In building my business, I’ve taken a different approach to recruitment than many of my competitors. Rather than simply hire agents with many years industry experience, I’ve focused on finding people with the best skills in areas such as sales and marketing, irrespective of their background. As a result my team’s employment history is incredibly diverse and their skillsets range from technology sales through to PR and media. This approach is backed by a recent University of Phoenix study into the future of work, which found “what makes a group truly intelligent and innovative is the combination of different ages, skills, disciplines, and working and thinking styles that members bring to the table”.
The main reason I’ve employed this strategy is the fast changing nature of business. Real estate is no different and our industry needs to evolve and adapt, particularly the role of the agent. I’ve read recently some articles that focus on what an agent might look like in 2020. A lot of the articles focus on skillsets that an agent will need to start developing. I take their point, however I think the rise of a new style of agent, the ‘iAgent’, has already begun and we don’t have until 2020 to prepare for it. Here’s the skillsets I look for in today’s iAgent:
Our industry has only just started to embrace technology but whether the old guard like it or not, it’s already here. I’ve written in previous posts about how technology has changed my business: We want to be at the forefront of technology, not reacting to it later. Our clients are demanding better ways to sell their property and technology is a key enabler here. However, the big change that I don’t think most agencies have foreseen is the changing nature of our employees. The young agents we hire over the next few years will already be tech-literate, digital natives who’ll expect a workplace that supports their work-style. Millennials won’t wait for an agency to catch up to their needs, they’ll simply move on. If you want to be hiring the best talent you need to be ready to engage and attract Millennials.
Being a great sales person alone is not enough anymore. The good agents today are “all-rounders”; they have skills in sales, marketing, and contract negotiation as well as being great with numbers. The new style of iAgent needs to be able to understand broader business issues, key industry themes and how they’ll impact the real estate market.
Global, not just local knowledge
I’ve written before about the global nature of our market. The iAgent needs to understand the larger global economic environment and how it will impact our market. For example, how will an economic slowdown in South East Asian countries impact our local market and how quickly will the effects be seen in property sales here?
Our faster paced world means that the iAgent needs to be quick to adapt and always prepared for change. Whether it is legislation (e.g. underquoting), technology (e.g. 3D online open houses), economic (e.g. cooling property market) or market driven (e.g. more competition for jobs) the new iAgent needs to be comfortable with constant change. Other industries have seen this as the norm for over 10 years, and real estate has been a little slower at noticing this shift. Look at how technology is disrupting all kinds of industries and roles. The new iAgent won’t be, they will buy into change quickly and make the most of any new opportunity.
But they still need to be able to sell…
Of course, you will still need to have core-selling skills that we look for in any sales person. You’ll need to have integrity, be self-motivated and above all, be passionate about providing exceptional customer service.
By following these principles I’ve been able to build a team capable of adapting to the changing business landscape. I want Team Curran to be forward-looking, innovative agency, leading the charge in the industry. I want to challenge the traditional way of doing things when I think we can do better and I want my team to do the same. So my agents will all be new style iAgents – will yours?