Management CentralYou’re the manager. What does that mean to you? What does that mean to your agents? And let’s not forget your staff. What does that mean to them?

Sound like an overwhelming responsibility? Well, it is. You have been bestowed with the awesome task of leadership. As the sales manager, you perform several roles. If you want to be equipped to support both your agents and your staff, you need to have the latest knowledge of legal issues, human resources, technology and the real estate marketplace. And, let’s not forget your role as peacemaker and negotiator.

Where do you get all these skills? Some managers may be blessed naturally with many of the talents needed to lead, to support, and to be creative, keeping their companies and their agents ahead of the competition.

But for most in the manager role, you realize that to be effective you have to take the lead by continually learning and growing, modeling the behaviors and skills you hope to see in your agents.

MCE, Seminars and Workshops
We all have to take MCE classes to maintain our licenses. But, do you encourage extra learning for yourself and for your agents? Do your agents see you in the seminars and workshops that they attend? Are you too busy to set aside the same learning time that you expect from your agents? Don’t let the day come when you are no longer one step ahead of those who follow you. A leader needs to lead, and you do that from the front seat, not the backseat!

Watch for those fliers and email invitations to attend seminars and workshops that will add to your knowledge base, skill level and networking opportunities. You can make those sessions beneficial not only for learning, but also for recruiting.

Other agents will see that you are where their own managers aren’t – in class with them, learning how to help them and to know what they know and hopefully more.

Learning the Market – Making a Niche
The client always wants to know how your company is different from your competition. Do you and your agents really know your market and where you stand? If you don’t, learn. If you really aren’t different, find your niche. If you don’t have one, make one. Identify the way your company or the talents of your agents stand apart from the competition. It may take some introspection, and maybe some time to actually build a “niche market,” but every office should have one. Take the time to identify what niche your office services or plan to develop one.

Support for Earning Designations
Of course you encourage your agents to earn designations. And, of course, you should take the position that designations do matter. If you aren’t a believer, it’s probably because you don’t have any. Were you too busy? Did you think the client doesn’t really care?

By now you have probably learned that today’s clients do care how well educated and experienced the agent is. Clients are more informed than they were years ago, thanks to the Internet and its abundance of real estate sites.

When you receive a business card from any professional, don’t you immediately look at his or her name? If there are initials after the name, don’t you wonder about them and ask what they stand for? Doesn’t it impress you to know that the person has added training that may benefit you as his or her client or customer? Why should it be any different in real estate? Perhaps it’s because not enough managers have and support the earning of designations. Without encouragement from management to attend designation classes, agents are missing this essential extra knowledge and training. Let’s begin to change our attitudes as leaders and trend-setters and support the earning of designations!

Management Designations for the Manager
Of the nearly 20 designations sponsored by the National Association of REALTORS® and its affiliated institutions, societies and councils for all REALTORS®, there are now three set aside specifically to “train the trainer” or you, the sales manager.

Accredited Buyer’s Representative Manager (ABRM) – developed to teach managers how to better incorporate buyer representation into their company’s service offerings. Designees have taken both the ABR and ABRM courses and provided documentation of past management experience. (Presented by the Real Estate Buyer’s Agent Council, visit

Certified Real Estate Brokerage Manager (CRB) – awarded to REALTORS® who have completed advanced educational and professional requirements. Designees learn how to streamline operations, integrate new technology and apply new trends and business strategies. (Presented by Council of Real Estate Brokerage Managers, visit

Performance Management Network (PMN) – a new designation focusing on enhancing negotiating strategies and tactics, networking and referrals, business planning and systems, personal performance management and cultural differences in buying and selling. (Presented by Women’s Council of Realtors®, visit

Other designations are available for residential and commercial REALTORS® specializing in land sales, property management, commercial investments, second home and resort properties, international sales and marketing, appraisal and senior client needs.

Beyond these many niche specialties are the overall educational programs provided by the Council of Residential Specialists (CRS) and the Graduate, REALTOR® Institute (GRI). Successful completion of the numerous courses offered to earn either designation also qualifies for MCE credit.

In addition to designation courses, certification programs are also growing in popularity through NAR and its affiliated professional groups.

Visit to see the programs you and your agents can add to their business plan for 2010.

It’s never too late to build your knowledge base and to lead your office to new levels of achievement.