Every year, we look forward to the following year, to consider what trends we might need to factor into our plans in order to grow and succeed.
Most years, there’s a level of unpredictability — that’s just life — but these last few Covid years have delivered more uncertainty than many of us ever remember experiencing previously in real estate.
Regardless of questions about how the pandemic might continue to affect us, we need to plan for a productive 2022, driven by strategies that don’t just get us through next year effectively, but set us up for solid growth into the future.
To help you start your planning, we have identified some of the most notable trends that may impact our industry, and your agency, as we move into 2022.
If you haven’t created a business plan for your business in the past, now is the time! Our article about business planning for real estate is a great way to get started by understanding what every good plan should cover.
For the foreseeable future, technology will likely be first on the list of elements that will impact almost every business, regardless of industry.
The proptech space in Australia, and globally, is changing and growing much more rapidly than it ever has before.
After a fixation on ‘this is how it has always been done’, even change-averse agency directors are starting to explore new platforms and new ways of streamlining processes and increasing productivity.
In 2022, prepare to make business decisions based on data, track customer journeys more accurately and prioritise communication and sales efforts using your CRM.
Look forward to better integration between the many different platforms you use daily, as partnerships and connection increasingly becomes a theme for tech providers, and get ready for even more automated marketing opportunities that will reduce the time you spend posting, advertising and emailing!
Shifting workforce trends
Part Covid response, part natural evolution, our workforce and what it wants and needs is changing.
After a taste of better balance and the opportunity for more flexibility, workers — including many agents — are looking for more!
Recruiters suggest people are now reassessing their working conditions, their career trajectory and altering their plans. In a field that is traditionally 24/7, with many agents on call at any time of the day, it is safe to assume that agents will be among the ranks of those considering a change towards better conditions.
As a director or office manager looking to keep those top performers, plan to offer more flexibility for all agents, not just parents, and to set KPIs that continue to motivate real delivery, while equally allowing for real life.
Looking out for the environment
As the consumer landscape shifts and we see a younger generation become first time buyers and sellers, we also start to experience customers who are more environmentally conscious than ever before.
Increasingly, Gen Y and younger consumers, are selecting their brand of choice based not just on price, service and performance, but also on sustainability. Brands that laugh in the face of environmental welfare can not only lose ground, but can even risk being ‘cancelled’ (yes, we hate the word and the concept too).
While this may not have as big of an impact on real estate immediately as it does on other industries, it will become much more important to customers — and the environment — over time.
Looking forward, think about potential environmental issues like your car fleet, and what that might need to look like in years to come.
The changing law
While, as agents, we are no strangers to changes in how our industry is regulated, these updates and amendments can still have a big impact on how we operate.
With an election approaching, post-Covid measures may affect our industry, financial and loan restrictions could influence both buyers and sellers, and of course, negative gearing will be back on the table and up for discussion.
Relationships not transactions
This point is one many of us have been aware of for some time, and yet the message is just not getting through to some existing agents and isn’t being impressed enough upon new agents.
What consumers look for in an agent is changing. Yes, performance is still a big factor — they still want the best price or rent for their property — but the importance of more genuine connection is becoming a major consideration for those selecting services.
Consumers are no longer looking for a ‘wham bam thank you ma’am’ approach to service. They don’t want to feel like a transaction, like part of a process purely designed to make you money.
These days, consumers are seeking relationships. They want to trust you, feel like you are honest and open with them and genuinely have their best interest at heart, now and down the track.
While no one wants to be spammed, agents who maintain that relationship – who check in with past customers because they are genuinely interested, and take the time to know their clients – are most likely to win repeat business.
And in a time when listings can be difficult to come by, repeat business is gold!
When planning for next year and beyond, plan to invest more in your communication — it doesn’t even need to take much time or effort. Use your CRM to automate check ins and set reminders to make a call.
Think about simple things, like a regular hand-written card or a pop by when you’re literally in the neighborhood.
Upskill with purpose
Overall, what the above points to is we all need to keep learning in order to keep succeeding.
CPD points are great because they cover our compliance and legislation needs, in addition to a few other simple categories, but truly effective agents will seek to know more — and need to expand their knowledge far beyond real estate.
Single day or online courses in business planning, data analysis, brand and marketing, technology will be the difference between an agency or agent that does well and one that knocks it out of the park.
The time for being a follower is long gone. As agents, we need to be focused on more than sales — we need to also be perpetually curious, and explore what new tools and methods are out there that can make our jobs easier, faster and more effective.
In general, with lockdowns hopefully now behind us, 2022 promises to be a really exciting year — perhaps the most exciting in a while.
A robust and well-thought out plan can have a big impact on just how effectively you take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way.