Brokers work hard to attract new talent — they tout first-class technology suites, swanky marketing tools and strong support systems. But as Inman Connect San Francisco session moderator and Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate CEO Sherry Chris noted, recruiting is the “easy” part of the job.
“I was good at recruiting, but I faltered with retention,” Chris said of her early years at BGHRE.
The panel of four speakers all agreed that retention comes down to three things: consistent communication, proactive solutions for struggling agents and a strong company culture.
Don’t forget to communicate
Xperience Real Estate CEO Chris Suarez said he schedules every bit of communication with his agents, whether it’s a one-on-one or a large scale meeting.
It’s this schedule that helps him keep track of his teams across five states and two countries.
As your team scales, Suarez also said it’s important to do two things: find leaders who are great communicators and delegate tasks to them, and use social media platforms and tools to keep the communication flowing.
Suarez and Redfin area manager Mia Simon say Slack has been a godsend for keeping track of their teams. Suarez and Simon have separate channels for their teams based on the areas they serve, which keeps the feed from getting overrun with irrelevant information.
Beyond Slack, Simon says a bi-monthly email newsletter that highlights new tools and relevant data keeps agents engaged and gives them a reason to come to the office to test out those new products.
BloomTree director of education and social insight coach Dr. Anne Marie Ward said her brokerage relies on Facebook to make sure their 200 agents stay in touch. Each of the five offices has a private group where they can share new listings, give advice and even share personal things, such as family pictures.
“As you get bigger, you can’t touch everyone,” Ward said, noting that social media helps build a sense of community among the agents and brokerage leaders.
Track, and be proactive
Every week, Chris Suarez receives a top-down report on every agent at his brokerage, which details their growth week-over-week, month-over-month and year-over-year.
That, along with a look at how his agents engage with the brokerage tools, allows him to pinpoint struggling agents quickly and come up with a solution before their performance gets worse.
“Engagement is a telling sign in how they’re doing in their business,” he said. “How many times have they come to class? How are they interacting on your platforms?”
If he sees that an agent is on a downward trend, he’ll schedule a meeting to determine if they need more coaching or if there’s another culprit, such as some drama in their personal life.
Better Homes and Gardens Metro Brokers COO Craig McClelland said having a tight onboarding process also helps in tracking agents’ progress and allows leadership to identify and solve any hiccups.
McClelland requires that his agents commit to continuing their education through classes offered by BHGRE, maintain and seek certifications, and every agent is matched with a mentor that will be with them throughout their time at the brokerage.
If a new agent isn’t willing to follow the process, McClelland says he’s quick to fire them to maintain the company culture.
Have a strong company culture
One of the strongest retention tools is a strong company culture, said Suarez, who warned leaders not to make the pitch about you and what you can do.
“We have to be careful that we’re not attracting or recruiting to ourselves — people will leave people before they leave a mission,” he said.
Ward echoed Suarez’s thoughts and said agents don’t care about shiny, new tools as much as they care about being a part of something bigger. At Ward’s brokerage, BloomTree, each agent contributes a portion of their commission that goes into a community fund. Each month, the agents vote on which organization will receive the proceeds.
“Being part of a community and a mission is what retains them at the end of the day,” she said.