Real estate is a commission-driven world, and that means agents need to fight to be on top – but new technology is making that more challenging. That’s because, recently, an increasing number of real estate agents have found themselves competing against new, tech-driven brokerage models. Startups like Redfin and REX charge users low listing and commission rates, while others like Purple Brick charge a flat listing fee for home posts. These changes are pushing commissions down and leaving agents scrambling to catch up.
If they’re going to keep pace with new markets, real estate agents need a few things: a knowledge of marketing and communications, persistence, and support and reinforcement from agency leadership. There are still plenty of opportunities for real estate agents looking for big sales, but they’ll need to push harder if they hope to match previous years’ commissions.
Communication Is Key
One of the prime complaints homeowners’ have about the sale process is that there are a lot of uncertainties. As co-founder of real estate startup Offerpad, Jerry Coleman, notes, their system is “all about providing the customer a seamless experience and a much faster close.” It’s real estate designed for people who shop at Amazon and stream their movies – tech-savvy homeowners. But traditional agents can close this convenience gap by enhancing their communication strategies.
Just as technology is changing how we list and sell houses, it’s also changing how clients expect to communicate. Agents need to use new modes of communication, whether that’s traditional formats like text messages and emails or specialty client portals like RealSavvy to stay in touch with homeowners. Whatever approach agents take, the important part is that agents are communicating regularly and with clarity so that clients are engaged throughout the entire sales process. Better communication leads to more property closings – and faster, higher value ones, too.
Measure And Motivate
Like many people in commission-based industries, real estate agents tend to be competitive – and managers and supervisors should put that character trait to work. By measuring agent performance using a range of metrics and also creating a strong team culture, agents can be pushed to engage more frequently with clients, schedule more showings, and market their services more aggressively. They’re motivated to do better, as a team and individually.
In addition to measuring individual and team performance and pushing everyone to improve, quarter by quarter, supervisors need to make a point of recognizing outstanding agents. There are multiple ways to do this, and office awards should give all members something to aim for; supervisors might award not only top performers, but also recognize when every agent reaches certain sales or commissions numbers. It’s important to spread the motivation and recognition around to see results.
Profit Through Persistence
Finally, when agents see their customers being snapped up by competing services, it’s easy to get discouraged – and this can drag performance down. Rather than slowing down, though, agents need to respond to this by doubling-down on their efforts and becoming more persistent. That means they need to take on every opportunity presented and not make advance assumptions. It’s easy to look at a home or an email and say, “this is too much trouble” or decide it’s not worth the time and effort, but you can’t make the sale if you don’t answer that email or chase down buyers.
In order to succeed in the face of startup competition, real estate agents need to be internally motivated and persistent, but they also need corporate support to meet their goals in the form of tools and incentives. Though technology will inherently play a larger role in real estate over the next several years, agents can meet those innovations with grit and grace – two traits no computer will ever master.