The second session of the VAR Strategic Planning work group proved to be quite a provocative and eye-opening one. The purpose of this session was to get members’ feedback regarding what and how VAR is doing currently and what VAR could do in the future. Basically, it was a report card and a customer comments form wrapped up into one.
Wednesday’s part of the session focused on a survey of innovative ideas from other REALTOR® associations. We chatted with associations from Texas, California, Massachusetts and Florida. Though some of the things covered (such as “Second Life“) may have been a bit ahead of their time or not applicable to us here in Virginia, the exercise helped open our minds to being innovative, creative and forward-thinking during today’s meeting.
Today’s meeting involved discussions with various focus groups in order to better understand how VAR is perceived by its members including local boards. The three focus groups consisted of:
- Top Producers
- Local Association Executives
- Gen X/Gen Y’ers
Here’s an overview of what each group had to say:
Top Producers saw very little value in VAR outside of providing an incredibly strong voice for its members on the legislative side of things and promoting the Code Of Ethics. In fact, one member, who has been in the business 36 years, didn’t even know where VAR was located. They also expressed that there was a need for better communication between VAR and its members.
Local Association Executives (AEs) expressed their desire for VAR to “partner” with them and offered their advice on how to do so. This included working together on things such as course offerings, speaking engagements, advertising campaigns, decisions that affect them directly on a local level, etc. They also mentioned a need to improve lines of communication in both directions.
Gen X/Gen Y’ers stated their desire to be involved on a local as well as state level despite feeling as though they “weren’t always invited”. They offered advice on how VAR could better engage its’ members (“young” and “old”) including using online tools to promote offline and in-person interaction among members. They also offered their thoughts on everything from The Code Is Good Business campaign to the Commonwealth Magazine.
Though there may have been some differences in the needs of each focus group, there were definitely two common ones expressed by all three. Those were:
- Improving communication between VAR and members
- Engaging members more and in a better fashion
These seem to recurring themes so we may be on to something…
This session definitely opened our eyes and allowed us to better understand what VAR needs to be focused on in the near term as well as long term in order to best serve its’ members.
***I’m sure that I speak on behalf of everyone on the work group when I say thank you to everyone in the focus groups for taking the time out of their day to come to Richmond and be brutally honest and candid with us. What you have to say and think is what we need to know in order to put the best strategic plan together we can.