings. For your business: Get your agents re-energized for the year ahead. Set up a planning meeting for the brokerage, review the past year’s performance, and talk through the business’ goals for the upcoming year. This meeting will allow agents to understand the bigger picture when they set up their own goals for the year. For your agents: Schedule individual goal planning meetings with each agent. These meetings will focus on individual performance, reviewing strengths, personal goals, and development opportunities. Most importantly, make these meetings action-oriented. Nothing is more discouraging than setting up goals without any recommended actions on how to achieve them. Help agents develop a clear path forward for the year. Agents will walk away feeling positive and productive.
2. Retain top talent at onboarding. The onboarding recruitment process is critical for any brokerage looking to not only hire the right talent, but to also retain that talent. Have the tools and processes for new agents to perform well from the beginning. Here are a few elements to consider having in place during onboarding: Documented training on systems, processes, and policies, so agents know the lay of the land. Performance metrics and standards, so agents know what success looks like. Communication expectations: set up routine group and individual meetings and discuss the best method of internal communication (email, Skype, etc.).
New Brokers (<1 Year)
1. Build your brand. 92% of consumers read reviews to judge a business and 40% form an opinion just by reading 1-3 reviews. Putting yourself out there, whether it’s showing your bio on LinkedIn, including personal interests on your website, or asking for reviews on Yelp, helps consumers learn about you and your business. Personal branding creates a web presence that allows you to be found and builds connections with your clients and consumers. Go a step further: Set up your agent profile at realtor.com® if you haven’t already. The agent profile allows you to publish a bio with your accomplishments and expertise and is a great space for your clients to leave reviews. Your story, your work, and your successes are all in one place, and easily found by search engines and shared on social media.
2. Expand tech solutions for your business. You might already be syndicating your listings and posting properties to social media, but there’s much more you can start doing online this year to expand your marketing efforts, and, overall, make life easier for your business.
Email - If you don’t already have a devoted email marketing tool, start considering it this year. We’ve heard great things about Constant Contact, Hubspot, and MailChimp, just to name a few. Purchase a tool that provides various email template options, and most importantly, builds contact lists and produces reports for tracking email analytics.
Blogging - There’s nothing that buyers and sellers desire more than fresh and relevant information about their desired neighborhood—and there’s no one better to deliver this information than you! Purchase a domain from GoDaddy and site template from WordPress to start your blog and post regularly about the market and news that interests buyers and sellers. You can share blogs on social media and include them in your emails to clients. Just keep in mind that to get people reading your blog, you need to commit to it. Depending on your resources and size of your brokerage, you could have a team of bloggers post every day. But if you’re a smaller boutique firm, posting 2-3x a week is more reasonable, and can still be effective.
Mobile - Mobile is old news, right? We just want to emphasize how many great new apps are out there to help your business with productivity. You can access data, manage client interactions, and pull up listing info and marketing materials on the fly—even while at an open house.
As an ABoR member and MLS subscriber, you have access to apps like MLS-Touch, RPR®, and Realist Mobile App for free! Learn more about these apps by accessing them on your ACTRIS dashboard or browsing the list at bit.ly/MLSbonus.