The next wave of agents looks familiar, but …
Brokerage leaders expect agents to be more tech-savvy than ever before, bringing new skills that enhance traditional approaches to buying and selling homes.
- Customer-centricity and the ability to listen with understanding is vitally important.
- Agents may not need a desk, but they still want to be connected with their brokerage or team.
- Bridging to additional services like vacation properties can be a powerful tool for client retention.
That next wave of agents making their way into the industry looks familiar: skewing female, in her mid-50s with some college education. But these new agents are bringing new skills.
They'll be more savvy when it comes to adopting new technology. They'll evolve and become more diverse.But they also will need to focus on some traditional skills to stand out, said Bo Menkiti of KW Capital Properties. He spoke during a panel on agent success during the three-day T3 Sixty Leadership Summit last week. (Note: T3 Sixty and Real Estate News share a founder, Stefan Swanepoel.)
"I think the next generation wants agents that are going to be increasingly customer-centric," Menkiti said. "The ability to listen and understand the customers needs to be at a high premium. And, increasingly, the ability to have technology fluency is affecting the agent base."
Brokers are hearing some certain needs loud and clear, with one of the biggest involving technology.Agents are clearly tired of changing platforms and systems, something Stacie Staub of West + Main Homes hears when she's hiring agents from other companies.
"One of the pain lines that I always hear is 'they're forcing me to use their CRM' or 'they keep switching platforms.' Like please stop doing that," Staub said, addressing those coming to listen that were representing brokerages. "Of course technology's going to change but sign up with a platform that's going to evolve and grow with your brokerage and your agents."
Another message these brokers are hearing from agents is that an office desk is not needed.
"I would say my agents don't want a desk and they never have," Staub said, adding that what they want is to be connected to the broker and a hybrid office where they can interact.
What it takes to create clients for lifeConnecting with customers, and nurturing those relationships, presents an opportunity for "robust education," said Dennis Degnan of Key Realty. He noted that 71% of people who buy or sell a home talk to only one agent, and it's usually someone they perceive as a friend.
Degnan said his company is encouraging agents to do workshops with established and new referrals, particularly from clients they just finished a transaction with.
"I think growth in our business involves challenging yourself a little bit more," Degnan said.
Improving retention of clients is also something agents should be doing, through the support of the brokerages. Cindy Ariosa of Long & Foster Real Estate said her company has agents co-branded with other services in the business like vacation rentals and home inspections so the clients have a reason to come back after buying or selling a home.
"If other branches of your company can co-work with the agent, you'll have a consumer for life," Ariosa said.