With the housing market facing so much uncertainty due to COVID-19, real estate agents are more unsure of their next paycheck now than they have been in past decade. That’s why team leaders need to be more mindful than ever when it comes to the needs of their team members.
Over the past decade, real estate teams have become the norm in our industry. In a lot of ways, the real estate team of today is like the brokerage of yesteryear. These days, it’s not uncommon to see teams providing in-depth training, technology, administrative and marketing support, leads and a place for connecting with other like-minded humans.
The point I’m making here is — when agents decide to build a team, they’re going to be making a sizable investment into their business and into the agents who join. And just like brokerages, when it comes to teams, agents will often come and go, especially in times of uncertainty, like what we’re facing right now.
Even though some teams have less turnover than others, it’s still a part of the game, and no one is immune to it. It would be nice if every time we hired someone to the team they stayed with us for 10 years. However, we all know that isn’t reality.
Whenever someone left my team, I used to take it personally. However, over time, I’ve learned to accept the fact that sometimes people want to move on — and that’s OK. I’ve also learned to not let it catch me by surprise. The COVID-19 pandemic has kept a lot of agents indoors and away from their clients and peers, which has been putting a strain on some teams. Unfortunately, it gives people an easier way to hide.
As I look back over the last 12-plus years of building my team, I’ve noticed a few trends when it comes to agents leaving. Here are the three signs a team member is about to leave your team.
No longer attending meetings
I know what you’re thinking. This is obvious, and anyone should notice this. To an extent, you’re right. However, when an agent has been on your team for a while, it’s easy to give them grace for missing meetings. You know, something came up with a client or some other life event — home-schooling, kids, spouse, you name it. When you’re working from home, the distractions are endless.
Of course, like any rational team leader, you excuse them for the absence. That said, take a note of a few things. Did they tell you they wouldn’t be able to make it ahead of time, or did they tell you after the fact? Is it a one-time occurrence, or has it happened a few times recently?
Seems to be on a bad streak of no new clients
There’s another sign I kept missing a lot early on. Sometimes, we’d have agents who would regularly sign four to six new clients a month, and then, all of a sudden, they wouldn’t sign new business for 30-60 days.
At first, I thought it was a training problem, perhaps. So, we’d try to solve the problem with training. We’d practice and role-play our scripts even more than usual. Or maybe, I thought, it was an issue with their effort.
Eventually, I started to see a pattern. When typically successful agents stopped bringing in new business, it was usually just a matter of time before they were off of the team on to their next step in the industry. I’ve gone so far as to have our team create an automated, color-coded report to make sure I don’t miss this sign anymore. This sign can be easy to write off in a time like this, but I’d caution everyone not to assume that this is just because of the COVID-19 slowdown.
Appears to be disengaged
Now this one sounds really obvious, but I believe it’s also overlooked by many team leaders all the time — not just in a crisis. I know I’ve had times when I missed this obvious sign.
It’s not easy to be the leader of a team. Sometimes, it’s easy to get caught up in everything I have going on, especially now. When an agent is not attending training, meeting goals and connecting with team members, those are all signs they’re not engaged, and you must always be on the lookout for them.
While agents will always look for new opportunities, new teams and new brokerages, in a time of uncertainty like now, agents are going to be left alone with their thoughts to contemplate the future. I believe we must always look for ways to bring more value to those agents who trust us with their business — now more than ever.
No matter how hard we try, we don’t have a perfect record when it’s all said and done. So use these three signs to help make sure you’re not caught off guard next time an agent decides to leave your team.
Kevin Kauffman is an agent with eXp Realty and the host of the Kevin and Fred Show, a podcast for the real estate industry.