Brokers need to lead by example, new Inman contributor Valeria Grunbaum writes. Walk the talk, and don’t buy into the fear and uncertainty of these post-settlement times.

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One of the main changes in the National Association of Realtor’s (NAR’s) proposed settlement is to delete the cooperating broker commission field from the MLS, meaning that conversations about buyer agent compensation (if any from the seller side) will happen outside the MLS. This significant change didn’t sit well within the Realtor community.

Changes create uncertainty in most people, which leads to fear and chaos. Brokers need to lead by example, walk the talk, and not buy into the fear and uncertainty of these times. This is the time to motivate, innovate, and create value because your agents look up to you and will follow your lead.  

For the past three months, I have been working with the brokers and agents in our training and mentoring program to implement new processes and ideas to keep production growing during these times and, most importantly, to move away from a “problem mindset” toward an “opportunity mindset” by helping them to be proactive, innovative and prepared for what we knew was coming sooner or later.

Here are some of the areas where we are focusing the most that I believe will make a difference with your team.

1. Brokers must step into their leadership role and lead by example

What I mean by this is that brokers need to pay special attention to their and their team members’ mindsets. If the broker focuses on the negative and shows fear, it will spread negativity and fear. If the broker talks out of creativity and motivation, it will open the space and motivate agents to bring possible solutions to the table. 

2. This is the time to intentionally train both listing and buyer agents 

The main skills that I believe agents will need the most are sales, marketing and negotiation skills. For listing agents, marketing and sales will be critical because they will need to go back to basics in many ways to promote their properties.

For buyer agents facing the reality that they need a buyer agreement, definitely having sales and negotiation skills will put them ahead of the competition. I believe that agents lacking these main three skills will have a hard time converting sales and will soon leave the industry. 

3. Tell your agents to communicate with their colleagues 

For years, the MLS was the main tool for searching for properties, coordinating showings and submitting offers. Sometimes, the buyer’s agent and listing agent didn’t even have a phone conversation until the offer was submitted, or even accepted, but now, agents will need to grab the phone and talk to each other from the get-go. Now more than ever, communication skills are one of the critical areas to improve and develop to avoid or minimize conflict.

4. Diversify your clientele 

Those who know me know that I am biased on this one. While I was doing real estate, 99 percent of my buyers were international buyers. If I had to start all over again, I would focus on that. International buyers represent a significant portion of the market in many U.S. cities, and the great news is that they are used to paying commissions on their purchases in their countries.

5. Buyer agreements are a must from now on

If you go to any service provider, from any industry, they won’t start working until there is a contract/agreement of service signed. The truth is that most real estate agents didn’t care much about the buyer agreement, either because the listing agent already negotiated the commission for the buyer agent or due to fear of rejection.

Many buyers are not loyal; they like to shop around and buy from whoever finds the property for them. Agents must learn how to present their value proposition to the buyer and educate them on the benefits of buyer representation. 

Here again, one advantage of working with international clients is that, in my experience, they are more loyal and, in most cases, open to signing a buyer agreement.  

Brokers who are proactive, flexible, have the right mindset, and focus on training and preparing their agents for what is coming will stay ahead of the game.

Exciting times are coming. Changes bring opportunities, and I can’t wait to see so many of you become the leaders of this new era in the real estate industry.

Valeria Grunbaum is an author, trainer and coach and the founder of The International Real Estate Academy and The International Business Academy. Connect with her on Instagram and LinkedIn.

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