- Blog content should home in on local guides to attract would-be clients, but the quality must be top-notch and constant.
- Having a wealth of online continued education for agents to train at their leisure is an invaluable resource.
- In-office training is an excellent way to get real-time feedback and questions from agents as well as to explain complex issues.
It’s no secret: Agent recruiting and retention are the lifeblood of any brokerage, whether it’s in its infancy or well-established.
This increasing pressure on brokerages means they need to become dynamic and innovative with providing value to agents. Providing signage isn’t enough anymore. Thus, top brokerages are finding new avenues to attract and retain talented agents.
So if you’re a broker owner or manager, where should you start?
The answer is by looking at what the best in the business are doing. Below, we’ll be going over a few methods that top brokerages are implementing around the country and actionable advice for you to implement these techniques.
1. Produce content that your agents can repurpose
Consumers do not contact a business until 57 percent of the sales process has been completed. What this means is that consumers are making judgments about companies long before they get in contact with them.
How do they form their opinions? The answer is through the content companies create and share.
An easy place to start for brokerages is to have your internal marketing team or an external agency create a blog on the company site.
Remember, the blog content should hone in on local guides and give value to prospective clients. For example, write a post on the local schools, restaurants or family-friendly activities in the area.
Two things are crucial with blogging.
First, the quality of the content should be top-notch. This means spending serious amounts of time crafting posts. One common mistake is writing a poorly researched post in one or two hours. If you’ve done this, you’ll know the result of the content was probably nothing to write home about.
For example, every article we produce is on a three-day creation cycle. We’ve created an in-depth guide to starting content marketing for anyone who is interested in taking their content efforts further.
Next, you have to create content consistently. It’s common for a brokerage to launch a blog, write two or three posts and then leave the blog to die a slow death.
Most times this is because the blog didn’t get enough traction in the short-term for management to buy-in fully. I hate to break the news to broker-owners and managers, but if you’re not willing to commit to a long-term plan with content marketing, then it’s never going to work for your business.
It might seem counterintuitive, but great posts will perform better over time. For example, I wrote a post in 2012 that garnered 207,000 reads. However, in its first year, it only received 18,000 reads.
2. Provide online tools for agents to learn
At your brokerage, you will have seasoned agents and people who have just entered into real estate, and it’s important to create tools for agents of all experience levels.
Having an online database of learning materials allows agents to learn when it’s convenient for them. Having local neighborhood information, combined with marketing materials and informative pieces gives your agents the ability to grow and refine their skills.
A great example of this is Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California; they have their own podcast, which focuses on agent education.
“We’re always looking for new ways to push the envelope and provide value to agents,” said Senior Vice President of BHHS California, Mary Lee Blaylock. “The podcast was just a natural fit. Agents are on the go, driving between meetings, showings, etc. So giving our agents something they could learn from in the seat of their car seemed like a no-brainer for us.”
Not every brokerage needs to run out and start a podcast, but it highlights the fact that the industry is changing, and more so, agent behavior is changing.
I spoke with Blaylock and asked her how brokerages can change to be more accommodating to agents, and she said, “It’s simple really. Communicate with your team regularly, and ask for recommendations from the agents. If we listen to our agents, we can work to give them better resources, and then they’ll be more equipped to give great service to the end homebuyer or seller.”
Webinars are another popular method of training. Some of the big positives with webinars are you can bring in experts from remote locations to lead them. If agents are unable to attend, you have the ability to record the webinar and send it out for agents to watch later.
3. In-office training
In-office training is an excellent way to get real-time feedback and questions from your team. This hands-on approach is highly effective for implementing company-wide initiatives or complex issues that could not be explained via email or phone.
If you’re a brokerage with less than 50 people, your executive team should block out time each month to host training. This will help your agents meet their true potential and allow your brokerage to grow.
“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” -Benjamin Franklin
In the survey Inman did earlier this year, we see a common complaint from agents — a lack of mentorship. As a brokerage, it’s not your choice to mentor agents, it’s your responsibility.
Providing individual career mentoring is an excellent way to retain agents for a long time. If an agent feels like they are part of something bigger than themselves and part of a team that helps them grow individually, why would they leave a brokerage?
Remember, your agents are the lifeblood of your brokerage, and helping them become better will only help your brokerage grow.