Running a real estate agency – like any business – comes with its challenges.
As a leader with goals, when these challenges are in the way, they beg to be addressed.
Here are the 10 most common branch manager challenges:
#1. Attracting talent
Recruitment – and attracting good talent, is one of the biggest challenges for real estate agencies world wide. There is often a lot of ‘hope’ involved. Hope of finding the right people. Hope they’ll come across. Hope they work out.
Sadly hope, while natural, is not very strategic. There is an art, and work, involved in becoming an office that attracts talent.
#2. Motivating unmotivated salespeople
Motivation of salespeople – or rather, lack thereof – is the biggest issue we hear about when talking to branch leaders, who are grappling with salespeople who aren’t bringing in listings.
What they misunderstand is that motivation is not actually a ‘thing’. It’s a structural dynamic. An outcome made up of several other things.
Motivation – and how to work with it – is one of the areas we work with a lot in our training branch leaders to become effective people leaders.
Complaining about salespeople motivation – whether it’s done out loud or inside one’s head – or sending them on ‘motivational training’ is an ineffective leadership strategy.
#3. Underperforming salespeople
While many managers across commission sales industries (not just real estate) assume lack of performance is largely a choice connected to lack of motivation, commitment and/or action, in actual fact, lack of performance actually has a number of different causes.
Rather than judging their ineffective team members and assuming cause, effective managers are curious about cause. Understanding the underlying cause of why your team members are underperforming (rather than assuming its lack of motivation or commitment) is key to helping move them to ineffective to effective.
The trick is to not assume that giving them advice – and telling them what to do – will get them there. (It likely won’t). The key is to become a good coach.
#4. Retaining talent
It’s one thing to attract talent. It’s another thing to keep them.
Some of your team will leave you for really reasonable reasons. Others will leave if you don’t do a good enough job to have them stay.
Here’s an article on how to retain your talent.
#5. Dealing with a changing real estate market
When sales are going well, all is hunky dory for branch leaders. When sales begin to decline however, the pressure starts to come on – for branch leaders as well as for their sales team.
Because the skills and personal attributes required in a declining real estate market are different than in a growing real estate market, the impact of this issue naturally trickles down (or up, as it were) to branch leaders to help work through.
In a bull market where listings roll in and out like water, real estate salespeople are often compared to ‘order takers’.
They need less sales skill than when things are tight. And they don’t need the resilience and patience – or the same amount of money in the bank to survive the longer between sales.
In a tightening market, salespeople need to have – or develop – greater resilience to withstand longer ‘days on market’. They also need stronger sales skills, patience and enough capital to invest in ongoing personal marketing in addition to survival.
More experienced managers tend to know how to coach their team members effectively through both ends of the cycle.
#6. Frustrations with head office
Branch leaders often experience frustrations and conflict with head offices and head franchises.
It’s hardly surprising when rules, commission structures, costs, processes, policies and technologies set by head offices must be followed, but create negative impacts on them and/or their salespeople. Especially when they are, or feel, locked into the company and/or when competing brands offers are superior and head offices do not engage effectively with branch leaders.
#7. Workload and risk issues associated with compliance
Compliance management and issue resolution create constant workload for branch leaders. It’s not a fun part of the job, and can affect work/life balance, but for most agencies who operate a decentralised compliance model, it’s a critical part of the job.
#8. Work-life balance and stress management
Work life balance and issues with stress, health and relationships are common issues in real estate leadership. It provides branch leaders the opportunity to work out the hierarchy of their values and find better ways of working to ensure their work/life balance, health and relationships do not suffer.
#9. Issues with internal culture
Leaders who do not focus on their organisational culture can end up with issues that start as office politics or dissatisfaction in the office, and result in retention or legal issues.
#10. Increased competition / changes in competition
While the size of an office’s geographical reach plays a significant roles in the level of competition an office they are likely to experience at any given time, the emergence of savvy new competing models and competitors with attractive offers to consumers, salespeople and new franchise owners and ability to be agile and move with the times, pose a constant threat to existing market shares and labour market resources.
Branch leaders and agencies alike who do not constantly monitor the match of their offers to their markets (to sellers, franchise owners, branch leaders and salespeople) are at risk of significant negative impact from competitors – or of going under completely.
Why Challenge is Natural – and why that’s Okay
The above challenges are natural for branch leaders for two reasons.
Number 1, because learning is challenging. Full stop.
Learning takes having to work with the discomfort of not knowing – of living in the unknown, and working through and learning it, to get good at it.
The second reason, linked to the first, is that most branch leaders and franchise owners don’t start with extensive business leadership or management skills.
Hardly surprising when most are either:
- promoted based on their technical expertise and success as salespeople; or
- they opt for ownership as a next step in their career.
The assumption many mistakenly make is that competency and success as a salesperson will lead to competency and success as a manager.
But for most, it doesn’t work like that, because the skill sets required for effective leadership is very different than the skill set required for sales.
As a result of their career progression, they are not naturally equipped to know how to deal with the challenges. Therefore, learning is required.
One manager described the change from salesperson to branch ownership to me as “jumping from the flames into the fire with a million painful lessons I didn’t know I needed to learn.”
But that’s okay. It’s the learning required for business.
Real estate leadership comes with its challenges. Some are challenges of the day-to-day, others higher-level.
But with commitment to learning – and working through the issues, comes practice and mastery.
The good news is for managers who are prepared to do the learning and develop necessary skills for effective leadership, the likelihood of success in creating meaningful performance increases tremendously.
Sadly for every manager who has those skills, there are ten flailing managers who invest a lot of time and focus observing others – and worrying about their competing managers. While that’s is natural, my encouragement to you if you recognise that tendency in yourself, is to stick to your own lane, develop your skill set and do the work.
It’ll pay off.
How we can help you:
If you would like some help addressing these challenges, there are several ways we can help:
Here at Real Estate Leaders, we work with branch leaders to help them to develop their own skills and the performance and culture of their team.
For more information, email us at email@example.com – or call Jasmine on 021 37 5050.
Talent Attraction Training
For managers wanting help to develop their employment brand, we offer a 4 hour introductory Talent Attraction Workshop to help get you started
Over time, we will be sharing more articles on the challenges of branch leadership. Stay tuned.
In the meantime, come say hi on LinkedIn. It would be lovely to meet you.
Want greater results from your team? Not sure how to get them there?
Book a FREE PERFORMANCE STRATEGY SESSION TODAY where we will…
– Take a good look at your current situation —what’s working and what’s not, so we know what’s going on
– Have a look at where you want to go and find out what’s possible
– Identify the one thing that’s been holding you back from higher performance and greater market share
– Map out a quick three-step action plan to get you started moving in the right direction
You’ll leave clear and confident and excited about taking your business to the next level.
To book your PERFORMANCE STRATEGY SESSION, email firstname.lastname@example.org