Creating a Standard Operating Procedure manual might feel like a beast of a job, but it can save you a lot of headaches in the long run.
In New York, legislation was recently passed that compels all real estate brokerages to create a Standard Operating Procedure manual for their businesses to create transparency about how they intend to deal with any issues that may arise during the course of business. The purpose behind this is to increase the consistency of how matters are handled throughout the state.
However, this new rule has caused a bit of concern from many brokerages and teams who have never had to write a manual of this magnitude before, so we wanted to outline how to go about tackling a project like this one.
We could see legislation like this in the future in other states as well, so, we wanted to address it here.
How Do We Start Creating a Standard Operating Procedures Manual?
One of my favorite corporate books is called “Moments of Truth” by Jan Carlzon. It’s an older book, and in short, it’s about the President of Scandinavian Airlines when they were the #1 airline in the world. In this book, Jan talks about the company’s moments of truth and how he realized that his company was defined by these moments with customers. When a customer interacted with the ticket counter, the baggage handler, the reservations desk, or flight attendants and pilots, those were the moments that defined their entire organization in that one person’s eyes. When he understood this, Jan sat down with his whole team to identify all these moments with the customers, and they called these moments of truth.
Disney Corporation has done this too and has built customer interactions around them, calling these Magical Moments. We have even done this same thing here at Power Headquarters from time to time, calling them Smile Moments. What are those moments or opportunities that put a smile on the faces of our Power Agents®? What does that look like? How can we make it happen?
If you are a broker, the best way to start creating this manual is to talk to those you work with every day. Take a day or two in a company-wide brainstorming session (depending on how large your company is, you can even consider getting a mortgage lender or other vendor to sponsor your meetings) and hear from those who work for you. Whether you book a large conference room or take your team to a restaurant to brainstorm over dinner, this is a great team-building exercise that allows your team to share their practical solutions, creative ideas, and developed strategies. They may have come up with solutions you haven’t even thought of, and your team will be stronger because they are included in this process.
TIP: For a deeper dive into how to create this manual, check out this article by Lern.
What Should We Include in The Standard Operating Procedure Manual?
In your team meeting, list all those moments where agents interact with buyers and sellers. That’s right, every single moment you can think of. How should those moments be addressed? What are all the issues that might come up? How should they be handled? Brainstorming potential strategies for handling difficult situations and getting your team members on the same page helps create solutions before you even need them.
Internal and External Customers
For Brokers and Managers, there is another level of the Standard Operating Procedure that should also be considered. If buyers and sellers are considered external customers, then real estate agents in your brokerage would be regarded as internal customers.
Just like you need to understand the moments of truth for your buyers and sellers, you need to know the moments of truth for the agents in your brokerage. How will you manage agents? How will issues be handled? What about support staff like your assistants and reception?
How Having a Standard Operating Procedure Will Benefit Your Business
This rule was brought into New York’s real estate industry because there have been a lot of challenges surrounding Fair Housing that need to be addressed. There is power in being consistent, especially when brokerages are clear on how they will handle certain situations. While New York requires that this manual is in place, it is still a good idea to create one for your brokerage no matter where you are, as this can benefit your business in many ways.
Yes, it feels like a monster-sized project, but having this manual and even posting it on your website for the general public to view can create a sense of consistency from one brokerage to another as everyone outlines how they do business.
When you have a manual that outlines exactly how you and your agents will do business, what’s expected from your agents and support staff, and how stressful situations will be handled, having it when a problem arises will be a blessing.
Are you ready to start taking things to the Next Level®? If you don’t already know what you need to do to get to your next level, we can help!
Power Agents®, for more strategies and tools for helping homeowners, check out the Disaster Plans and other content in the Farming, Self Promotion, and Mailings tab in the Classroom. Whether you need a boost of confidence or empowering dialogues, we are here to help you get the skills you need to be the go-to agent for the buyers and sellers in your farm area.
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