Generally speaking, weekly sales meetings were the norm in the archetypal 1990’s real estate office. These meetings typically consisted of some sort of information sharing and often ended with a tour of newly listed properties. Soon these meetings stretched out to biweekly. In some cases they just became new listing tours. Then biweekly became monthly. Office tours became MLS tours. Now, these meetings exist as quarterly, if not semi-annual or annual occasions. Busy independent contractors were just not interested in attending the weekly meeting.
Company leadership should take the blame for the demise of the sales meeting. Why would agents continue to show up for meetings that were typically unorganized and uninformative? The office manager was unprepared and ill equipped to offer value in exchange for the time invested by the agent to attend.
We are in a business culture over saturated with meetings, so I’m not advocating for the weekly sales meeting. But in its day, it was at the very least, an effective way for an office manager to see a good portion of their agents on a regular basis.
The demise of the meeting raises an interesting dilemma. How do you build culture and atmosphere with people integral to the company who rarely appear in the same place, at the same time for events built to cultivate culture and synergy? With everyone doing their own thing, how do you foster interaction and build rapport with your agents?
Regardless of the type of business model you choose, next generation real estate brokerages will have to face and solve this challenge. To begin, it might be helpful to understand what the agents in your company expect, want and would find most meaningful to their businesses. It will be important to focus on harnessing the strengths of every agent in your company and not trying to make your relationship with your agents fit into a one size fits all box. But lastly, it will be critical to find ways to engage your agents to contribute to your brand in new ways, using new tools born out of the social networking paradigm to create and instill a sense of placement within what might be considered your particular corporate social environment.
A mixture of online interaction utilizing social media, wikis, chat, email communication, video conferencing, WebEx, and office blogs may all serve to replace the physical get togethers that are fast becoming part of our past. Granted, in person meetings still reign supreme and should play a growing role in the sales meeting of the future. But I submit that these new ways might do wonders in helping create a culture that could inevitably look forward to the in-person meetings.
The next generation office manager will absolutely need to adopt the right mixture of communication and social interaction vehicles to extend the sense of company value back to their agents. Without this, they will not have an effective way of building culture and environment in their company. This leadership or lack thereof will separate the success stories from the failures.