Successfully reported this slideshow.
We use your LinkedIn profile and activity data to personalize ads and to show you more relevant ads. You can change your ad preferences anytime.

Best Practices for Realtor Associations 2009


Published on

An updated version of an earlier presentation, based on the NAR Best Practices publication from several years ago. The slide presentation is intended as a basis for a free-flowing discussion of ideas for achieving maximum customer service in five management areas. Prepared for the Coastal Association of Realtors Annual Leadership Conference.

Published in: Business, Technology

Best Practices for Realtor Associations 2009

  1. 1. Best Practices for REALTOR Associations Presented by Judith Lindenau, CAE, RCE JWL Consulting October 2009 JWL Associates
  2. 2. BEST PRACTICES <ul><li> </li></ul>JWL Associates
  3. 3. Report Addresses the Following Critical Association Issues: <ul><li>How REALTOR associations can better serve their members. </li></ul><ul><li>How AEs can achieve desired outcomes for their leadership, staff and themselves. </li></ul><ul><li>How REALTOR associations can remain viable and relevant to their members in a climate of relentless change. </li></ul>JWL Associates
  4. 4. Explores Five Key Aspects of Associations <ul><li>Member Services </li></ul><ul><li>Public Policies </li></ul><ul><li>Leadership and Staff Relations </li></ul><ul><li>Human Resources Management </li></ul><ul><li>Financial Management </li></ul>JWL Associates
  5. 5. REALTOR ASSOCIATION INNOVATION <ul><li>Our Goal: </li></ul>JWL Associates
  6. 6. Lemons to Lemonade <ul><li>It took a once-in-a-lifetime economic decline to expose the deeper flaws in our business models, and create a sense of urgency to identify new forms of value for our stakeholders that will translate into sustainable revenue streams going forward. Jeff de Cagna </li></ul>JWL Associates
  7. 7. Current Real Estate Trends ULI – Price Waterhouse Swanepoel Report JWL Associates
  8. 8. Housing Trends <ul><li>1. Strength in Apartments </li></ul><ul><li>2. OUT: McMansions in the ‘burbs </li></ul><ul><li>3. IN: Infill developments </li></ul><ul><li>4. IN: Green (energy efficient, walkable communities) </li></ul>JWL Associates
  9. 9. Brokerages <ul><li>1. ‘Right sizing’: firing low producers, cutting overhead </li></ul><ul><li>2. Marketing:’ Think like a customer.’ Strategic approach to online marketing. </li></ul><ul><li>3. Engaging consumer more extensively, and over longer time. “Consumer is king.” </li></ul>JWL Associates
  10. 10. International Real Estate <ul><li>1. Focus on coastal global pathway cities </li></ul><ul><li>2. Continued expansion of US brokerages </li></ul><ul><li>3. Non-US brokerages expanding globally </li></ul><ul><li>4. Multi-language IDX and listing networks </li></ul><ul><li>Global transactions </li></ul>JWL Associates
  11. 11. MLS <ul><li>1. Centralized data repositories </li></ul><ul><li>2. MLS walls coming down for consumers and others </li></ul><ul><li>3. Multi-lingual MLS </li></ul><ul><li>4. Secondary Data gaining importance </li></ul><ul><li>5. Anything is possible (in technology: it’s politics that holds us back) </li></ul>JWL Associates
  12. 12. Other Trends <ul><li>1. The “Power of One”—social media, individual as his own business </li></ul><ul><li>2. Need for a comprehensive knowledge base, centralized information </li></ul>JWL Associates
  13. 13. Effect on the Realtor Associations #1 <ul><li>1. Our consumers are “King”. </li></ul><ul><li>2. Our membership criteria are outdated: both geography, and job function </li></ul><ul><li>3. What business functions can we perform cooperatively for members? </li></ul><ul><li>4. Changing demographics of members. </li></ul>JWL Associates
  14. 14. Effect on the Realtor Associations #2 <ul><li>4. What are the sources of income? Amount of diversity in those sources? </li></ul><ul><li>5. Technology strategic plan (education, marketing, networking, and so on) </li></ul><ul><li>6. What is the public component of our associations? </li></ul>JWL Associates
  15. 15. Part One: MEMBER SERVICES <ul><li>The best associations are those that know how to “custom tailor” the services they provide to meet the ever-changing needs of the member. </li></ul>JWL Associates
  16. 16. In Member Services: One Size Doesn’t Fit All <ul><li>One association may have the resources to offer many services; another may need to focus on providing just one or two essential programs to members. </li></ul><ul><li>“ Shared Services” may be used among associations to enhance existing services or offer additional services. </li></ul>JWL Associates
  17. 17. If You Want to Provide and Maintain the Best Possible Member Services, You Must: <ul><li>Know what the important issues are now and in the immediate future and be able to discuss them intelligently with members </li></ul><ul><li>Talk to members about what is happening in their business and be able to explain the bigger picture </li></ul><ul><li>Continually seek input on member wants, don’t just sell current associations services </li></ul>JWL Associates
  18. 18. Watch the Member … <ul><li>Observe members in their work environment-- you will see patterns that you won’t get from polls or surveys (staff visits, Leadership Outreach) </li></ul><ul><li>Respond positively to the style of younger members (interest groups, leadership training, Young Professional Mentor, Reverse Mentor for the Board of Directors) </li></ul><ul><li>Focus on the needs of your high-achieving members, avoid always responding to the lowest common denominator ( put your target market in your planning, and in your strategic plan) </li></ul>JWL Associates
  19. 19. Utilize Member Service Programs … <ul><li>Hold an annual “priority oriented” business planning session and avoid writing open-ended goals </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The Annual Planning session for incoming and outgoing leaders…Plan and Prioritize </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Make sure your members know the “real” cost of every program you offer </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Use Planning Sheets: </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Use your Strategic Plan to drive the association’s programs and services and its budget </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Relate Each Budget Item to the Plan </li></ul></ul><ul><li>If you fail now and then make it a positive learning experience </li></ul><ul><li>Stay away from offering services that do not provide value to the member </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Who Determines this? The Member! </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Always deliver more than you promise </li></ul>JWL Associates
  20. 20. Member Services -- <ul><li>Recognize geographic diversity and be careful about adopting another association’s program. What works in one area, may not work for your association. Real estate is local and so is the real estate business. </li></ul><ul><li>Use technology both to network and to deliver programs. Listserve! Blogs! Members only webs (community building!) </li></ul><ul><li>Continually remind members about the value of the services you offer. Market with logos, slogans, Tweets </li></ul><ul><li>Be able to react quickly to challenges. Don’t wait for meetings, surveys. Don’t build huge barriers to service. </li></ul>JWL Associates
  21. 21. Part Two: PUBLIC POLICY <ul><li>“ You have to Educate Both Members and Consumers” </li></ul>JWL Associates                                                               
  22. 22. “ The Stakes are High and Getting Higher” <ul><li>REALTOR ® associations determined to remain effective are now allocating a significant portion of their resources to “advocacy efforts”. </li></ul><ul><li>Influencing the legislative and regulatory process requires continual development of personal relationships, a commanding knowledge of the issues and strong member backing. </li></ul>JWL Associates
  23. 23. <ul><li>Move beyond RPAC fundraising and press releases to become the “Voice for Real Estate” in your community (Affordable Housing, relief housing, smart growth, international real estate/diversity programs) </li></ul>The Advocacy Goal: Do Important Things with your Organizational Resources! JWL Associates
  24. 24. Key Components of an Advocacy Program: <ul><li>1. Provide public policy orientation to incoming leaders so they understand the nature of legislative relationships. Ask local advocacy groups to partner with you on this: Chamber, Education, others. </li></ul><ul><li>2. Put volunteer leaders in situations visible to legislators, regulators and public officials. Be systematic—make a list of visible places. Then strategize. </li></ul><ul><li>Prepare a “Public Policy Statement” that documents the association’s position on issues. Make sure the members have it, and are informed. </li></ul>JWL Associates
  25. 25. <ul><li>4. Have a dedicated advocate. This could be a volunteer. </li></ul><ul><li>5. If resources are limited, share a GAD. In Michigan, we depend on the state association . </li></ul><ul><li>6. Form partnership and coalitions with other associations. Really important, and some unlikely bedfellows…it depends on issues </li></ul><ul><li>7. Don’t hesitate to think creatively. Be proactive on some issues, like environment and affordable housing. </li></ul><ul><li>8. Build your public support base. Consider a consumer affiliate membership, or newsletter on homeowner concerns. </li></ul>JWL Associates
  26. 26. Keys to Involving Members in Advocacy: <ul><li>1. In all issues, focus on the bottom-line impact to the members’ businesses </li></ul><ul><li>2. Obtain relevant data (including input from members) before making decisions on political positions </li></ul><ul><li>3 . Supply members with regulatory and legal information in a summarized and understandable format--REGULARLY </li></ul>JWL Associates
  27. 27. Part Four: HUMAN RESOURCES MANAGEMENT <ul><li>“ Everything Starts with the People” </li></ul>JWL Associates
  28. 28. Successful REALTOR Associations Attract, Train and Retain Great People <ul><li>Top real estate associations are distinguished by their talented, dedicated and motivated staff. </li></ul><ul><li>What does it take to recruit, train and retain the “best and the brightest” in association management? </li></ul>JWL Associates
  29. 29. Everything Starts with People: <ul><li>Regardless of non-profit status, REALTOR ® associations must still compete with the private sector for top staff people ( and volunteers). </li></ul><ul><li>To be competitive, associations must offer equal salary and benefits, an attractive work environment, the opportunity to learn and develop professional skills and the potential for advancement. </li></ul>JWL Associates
  30. 30. Avoid Sources of Conflict: <ul><li>Lack of clarity in job roles (revise job descriptions annually ) </li></ul><ul><li>Undefined expectations </li></ul><ul><li>“ Hidden agendas” </li></ul>JWL Associates
  31. 31. Consider Outsourcing or Shared Service Alternatives: <ul><li>Explore outsourcing options when appropriate, including professional recruiters </li></ul><ul><li>Share services with other REALTOR ® associations (or other organizations in your community) </li></ul>JWL Associates
  32. 32. Part Five: FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT <ul><li>“ If You Can’t Measure It, </li></ul><ul><li>You Can’t Manage It!” </li></ul>JWL Associates
  33. 33. The Issue: <ul><li>Top Associations know: </li></ul><ul><li>How to add up the numbers </li></ul><ul><li>How to report them to the members </li></ul><ul><li>How to analyze figures, maximize profits and </li></ul><ul><li>increase income </li></ul><ul><li>Top AEs use these talents to assist leadership in making timely financial decisions based on strategies and not emotions. </li></ul>JWL Associates
  34. 34. If You Can’t Measure It, You Can’t Manage It: <ul><li>Successful associations link financial </li></ul><ul><li>management with their strategic plans. They </li></ul><ul><li>identify priorities and allocate funds based on </li></ul><ul><li>stated plan objectives. Don’t spend money which can’t be tied into the plan . </li></ul><ul><li>Sound financial controls ensure the fiscal </li></ul><ul><li>integrity of an association and show the members the association is acting responsibly. Pay particular attention to internal controls. </li></ul>JWL Associates
  35. 35. Financial Management: Fundamentals <ul><li>Either the AE or the “number two” must have strong financial skills </li></ul><ul><li>Board members need to be educated in several areas: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Fiduciary responsibilities of Elected Leaders </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Conflict of interest policies and procedures </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Roles of the treasurer, finance committee and audit committee </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Employee management (Have a clear policy manual) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Use the Association Legal Counsel to review this subject regularly with staff and Directors! </li></ul></ul>JWL Associates
  36. 36. Financial Management: Fundamentals <ul><li>Select the volunteer treasurer based on his or her financial skills </li></ul><ul><li>Eliminate automatic progression to the Presidency, except for President-Elect </li></ul><ul><li>Put the financial reserve policy in writing </li></ul><ul><li>Be aware of federal and state legislation related to financial mismanagement </li></ul><ul><li>Know the percentage of budget from dues income, and keep that equal to the risk of losing members . </li></ul>JWL Associates
  37. 37. Financial Management: Budgeting <ul><li>Adopt program-based budgeting procedures and add a powerful tool to justify the addition of new programs and get rid of “sacred cows”. Use separate corporations for some projects, and always present a financial impact statement after a program or event. </li></ul><ul><li>Be effective when you present the annual budget to the Board of Directors. Construct a presentation which meets their informational needs . </li></ul><ul><li>Pay more attention to next month’s financial needs than to last month’s financial reports </li></ul><ul><li>Always try to reduce operational costs </li></ul>JWL Associates
  38. 38. Suggestion … <ul><li>Consider adopting an association policy that: no resolution be sent to the Board of Directors unless it includes a statement on direct costs, physical resources and staff and volunteer time required! </li></ul>JWL Associates
  39. 39. Financial Management: Generating Revenue <ul><li>Separate the association’s income stream into dues, fee-for-service, and non-dues revenue </li></ul><ul><li>Common opinions about income are: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Dues are ridiculously low in most associations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Focus on core services ( Cost analyze them—Pro Standards, RPAC, dues collection, Code of Ethics Enforcement). </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Beware of affinity and non-dues income programs drain the association -- stick to the business evaluate of all these programs. They must pay for themselves and make a profit. </li></ul></ul>JWL Associates
  40. 40. Financial Management: Internal Controls and Audits <ul><li>Provide the Board of Directors with clear, consistent and easy-to-digest information and remind them that their role is to ask questions. Think graphs! </li></ul><ul><li>Be transparent with the membership. Transparency in finances and other membership communications is important. </li></ul>JWL Associates
  41. 41. FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT CHECKLIST <ul><li> </li></ul>JWL Associates
  42. 42. Graph of Association Income JWL Associates
  43. 43. Financial Management: Reporting to Members <ul><li>Provide members with regular summary reports of the association’s financial performance </li></ul><ul><li>Present financial data graphically when possible </li></ul><ul><li>At dues billing time, use financial data to show members the benefits of their dues dollars ( create a benefits letter) </li></ul>JWL Associates
  44. 44. HOW TO BEGIN INNOVATION JEFF DE CAGNA <ul><li>Realtors and Their Associations Are on the Edge of a Brave, New World: </li></ul>JWL Associates
  45. 45. FOCUS on “WHO” <ul><li>Innovation is a social process that depends on people working collaboratively to identify, develop and nurture creative ideas. </li></ul><ul><li>Begin with a “hot group” , a Board of Directors Advisory Panel </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Mix of Skills, Experience, Demographics </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Charge them with a Quarterly Report to the Directors, or perhaps the entire membership, on issues and trends </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Let them meet online or any way they can get the work done. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Then, LISTEN to them and accept and act on their ideas </li></ul></ul>JWL Associates
  46. 46. FOCUS on “WHAT” <ul><li>Begin with short term results </li></ul><ul><li>Concentrate on product, and service ideas that serve current or emerging member problems </li></ul><ul><li>Encourage them to explore more radical ideas as they gain confidence </li></ul>• JWL Associates
  47. 47. FOCUS on “HOW” <ul><li>Innovation does not need to be extremely expensive or risky, but it does require consistent investment over time, along with a willingness to integrate failure as a learning strategy </li></ul><ul><li>Encourage them to think of ideas in the $500-$1000 range as a beginning. </li></ul>JWL Associates
  48. 48. Case Study: West Volusia Association of Realtors <ul><li>Education Loan Program using association reserves </li></ul><ul><li>Free Continuing Education Courses for all members </li></ul>JWL Associates
  49. 49. Case Study: North Dakota Association of Realtors <ul><li>Dedicating significant percentage of reserves for a matching fund with local associations for a MARKETING PROGRAM to encourage business with Realtors </li></ul>JWL Associates
  50. 50. Case Study: Sarasota Association of Realtors <ul><li>Dues billing relief program for members </li></ul><ul><li>Facebook Page for the association </li></ul><ul><li>Green Realtors Alliance </li></ul><ul><li>International Real Estate Congress </li></ul>JWL Associates
  51. 51. Thanks for the opportunity! <ul><li>Judith Lindenau, CAE, RCE </li></ul><ul><ul><li>JWL Consulting and Coaching </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>7707 Fouch Road </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Traverse City, MI 49684 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>(231) 715-1416 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> [email_address] </li></ul></ul>JWL Associates