It’s a never-ending balancing act: boosting agent recruitment while minimizing attrition. Here’s how to approach the endless task of recruiting and retaining top talent at your brokerage.

It’s a crowded real estate market out there! There are more than 86,000 real estate brokerage firms operating in the U.S., according to the most recent economic census data.

Between the plethora of independent brokerages and franchises, agents have a lot to choose from. What’s going to influence their decision to work with you? To successfully attract new talent, close more deals and continue growing your business, brokers must go above and beyond to stand out from competition. 

Understand what you have to offer

Just like you would sell a house, in the recruitment process, you are selling yourself and your brokerage. Like a house, your brokerage needs curb appeal in the form of a company image. Your image needs to effectively balance things like: Your brand collateral, logo, website and the brokerage’s value proposition.   

To attract new talent, you must first understand what distinguishes your brokerage from competitors. This is your value proposition. This can be accomplished through a simple pen-on-paper exercise. Brainstorm and list your brokerage’s top tools and training programs that you can offer new agents.

If you don’t have any, this is your opportunity to create some. You’ll also want to look for evidence of your success. Sales data is not always enough when agents are trying to decide between multiple options. Collect agent and customer testimonials to prove your brokerage’s appeal and value. 

Focus on the agent

One of the keys to a successful candidate interview, especially when trying to secure top talent, is to focus on the agent — not yourself! Ask lots and lots of questions, and then ask some more. This is your opportunity be interested, not interesting.

A well-prepared candidate will have already done their homework to learn what your brokerage is all about. The interview is your opportunity to learn about the agent, specifically their strengths and passions as well as their needs and wants. 

While the focus of the meeting should be on the agent and not the broker or the brokerage itself, the interview is also your chance to promote the value proposition you have formulated. Highlight the brokerage’s notable sources of value, including any proprietary tools or training programs. This will help the candidate to better understand what the brokerage has to offer outside of just a “job.”

The initial candidate interview should act as the first of many. To be effective at recruitment, you should expect to engage in several (at least seven or eight) meetings to “close on an agent.” Additionally, in terms of content structure, compensation should be one of the last conversations you have with a candidate.

Retention is key

Once you’ve hired a new agent, the work is not over. Now the focus shifts from recruitment to retention. Take the opportunity to regularly remind your agents about your value, how you are meeting their needs and how they are helping to grow the brokerage. Talent retention is key to a brokerage’s growth.

Think about it this way: You must focus on growth opportunities for your agents to foster your brokerage’s growth as well. The growth in their knowledge and skills will help you stand out among the competition, and training programs can help to boost agent productivity.

Overall, agents are looking to the brokerage owners for leadership—strong leadership; they desire a leader that they can trust and one that cares about them. Research has shown that the reason that half of all agents choose to join a brokerage is for its leadership and the remainder is based on image, reputation and training tools.

To retain your agent roster, you need to demonstrate your leadership abilities on a consistent basis. One of the easiest ways to do that is by being an attentive listener and an active participant. Schedule regular meetings with your agents to understand how you can better meet their needs and wants and improve brokerage processes and practices.

Incorporate technology

Technology should be used when it aids in your brokerage’s ability to better service customers and support agents. That said, when it comes to technology, most of the time, simpler is better. If it’s too complicated, agents and customers alike will not use it.

When considering what technology to integrate, consider whether it’s simple to use and whether it will increase lead generation. But don’t rely too heavily on technology to communicate: Face-time with your agents and potential recruits is an important part of the process. 

Recruitment of top talent needs to be a top-of-mind process for your brokerage. You should be actively searching out new talent regularly. Ideally, 85 percent of your candidates should stem from your own outreach. 

To succeed at recruiting, you must understand your brokerage’s value and how best to articulate it. Ensuring that you have a value proposition in place will help to attract the best candidates. If you keep all of this in mind, you’ll have a leg up in standing out in the real estate industry. 

Fiona Petrie, RE/MAX INTEGRA U.S.’s executive vice president and managing director of U.S. operations, oversees all operations of the company’s U.S. regions of the Midwest and New England.

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