Agent retention is not much different than agent recruiting. It’s a sales pitch that reviews what you have done for them lately. The funny thing is, retention is a process and not an event.
Having a good process of delivering value to your agents on a consistent basis, should keep breakage very low. The core of that process is human connection. If you are an absentee landlord, they will not care about you or your business.
Here are eight tips you should focus on to achieve better agent retention.
Deliver on your promises
All too often brokers undermine their retention efforts by not delivering on their promises to agents. By delivery, I do not mean that you check the box, but rather deliver in abundance.
If you promise the agent a website, deliver the best, not the cheapest.
Reinforce your value
Unless you have more than 300 offices, you should be burning the shoe leather to visit every office and interacting with the agents. The best practice is to plan your visits, and stick to your plan.
Office visits also allow you to look around the office and assess the environment.
You can meet with agents and have an update or review meeting with the office manager. Take the office admins to lunch.
They are typically the people who know more about your business and do a lot of the heavy lifting around the office. Ask them how the agents feel. Trust me, you will get an answer.
Stalk your competition
Agents usually leave either because your business is toxic, or they get a better deal elsewhere. I am a strong believer that price is what you pay, value is what you receive. Buy the best and you only cry once.
The same is true of splits.
Agents decide to leave on emotion and back that up with logic — like a better split, better perception of technology, etc.
Have your agents “shop” the competition to find out what they are offering and report back to you. Let them know that you want to run the best brokerage in town, and you are happy when they bring you information about how you can improve to attract the best of the flock.
Another great way to get intel on your competitors is to call agents who have recently moved from other companies to other companies that had nothing to do with your firm.
Congratulate them on the move, ask them to consider your firm next time, and ask them why they left their old company.
That is the story you need for retention, “You know, when Great Agent Sally went over to XYZ, she told me that she left the firm you want to join because of blah, blah, blah. Did you know that?”
This sounds a bit odd, but you would be astounded at how well it works. Agents who do not contribute broker dollar or contribute to the community in your office need to go.
Coaches know that a team is only as strong as its weakest member. Sometimes the person that is poisoning your office is a top producer. Don’t let that hold you back.
Poison is poison. Either get them under control, or invite them to go cause a mess at someone else’s expense.
Let’s face it, real estate brokerage is competitive. Don’t try to do the things that other firms are doing all of the time. Sometimes you need to, but try to be asymmetrical.
Think about unique things that you can do that differentiate your firm from others, and establish deeper levels of good will with the agents.
Look for things that make them proud to share with their friends, family and clients. Shiny new objects work well too.
There is nothing like an event to create deeper connections between the firm and intra-office among the management and agents.
Make sure that you include recognition as part of the event, and not just for top producers.
Who sends out the most print marketing? Give him or her a tree. Who does the most door-knocking? Give him or her a Ring Doorbell? Make it fun.
Here is a bonus secret. If you use Broker Metrics, Trend Graphics, Collateral Analytics or some other program that allows you to track agent transactions — use it.
What you will find is that agents always book less business in the first year of moving. Change comes with opportunity costs. No matter what they hope, it takes them three to six months to get settled in their new environment.
Funny thing is, agents do not think about this. If you look up what happened to the last person who left your firm for broker X, you can show the agent how his or her productivity went down.
Trust me, nobody will ever leave your firm if the grass is ugly brown on the other side of the fence. Instill fear of productivity and income loss, and you may very well find that your office isn’t so bad after all.
If you are really into data — run a report every month to see where agents are going from and going to. It’s important to understand any developing migration trends and head them off.
In Italian, it means something like “soft voice.” If you have an agent who has decided to make the horrible decision to leave, be sure to call him or her a week later when he or she is in the peak of chaos and the height of buyers remorse.
Let the agent know that you miss him or her.
Brooklyn real estate king, John Reinhardt of Fillmore Real Estate likes to take them to lunch at his “spot,” Peter Luger’s Steakhouse. Even if you do not get them back right away, if you want them, stay in touch, and let them know you care.
I could continue on this list for hours, but this is a conversation starter.
Share your ideas in the comments section below. I might even feature your brilliance in an upcoming article, crediting you, of course.