What we’re tackling in this post:
- What are some of the loudest , most detrimental distractions targeting real estate agents?
- How do those distractions affect agent success?
- How do brokers and leaders help agents to avoid distractions?
Despite a roller-coaster market of varying DOM and inventory levels, managers can agree that June and July are the fastest-paced months of business. When your team is operating at all-out redline speed, consistency in customer experience and time efficiency are at the forefront of every manager’s mind. Unfortunately, agents easily fall prey to distractions, and they may not meet that promise to their clients. Distractions can pull even your most tenured agents away from high-value tasks, which is why it is imperative for management to be aware and be prepared for the loudest of distractions.
Now, perhaps because I was raised in Kentucky, the first appropriate metaphor that comes to mind is to make sure your horse is wearing blinders (or blinkers as many in the equine industry say). Remove the distractions from your champion’s view and he or she will be more focused on the ultimate goal. Racehorses won’t see the crowds of people, the gaining competition, or shiny objects on the sidelines – and the same can be true for your agents. Understanding the distractions and how they negatively affect your agents’ productivity allows you to provide valuable service and support for your team.
“I work with real estate agents with varied backgrounds, and varied businesses, in various parts of the country. But here’s what I can tell you most of them have in common: a problem managing distractions.”
– Daniel Lones, Real Estate Coach from The Lones Group, LLC in her article: Is it Time to Take a Distraction Diet?
The 5 Loudest Distractions for Real Estate Agents
Distraction: Tool Fatigue
Agents experience Tool Fatigue daily due to overwhelming technology requirements. Too many passwords to remember, too many new tools or changes, continuous upheaval to the brokerage workflow, not enough education, not enough information — it’s enough to make even the most successful agents feel lost. Paradoxically, the tech that was supposed to help agents often ends up leaving them more frustrated.
If your agents are asking questions like,
- “Which tool do I use?”
- “How do I find it and login?”
- “Why should I use this tool or even do this process?”
then they are probably suffering from the distraction of Tool Fatigue.
Eliminate Tool Fatigue by turning your tech-stack into a tech-system. Invest in technologies that augment the normal workflow of your brokerage, that integrate existing systems to reduce multiple logins, and that reduce the need to repeat data entry. A successful electrician doesn’t need every tool from the hardware store, just the best ones for the specific job at hand.
“As a real estate agent and agent trainer, I have seen how the information overload can kill a business in this industry. Without functional systems in place, agents lose clients, get bad reviews or simply never reach their full potential because other agents and firms will find their own ways to leave competition in the dust.”
– Collin McDowel, Forbes Real Estate Council
Distraction: Bright Shiny Objects
Bright Shiny Object Syndrome affects your more tech-savvy agent population. They can be quick to jump on the newest tools and end up paying too much attention to the what instead of the why. The root of this distraction though is that, for one reason or another, your agent doesn’t see the service you provide as effective. They’ve gone out to solve a problem on their own instead of trusting the solution you provide. This can be dangerous as it creates the impetus for an agent to think about changing brokerages.
Whenever you implement a new service or tool for your brokerage, put plenty of horsepower behind your education and communication plans. Build up a group of agents as ambassadors for the new technology to increase adoption across the board – even your more rogue agents. Prove to your agents that this solution is the best for their success with clear examples.
Here’s where these loud distractions can begin to compound. Agents that feel overwhelmed or under-supported begin to start looking for greener pastures. The last two years have shown widespread low inventory coupled with NAR’s largest agent population in history, resulting in agents that are more motivated to follow a brokerage that holds the competitive edge.
If you haven’t taken a step back to really sharpen your brand’s unique value position, to define your brand’s specific dedications, now is the time to get your house in order. Be clear and repetitive when communicating the unique value your brokerage provides to agents. Use multiple communication methods (email, meetings, swag) and bite-sized, frequent anecdotes. You want to build brand love among your agent community, strengthening the emotional bond to ensure retention when new competitors enter your market. Constantly re-evaluate what you are able to offer your agents, and how you can continue to increase your service and support.
Distraction: Lead Buying
Despite the systems and services brokerages implement to empower their agents, there will always be technologies that market directly to real estate agents. Sometimes, these products are marketed as silver-bullets, promising to practically hand them new business with no extra work. For greener agents, your yearlings, this lead-buying solutions seem like the holy-grail to jump-starting their business. However, tenured real estate experts know that this business has always found sustainable success from relationships – not cold-calling.
Your role as manager is to be a marketing coach/guide for your agents. Promote the best practices of your best agents across the company, and encourage your agents to focus on activities that build up relationships rather than just buying leads.
From an episode of REAL with MoxiWorks podcast, Real Estate philosopher Matthew Ferrara brings to light an interesting idea of misinformation in our industry. “There is a weird disconnect between what agents think they want, versus what we know the need,” Ferrara claims. He goes on to describe the peril of lead-buying programs targetting agents and successfully convincing them to invest time and money into working cold leads. Historically, success in real estate has typically come from an agent’s own sphere of contacts and referrals – not cold lead buying. Ferrara encourages brokers to make sure that they continuously communicate value and stragegy with their agents so that they don’t become distracted and ask for things that won’t lead to real business.
“I believe the online lead frenzy is peaking, and take some consolation from that. The next wave of real estate tech will be focused on helping good agents win business the old fashioned way – referrals, farming, relationships, networking, loyalty – more intelligently and, I hope, more humanely.”
– Brian Boero, Partner, 1000Watt
Distraction: Time Management
Do you see your agents spending too much of their day on low-value tasks: creating marketing materials, buyer information, seller information, reinventing the wheel when it comes to resources for their clients or marketing to their sphere? When there are so many pieces in a puzzle, it can be easy to become fixated on just a small portion rather than the image at large. The loudest distraction for some agents? Multiple distractions screaming at once.
“But, like millions of gathering snowflakes, the accumulation of little things can too easily result in an avalanche that ultimately overwhelms your day.” – Adam Contos, CEO RE/MAX, RISMedia article
Take a look at some of the repetitive tasks your agents face on a daily / weekly / or transactional basis. Are there any of these processes that you could simplify or automate? What low-value tasks like data entry, marketing material creation, or scheduling can you solve for you agent? Consider technologies that integrate, simplify, and automate tasks so that you can give your agents back that time, and allow them to focus on their high-value tasks.
- Tool Fatigue? Serve.
- Shiny Objects? Educate.
- Competition? Communicate.
- Lead-gen? Guide.
- Time Management? Automate.
Disrupters, distractions, competition — these are all foes that successful entrepreneurs face. It’s how you rise above them that can define your brand and strengthen retention/recruitment rates.
June Laves, Marketing Manager at Imprev, Inc
Before joining the creative minds at Imprev, June worked as the marketing specialist for a top performing independent brokerage helping over 200 agents grow their business.