It’s October, which means we’re approaching that time of year when agents who are dissatisfied with their current office or broker start to look around at their options. It’s also the season when many brokers amp up their recruiting tempo, knowing that a certain percentage of agents will switch brokerages at the end of the year.
I’ve never understood the mentality of waiting until the end of the year to change brokerages. If you’re dissatisfied, why wait until the fourth quarter to make the switch? I do think a lot of it has to do with the end-of-year financial stats.
When agents get their third quarter statement with GCI (gross commission income) and sales figures, it’s natural to compare it to where they stood last year and to see where they are at in achieving their goals. I’ve also heard agents say they wanted to change brokerages but were waiting till January so they could make a fresh start in the new year.
Whatever the reason, now is the time for brokers to prepare for this annual trend. Review these mistakes so that you don’t risk making them.
1. Hiring everyone who knocks on your door
Yes, every town has the broker who will hire anyone who passes the “fog the mirror” test. We all have those. Don’t be that office. Don’t just collect licenses to hang on the wall. Build a solid team of people who fit your culture and believe in your values.
2. Not screening for values compatibility
Yes, look at production and experience, but also look at a person’s values. Proudly stating your office is full of agents with integrity means nothing if you hire the guy everyone hates doing business with — the shady agent (or worse).
I once terminated someone who had years in the business and solid sales. When I discovered what he had done to a co-broke agent to close a deal, we parted ways.
Have values, and stick with them. Words are cheap. Actions mean everything. Superstars might make your MLS stats look great, but if they are divas or jerks, do you really want them in the office? Have the backbone to say no.
3. Missing the blame game red flag
If someone is interviewing you and blaming the last broker (or a series of “last” brokers) — pay attention. Sure, the person is probably in front of you because their current broker is not giving them something that they want.
Something is missing in the office, or they wouldn’t be looking to leave. But if they blame the broker for everything (lack of sales, no leads, poor quality leads, etc.) you might be the next one they blame for their failures.
4. Not being clear on what makes you different
If the agent is searching for something — can you offer it to them? Don’t make promises you cannot keep. Sometimes the agent is looking for a higher split or lower fees. That’s a relatively simple comparison if you show them what they would have taken home (year to date) on your plan versus their current plan. That’s the easy work.
What else are they searching for that is not monetary? Dig in deeper than just looking at splits and fees. Then, be honest. Making promises you cannot keep quickly leads to problems.
5. Only focusing on dollars
It’s funny because I often see recruiting advertisements that promise higher splits or low, low fees, yet I honestly don’t want agents who are chasing that goal. I want agents who not only understand the financial end of splits and fees, but also understand the value my brand brings to the table.
Not everyone would do well with my arrangement. I get that. It’s client-centered first, not agent-centered. Agents receive a split — and the brokerage makes it rain. We provide leads and marketing materials and pay for lead gen for our agents.
Agents who want to work the leads and the system will do well, but agents who want to play a small monthly fee or want 100 percent commission are better off under a different broker umbrella. That’s OK. There’s room in this industry for all kinds of broker models.
I wish brokers would stop pushing the “low fees” message. It’s a race to the bottom! If you’re OK attracting agents who care only about how little they pay (and not how much a broker provides), then that’s your model. But it will lead to a battle of the cheapest, not a competition amongst the best.
6. Not showing your value to agents
Every broker is free to set up and do business however they see fit, as long as it is legal. I am open to new concepts and to all business models. As long as agents must hang their licenses with a broker, agents will have to choose a broker. To win their business — to have them join your company — don’t push “we are cheap.”
Promote your value. What do you do for agents that the competition does not do? What systems and tools do you have to offer? What training do you provide?
This year was extremely difficult for many agents. Yes, real estate in general had a fantastic year. But some agents in your market did not do so well. And some of them will be out and about in the next month or two trying to figure out if they should switch offices. Pay attention, and don’t just sign on every agent who is on the prowl.
Bad hires bring more problems than they are worth. At the very least, they upset the current agents if they don’t fit in with your culture and values. At the worst, they bring liability issues. Be selective. Take your time in hiring. And if you make a mistake in hiring, don’t be too proud to fix it.
One last tip: Just as agents are knocking on your door right now, some of your own agents might be on the fence. Pay attention to their moods, their production levels and small signs that they might not be happy.
Reach out now to talk to all of your agents about how they feel about 2020 and what their goals are for 2021. Recruiting goes both ways — and you should be re-recruiting the agents you do want to keep with you in the new year right now.