Agents are often told how important their database is, but is the focus on sales databases overshadowing other important connections?
Being part of a large real estate network might provide benefits in brand recognition and training, but it also provides you with opportunities to network and learn from others. REB spoke to three real estate brand heads to find out how you can make the most of your professional network and why your franchise should be encouraging it.
“[The best part of a network is] leadership and support, being a part of a network of like-minded individuals, certainly individuals with a significant amount of experience,” LJ Hooker’s Grant Harrod said, adding that this is especially important for young agents or those working to becoming principal.
Mr Harrod said agents who want to progress or move into a different area of the business should contact their franchise head office and see if they can be paired with someone who can give them a taste of what the job entails.
Barry Plant’s Mike McCarthy thinks agents should steer clear of franchises that encourage competition and secrecy between their franchisees. He believes this can lead to a lack of support that would otherwise see an office or agent achieve better results.
“I think people from outside tend to look just at the franchisor and say, ‘Well, what am I going to get from the franchisor?’ And that’s an important question of course, but it’s also a question of what are you going to get from your peers and the group, and does the group have a culture that supports sharing and learning support?” Mr McCarthy said.
Meanwhile, One Agency’s John Stewart told REB his company has a private communication group with 400 members, allowing them to share problems and suggestions, and ensuring knowledge is easily communicated throughout the offices.
“They get shared intellect and ideas and experience across the group. They’re dealing with like-minded people across Australia and NZ,” Mr Stewart said.
“If they’ve got a question or they’ve got a particular issue or a good marketing idea, they get 400 other brains to consider it and come back with ideas. The shared intellect means each individual can be bigger, faster, more professional and brings with them more experience than they would if they just worked on their own.”
Mr Harrod said there was an emotional side to this network connection. Opening your own office can be a lonely and stressful process, and one that your personal support network may not have much experience in.
“In many respects, [for] most real estate agents who operate as a franchise within a franchise, it’s a very big step and it demands skills and capabilities you probably have never been able to develop as an agent. That’s one of the values of being in a network group ... you’re never alone. There’s always someone you can talk to, there’s always someone who can help you, even if it’s just a shoulder to cry on.”