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Data storytelling is key for real estate agent recruitment

Discover areas of opportunity for real estate agents by tracking key performance indicators.

I come from a long line of storytellers. Growing up family gatherings were always full of a colorful cast of characters competing for attention. As a child, I listened attentively, learning valuable lessons from the experiences of my elders.

Stories have always played an integral role in human history. Stories possess the power to influence, to create change as well as to teach and help others understand complex concepts. Recently, researchers at the London School of Business found that people only retain 5%-10% of information when presented in a statistical manner.

However, when presented in story form, individuals remembered 65%-70% of what was communicated. Because stories help to create an emotional connection, they play a strong role in influencing the outcomes of our human interactions.

What is data storytelling

Data storytelling is a method of using data to communicate a specific message in a more effective way. It involves creating a narrative from complex data sets and translating the numbers into insights that are easier to understand and use in decision-making.

Miro Kazakoff, an MIT Sloan lecturer who teaches communications and data storytelling as part of MIT’s Master of Business Analytics curriculum says, “If you want people to make the right decisions with data, you have to get in their head in a way they understand. Throughout human history, the way to do that has been with stories.”

Real estate is a people-centered business, but technology is being adopted at a fast pace. In the past, firms could rely on soft skills like empathy, problem-solving, and good communication to build and maintain long-term relationships. While these skills are still important, the industry is changing and agents are looking for more from their brokerages. I

Telling good stories

Developing the plot or setting the stage is an essential element of any good story. To begin, you should create a theory or pose a question. This usually involves conducting basic data analysis to identify an area where further investigation is needed. Having access to accurate and up-to-date data is important for formulating the best questions and arriving at the most accurate conclusions.

Data visualizations can provide context to numbers and help users to better understand and analyze data. By using various types of visualizations, such as charts, maps, and tables, users can explore the data, track changes, and explain trends or changes over time. It can be challenging to extract meaning or insights from large, complex data sets when they are presented in a spreadsheet. However, when the same data is presented in clear, organized visualizations, patterns, trends, and correlations become more evident. This is the benefit of using data visualization tools.

How can this help in better agent recruitment

To stay competitive, many firms are offering higher commission splits, access to the latest technology, and other incentives. While these are appreciated, agents also expect their leaders to understand their business needs and provide a supportive environment for career advancement.

Having production data for agent recruiting meetings is a good start but going beyond traditionally used metrics like annual production and year-over-year changes can make the interactions more meaningful and relevant.

For example, understanding an agent’s struggles, challenges, and areas of opportunity can have a big impact on the conversation. Anthony Lamacchia, the broker/owner of Lamacchia Companies, Inc., said, “We have been tracking key performance indicators on a company level for several years, but recently started doing it even better on an agent-to-agent basis.” Showing agents that you have done your research and understand their needs can help them feel more confident in considering a change to your brokerage.

Having a basic understanding of data visualization methods and data interpretation can be helpful in engaging in productive data-based conversations. This knowledge can build confidence and strengthen relationships over time.

It is not necessary to have a degree in data analytics to have productive conversations about data but having a working knowledge of data visualization and interpretation can be beneficial in having more directed conversations as well as better informed decision making.

Diana Zaya is the vice president of sales and marketing for real estate analytics company Relitix.