Critical skills for growth and development within the property sector in 2023 

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Critical skills for growth and development within the property sector in 2023 

New Leaf Technologies

Johannesburg, 21 November 2022 – What are the essential skills required for success as a real estate agency as the world moves into 2023? They certainly aren’t the same skills as in 2019 – the world has undergone such radical change that every role and industry has had to evolve and adapt to keep up. Today, as customers become more demanding and markets increasingly challenging, agencies require diverse skillsets to ensure they can build stable business foundations and maintain financial security. 

Recent research by Lightstone found that residential property unit sales in South Africa saw a 21.4% increase up from 2020 and a 3% increase on 2019. There has been a steady increase in residential estate sales with trends like semigration down to the coastal areas and working from home playing a major role in property purchase and sale decision-making. In addition, a recent analysis by the Property Practitioners Regulatory Authority (PPRA) emphasised the importance of reshaping the sector on the bases of inclusion and diversity and emphasises the importance of continuing professional development (CPD) to ensure that agencies and their employees are well-versed in regulations and are in compliance with the authority.  

“This is a high-pressure profession that expects agencies to be well-versed in multiple skillsets and to ensure that their employees learn constantly,” says Michael Hanly, Managing Director at New Leaf Technologies. “There are, however, core skills – critical skills – that should be on every estate agent’s resume as these are the ones that will ensure they connect with clients, sell properties and build resilient businesses. And developing these core skills should be part of every agencies investment into resources and agency growth.” 

To this end, estate agencies should consider investing into a learning and development platform that provides employees with the learning tools they need to continuously enhance their skills. The courses and training provided on the platform can then be curated to match current market expectations and requirements.  

Today, certain skills are in high-demand, and perhaps the most obvious is communication. Agents need to have good verbal and non-verbal communication abilities so they can connect with different people from different cultures and build strong relationships. Often, they engage with people in stressful situations so they need to be good at listening and providing support and in preparing professional written communication that will align with regulations, and put minds at ease. This should be supplemented with strong local knowledge about the area and how things have changed throughout the pandemic – schools and shops closed, routes changed etc. – and be able to give people solid advice around a purchase that fits their needs.  

“Don’t forget that agents today also have to be very good at technology,” says Hanly. “You can’t bypass this in the modern business. People want to be contacted on platforms that put them at ease or make their lives easier so agents need to use those platforms effortlessly. This goes beyond WhatsApp and mobile devices, it’s being able to provide virtual tours, sign documentation remotely, and ensure strong data protection and security so that the business is in line with the Protection of Personal Information Act.” 

In addition to the softer skills, estate agencies also need to create a more resilient business and this means investing into financial skills and smart business planning. It’s worth providing agents with ongoing financial training that covers everything from bonds to interest rates to personal financial management as this will minimise errors while improving growth and customer engagement. Essential skills in this bracket would include record keeping and financial planning. Consider adding skills such as marketing to your learning and development platform – this will help you build your reputation in specific areas and niches as well as connect with potential new clients – and negotiation – and it will help you manage tricky situations and resolve conflict while keeping the sale going. 

Finally, it’s worth looking at expanding skillsets to suit specific markets and methodologies. One of the things in short supply right now is trust, so look at skills development in areas that will allow you to be more transparent with customers, and at training around public speaking, critical thinking and ethical business management. 

New Leaf Technologies provides estate agents with access to a richly layered eLearning platform that they can use to upskill and transform their businesses. Using the variety of training programmes, learning activities and practical training solutions on offer from aNewSpring, or the eLearning content authoring tool, agencies can build their own programmes using templates and custom functionality, ensuring that their skills development is aligned to customer and market expectations.   

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About New Leaf Technologies:

New Leaf Technologies provides “best of breed” learning software and services to corporations, training companies and educational institutions throughout Africa and the Middle East. Its products include aNewSpring, a cloud-based Learner Experience Platform (LXP); New Leaf LMS, an enterprise-grade Learner Management System; Cirrus, an advanced high-stakes assessment product; and Wisenet, a sleek student management system. The company also offers over 20 000 off-the-shelf courses and tailor-made course content, shareable through these platforms, as well as a turnkey design and production service, to create holistic e-learning experiences.

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