Best of the Best

As the owners of most businesses, regardless of size or industry, the staff members that you employ, train, manage, and retain are easily some of the most valuable assets that you have. This is certainly the case in the real estate industry where companies are represented out in the field by their sales agents – with the quality and dedication of such personnel determining the ongoing listings and revenue that organisations are able to achieve. Charles Tarbey, Chairman and Owner, Century 21 Australia discusses how to ensure the best are representing your brand.

For property companies operating in the current market environment, it is now more important than ever to arm your business with the most proficient agents possible. In order to achieve this, it is essential for principals to understand that when it comes to the recruitment process, good people will usually be scrutinising your organisation just as much as they themselves are being interviewed. Office culture, benefits and incentives will play a large part in helping the potential candidate to determine whether they are interested in working within a company and assist them when comparing multiple offers of employment. There are several pertinent areas which I feel are most worthy of consideration for real estate principals when it comes to considering how capable their agency is of attracting the best agents.

Consider the focus of your training programs
The offer of ongoing training and development programs to enable agents to upskill is certainly not a new concept. However, real estate organisations could do well to consider the focus of their programs and how they relate to current market conditions and emerging trends in residential property.
For example, with a good deal of buyers and investors increasingly concerned about their personal ability to afford properties of interest, many are starting to consider the various methods of purchasing that could be possible for them, such as buying jointly with several parties or even using the equity in a Self Managed Super Fund to help finance an investment property.
Are the real estate agents in your organisation equipped to deal with such enquiries? Training your personnel to a point where they are able to provide support and guidance to clients around such emerging concepts will likely benefit your business not just in the retention and attraction of clients, but also in enhancing your offering to potential agents.

Access to technology that makes selling easier
At the end of the day, an agent’s success is determined in large part by how many properties they can take on as listings and the sales prices they are able to achieve through effective marketing. The more support that an organisation can provide behind the scenes to assist agents in this endeavour, the more attractive they will be to high-quality agents seeking new employment opportunities.

To this end, the systems and procedures that an organisation has in place to capture and cleanse data is incredibly important – the more data an agent has access to the greater their ability to market properties to relevant parties and achieve sales success. Yet when taking the contact details of prospective clients at, for example, an open home, many agents will be rushed for time and forget to record certain information such as an email address. If an agency invests in making this process easier and less time-consuming for their agents, giving them more scope to get on with what they enjoy and do well, selling real estate, they will be able to significantly enhance their offering and ability to draw new agents.

Rewards and recognition programs
How does your business acknowledge the impressive performance of your real estate agents? It could be argued that challenging markets present one of the most important times to recognise high-quality staff, not just to congratulate the individual agent on a job well done but also to demonstrate to other members of your team and wider network that impressive sales results can be achieved by talented agents no matter what the market environment.

Such recognition is also important in the positioning of your real estate organisation to an external audience, particularly in the recruitment of talented new sales agents. Such programs show potential team members what they might be capable of achieving if they are to join you and help to demonstrate how generously you reward those who attain remarkable results.

Corporate social responsibility
For many agents, attraction to a real estate organisation is not just about financial incentives or the promise of recognition, it also comes down to the role that company plays within its community and what it gives back. Put simply, many individuals wish to be a part of something positive, and this often starts at work where a great deal of time is spent. Corporate social responsibility may therefore be an important focus for real estate companies who would like to attract agents of a higher calibre, particularly those coming straight from tertiary education.
There are some fantastic examples of companies that give back to their communities and offer their staff members the chance to become involved in such efforts. In doing so, these organisations give employees a reason to be proud to work where they do, and position themselves to draw in potential staff members who are interested in being involved with a company that does more.

Staffing is one of the most important considerations for all businesses operating in Australia today. And in the competitive industry that is real estate, no longer do many agencies have the luxury of simply selecting the best agents available to come and work for them. Rather, a company’s offering and culture is integral for attracting the high-quality real estate practitioners that will ultimately ensure an organisation’s success.

By focusing on factors such as the types of training offered, systems and technologies in place, programs to recognise achievements and corporate social responsibility initiatives, real estate organisations will be much better positioned to enhance their appeal to prospective real estate agents, ultimately drawing in the best of the best.

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Charles Tarbey

Charles Tarbey is the Chairman and Owner of Century 21 Australia, one of the country's largest and most diverse property groups.