Bill Rawson, Chairman of the Rawson Property Group, said that the annual visits by his group’s top performing franchisees and estate agents to the National Association of Realtors (NAR) conference in the USA show how “truly successful” estate agents there benefit from three main activities.
“The feedback is always much the same: the Americans share a massive amount of information and initiate an incredible number of deals. They also come away with a whole new list of names of potential partners, colleagues, referees and others, often based countrywide and not simply in their own states.
The general feeling at the NAR conferences each year, said Rawson, is that an agent should be able to increase his network – and his turnover – by 20% as a result of attending the conference.
By contrast, said Rawson, South African agents have a tendency to be secretive, to keep matters close to their chests and to try and do deals entirely by themselves.
“The fact that being open to contacts and deals from those outside your own circle is almost always beneficial is a truth which still eludes many South African estate agents.”
If an agent does network effectively with other agents, said Rawson, he will inevitably end up sharing commissions on joint deals with them. However, as he will probably not have had the business without their assistance, this should always be accepted and a readiness to share commissions is a sure way to broaden your client base.
“Many clients dealing with our group will refer business to those that keep them regularly informed of progress and difficulties, and this willingness to communicate with clients results in the establishment of long-standing relationships that are mutually profitable.”
The majority of US agents, said Rawson, attend at least one training course per month and some have training sessions weekly. These can last for anything from one hour to two or three days – and they almost always bring about a “sharpening” of the agent’s skills and an increase in his professional knowledge.
“Many US courses encourage rigorous self-assessment by the agent of his or her performance, not with a view to being critical but with a view to increasing the agent’s ability. Complacency under these conditions is quite impossible, but, as many US agents have testified, it is self-examination of this kind in relation to accepted criteria that makes them up their standards and be more motivated.”