Author: Lindsay Miller, Co-CEO, d’aprile properties
The office meeting. What’s the first word that comes to mind — essential? Educational? Dreaded? All of the above? Office meetings are indeed an essential element of our industry, and when done well, are quite educational for brokers. Executing them, however, can be a dreaded activity for the Managing Broker.
Many Managing Brokers agree that they struggle with meeting attendance and/or disengaged attendees. They struggle to come up with relatable meeting content, as well as finding new and efficient ways of ensuring that brokers are aware of the meetings in the first place. If this resonates with you, it may be time to formulate an entirely new meeting strategy.
Let’s focus on three critical components that, once mastered, will relieve meeting trepidation for good: content, consistency and communication.
The meeting’s topic and content matter. Meetings should be well planned, timely and overall positive in nature. If the vibe of the meeting is awkward or uncertain, your attendance and participation are sure to falter. Meetings should always remain upbeat and positive. They should take place in an open and honest environment, where ideas and best practices flow naturally and are shared and discussed amongst everyone in attendance. Collaboration is key: it naturally brings questions and concerns to the surface that would make great content for follow up discussions or even future meetings.
Another important step when determining meeting content is to evaluate the needs of your brokers. Knowledge gaps exist across the board, but vary based on agent demographics, such as tenure, transaction type, experience with technology, etc. This practice will help identify topics to target and ensure that your meetings will add value to the brokers’ business. Here are some additional tips to help identify solid content:
- Ask the brokers directly to provide suggestions.
- Stay connected to the associations. They help the managing broker stay current on industry events and will likely provide additional topics for team meetings. Follow them on social media in order to get information quickly and easily.
- Network with other Managing Brokers and share ideas — there’s no need to reinvent the wheel!
Weekly meetings are highly recommended. Office meetings offer an excellent opportunity for your brokers to come in to the office, engage with their peers and actively work on real estate transactions. Brokers are constantly being pulled in several directions and need to adhere to the changing schedules of clients, other brokers, appraisers, etc. There are many reasons to host regular meetings, but perhaps the most critical is this: it creates a consistent schedule in an inconsistent industry.
The goal is for brokers to prioritize their attendance at office meetings, so focus on hosting them on the same day, at the same time, consistently. This allows brokers to book appointments around the meeting schedule, without ever wondering whether a meeting will take place. Managing Brokers can begin by determining the frequency of meetings that will work best for their particular office. Regardless of whether meetings are held weekly, monthly or quarterly, there are a few things to consider when scheduling for consistency:
- Know what day your market hosts broker opens, as well as any other competing obligations, and avoid scheduling during that time.
- Unless there is a major national holiday, avoid canceling your meeting. Even one cancellation will cause meeting credibility issues — especially if the brokers have already planned around the meeting time.
- Once a day/time is selected, do your best to stick to it without change for at least six months to a year. Change, no matter how slight, will cause confusion for the brokers.
Meetings with the best content and held on a consistent basis will still have low attendance if the Managing Broker does not routinely communicate and promote them to the group. Just as brokers need to regularly market to their network, Managing Brokers should consistently market their meetings to the office.
Internal communication is often overlooked and underestimated. Human instinct is to communicate through the channel of your preference; however, all brokers deliver and receive information differently. That is why it is essential to advertise the meeting across multiple channels, in an attempt to reach as many brokers as possible. Using some typical real estate marketing practices will do the trick:
- Email your office a few days before the meeting, and again the morning of. Include the time of your meeting, as well as the topic. It may sound silly, but photos or other visual aids will help draw attention to the communication.
- Internal messaging — chat functions, chatter, or social media outlets — are great options for meeting reminders.
- Pick up the phone and use a meeting reminder as an opportunity to connect directly with your team.
Putting new practices into place will feel challenging until it becomes the norm. This applies to the Managing Broker working hard to put consistent meetings in place, as well as the brokers who are attempting to get used to a new meeting schedule.
Coming up with meaningful content and getting the word out is critical to success, but it’s also time-intensive. Even if the brokers do not show up right away, stick with your process. Continue focusing on content, consistency and communication for at least six months before you adjust your practice. Brokers will respond positively to the consistent meeting schedule over time, and the positives of meaningful meetings will far outweigh the commitment to planning them.