How Brokers, Owners and Team Leaders Can Market-Proof Their Business
By Larry Rideout | Originally published by Banker & Tradesman on September 18, 2022
Major shifts in the real estate market are inevitable, but not always easy to adapt to. Some of the nation’s largest real estate companies are announcing layoffs, and the cutbacks are the latest indication that the housing market is cooling.
But for Gibson Sotheby’s International Realty, this doesn’t paint the full picture of what’s going on. Having seen numerous market shifts over our decades-long tenure, our outlook and approach are grounded in market realities and keeping our powder dry, proven methods that have carried us through many challenges. The market is merely “stabilizing” from its previous frenzied levels – a positive sign, because the red-hot market was neither healthy nor sustainable.
With smart, careful adjustments and a renewed commitment to our goals, our company leaders are uncovering new opportunities and even getting stronger in a more challenging market. We have put together a proactive, battle-tested approach to navigating a shift that has allowed us to flourish when others are closing up shop.
Educate, Be Honest with Your Agents
While the news may be buzzing with news of a buyer’s market, what’s happening in your local market is much more layered and complex. Each hyperlocal market has unique opportunities that are not the same nationwide.
With clients that are more uncertain and hesitant than usual, we equip our agents with every data point so they can help their clients make the best decisions for the future. We never sugarcoat where the market is and how it can impact their property goals. Instead, we enable our agents to focus the conversation around maximizing opportunities that do exist and prepare to grab them as soon as they pop up.
It is also important that a brokerage offer ongoing coaching and training opportunities. Create adoption programs to ensure that your agents are using the technology resources you’ve made available to them. Whatever you do, make sure it provides value.
While doing this, it’s important to double down on your office’s culture. One of the most important factors we considered when building our brokerage was building a culture where our agents feel supported, motivated and able to thrive.
In a shifting market, lead flow is unstable. Focus on creating a culture of service, an environment where agents are able to create more business. Take marketing and administrative tasks off their plate so they can focus on getting those leads. When we remove obstacles for our agents and their clients, only then can we succeed as a firm.
Be Present and Engaged
As leaders, what can we do to create an environment for our agents that’s more conducive to lead generation?
Our leadership team members are all big believers in being physically present as much as possible. Weigh in on what you see is happening in the market and offer daily recommendations on what can be done to adjust to it.
Lastly, don’t forget to keep up the momentum. When other firms are pulling back, use this time as an opportunity to make your business stronger and grow your market share.
In fact, in the midst of the cooldown, Gibson Sotheby’s International Realty continues to seek to hire new staff and expand its market presence through strategic acquisition. And with every recruiting or expansion opportunity, we always assess the ROI of the prospect. Are they bringing in sales that justify their costs? Do they retain clients and make an effort to maintain good relationships? Do the markets they serve feed into those we serve currently? How do they fit into the collaborative culture of our brokerage? Don’t focus on the overall number, but on how much of the business you can do.
Showing that you’re willing to invest in your company as a whole makes agents feel more secure and inspired to invest in their own business.
Larry Rideout is the chairman and co-owner of Gibson Sotheby’s International Realty.