Instead of having a revolving door of agents, fill your business with intrapreneurs who are committed to and invested in your vision. Here’s how to ensure your top producers never want to leave.

This July, Inman’s editorial theme is Teams — what it takes to build and join one, how to optimize your team for summer 2020, and even when to consider leaving one. And if you’re not already a subscriber to our Teams Beat email newsletter, sent every Thursday, sign up now.

Let’s have a “real” moment. Real estate is often a transient business. You work so hard to attract talent and build your team, but sometimes it seems like you have a revolving door of agents. The talent treadmill can be exhausting. 

Now, imagine a different world. Your business is filled with intrapreneurs who are committed to your mission and invested in your business because of the enterprises they are able to grow within it.

An intrapreneur is someone who behaves like an entrepreneur while working within a larger organization. They don’t leave. They hire, coach and grow talent. Their business is growing, which means your business is growing. 

So, jump off that talent treadmill and shift your talent goals to attract and grow intrapreneurs. Here are a few tips on how to do just that. 

1. Make your first conversations about business

The key to attracting intrapreneurs is to make your first conversations business conversations. Don’t get caught up in “selling” your team. Speak in business terms. 

In a recent Inman article on profitability, my business partner Chris Suarez said that to run a profitable business, rainmakers must book themselves as a cost of sale. Talent is attracted to savvy business owners. This model empowers you to have stronger business conversations with talent. 

Business-minded talent is not concerned with splits. Business-minded talent is focused on building profitable business and achieving their income goals.

When you explain to talented individuals that their profitability margins are the same as yours as the business owner, you are partners in different job functions. The conversations stop being about splits and start to be about opportunities. 

At the same time, you must be able to point to tangible value that you will provide them to show a proven path to success. Share what will help them grow their business in your business, such as technology, tools, operations support, marketing and coaching.

Remind them that by joining your team, they are leading with revenue, saving the time and expense of building the infrastructure and fast-tracking their opportunity.

Moreover, hold a business-planning session focused on their income goals, and then point back to your value and how you will help them achieve their goals — this year, next year, in five years and beyond. 

2. Show that there is a ‘beyond’

Too often, talents consider joining a team to learn the business so they can use it as a launching pad. Show that your business goes beyond a launching pad. I use the words “career destination.” To do this well, you must have two organizational charts:

  1. Where you are now
  2. Where you will be in 20 years

You can deepen your personal connection by showing them where you are now and where you’re growing and allowing them to identify which business unit in your business they wish to grow.

A simple example: If you have an agent who is passionate about new construction, empower them to build a system to gain more new construction business and then to hire and coach to this model.

This allows them to grow their own business unit within your team. You are providing the infrastructure for them to leverage. They are driving a business. Both of you win. 

3. Attract alignment in vision 

Don’t just hire to hire. Dig deep into their motivation to ensure that their version of the future is aligned with where your team is going and what you’re committed to provide. 

4. Pour into your intrapreneurs 

Attracting talent is just one part of your role as a leader. Take time to consult with your talent on a weekly basis, coaching them on their production and growth goals. Help them create a formal growth plan each year and hold them accountable to following it. Create benchmarks for them to hit to “earn the right” to pursue their next growth opportunity. 

Each quarter, stop and ask them a few questions that remind them that they’re contributing to something bigger than themselves. This will also keep them focused on their growth path:

  • What has been your biggest contribution to the team this quarter?
  • What is your biggest strength you can use to add value to the team?
  • What area do you believe you have the biggest growth opportunity?
  • What action will you take in the next three months to grow in this area?

5. Understand that it’s not about you

An intrapreneur is not going to be content to stay in your world if you view them as a vehicle to get work done for you. It’s not about you. 

The key to retaining — and growing — intrapreneurs is being focused on their goals, their dreams and their “why.” As a leader, it’s up to you to chart the path for them to achieve what is important to them. 

Holly Priestner leads talent and engagement strategy for PLACE Inc., which is in 48 markets in the U.S. and Canada. Connect with her on Twitter and LinkedIn.

agent advice | teams
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