Waste Not, Want Not: The Revolving Door of Real Estate

As a leader, your greatest assets are your time and your people. You need to make the most of both, say John and Stephanie McCloskey.

WITH 80 PER cent of new entrants to real estate gone within 18 months, it seems that some businesses should just have a revolving door! The old approach of ‘you’ve got a desk, you’ve got a phone, you’ve got a month, you’re on your own’ is still the way in so many agencies across the country.

We ‘try on’ new recruits and genuinely hope that they make it. Replace hoping with a system and look to minimise your waste.
Natural law is not that arbitrary. Survival of the fittest is supplanted by survival of those who band and work together. Therefore, you need to build a cohesive unit as an alternative to making office door adjustments.

Your greatest assets are your time and your people. Get this right and the results will follow.

As a leader you are constantly on the lookout for talent that fits. Have a hiring and selection process in place and stick to the company vision. Instead of trying to ‘sell’ your business so much, have pride, believe in what you have created and let the right people come. Know the character, aptitudes and competencies you are after. As Peter Schulz says, “Hire character; train skill”.

    Have an induction process that works for new recruits.Invest in a schedule of cohesive training, with follow-up coaching and internal training. Have a learning plan and provide opportunities for role-playing common scenarios. It is better to let people make mistakes in the safety of the office rather than out in the field; it also gives stronger recruits a chance to shine. A willingness to learn is a key attribute of a successful agent.Make decisions about your new recruits sooner rather than later; three months is long enough for character to show. Those who can take defeat and learn from it are better than those who shine initially but are floored by a setback. Choose people who are the right fit and then invest your time in coaching them.
    Business today is all about relationships, and your first relationship is with your current staff. There are large costs associated with a high staff turnover: it takes about one and a half times their annual salary to replace a member of staff, not to mention the cost of the lost clients a departing agent may take with them.Encourage your current people to grow from where they are right now. People will only grow to their goals, plus about 10 per cent. Your role as leader is to move them beyond that. Coach them to achieve some minor goals and then bigger ones. Contrary to the current culture of ‘what’s the next new thing?’ promote a Japanese Kaizen model of incremental improvement in your people.
    Time is everything, so help your people invest theirs more wisely. Distractions destroy productivity and advancement. Keep your people focused on dollar productive activities.There is so much wasted time in this business, especially in the sales field. Have your team complete a timesheet for a week like an accountant or solicitor, where every quarter-hour of activity type is recorded against a specific client or task. Help them remove silly habits and silly people from their lives. If your people are using their time wisely, then results will follow.

    To sum up, spend more time on selecting rather than recruiting staff. You’ll need to engage more with today’s younger crop, and remove the weeds from among the older ones. This game isn’t for everyone; move along quickly those who don’t fit in.
    Where possible, reinvigorate an existing career rather than adding a new face. Conspire for your current crop of people’s success and then look to add new and engaging members to the team.

    There’s so much talent on tap at our fingertips, but we need to understand our employees’ motives better. It’s not always obvious, so look deeper.

    There’s an old adage in real estate that we spend time and money looking for new business rather than working with what we already have. It’s just the same with our people; recognise and revitalise those who want to grow internally, seek out or attract new colleagues externally and bring the whole group together under a common cause.

    Cut back your waste or you’ll end up wanting.

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John & Stephanie McCloskey

John and Stephanie McCloskey run Get Real Estate Training to activate engagement and leadership competencies in agents and provide coaching for real estate business owners.