Panelists at Inman Connect New York discuss how in addition to beefing up services for agents, brokers should keep in mind what’s motivating many of them: the entrepreneurial itch.

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When competing for agents and fighting to retain them, brokers often focus on the services and support their brokerage can provide.

But four experts say broker-owners should also ask themselves how they can help their agents reach their long-term career goals — including owning their own business someday — and support them on the winding and sometimes emotional journey to the top. 

Kendall Bonner, owner of RE/MAX Capital Realty in Florida, explored this topic Wednesday with Ryan Raveis of William Raveis Real Estate; Jason Aleem of Redfin; and Chris Suarez of Place.

Their comments at Inman Connect New York on Wednesday centered on what agents really want from their brokerage.

“That’s been always the broker-agent battle,” Suarez, Place’s co-founder and co-CEO, told the audience. “Why they leave, is that moment where they feel like, ‘Hey, I’m just an agent here, but I want to be you when I grow up.’ And we need to allow them to be that in the industry.”

Raveis, who serves as co-president of his company, said brokers should be aware of what’s motivating their agents in the long run. 

“Agents want to be entrepreneurs — they want to build something,” said Raveis, who serves as co-president at his company. “If you’re looking to expand your value as a brokerage, yes, provide the services. But provide the support, and the emotional support also.”

The services a brokerage offers to its agents can be a critical part of their expansion of their brand, their social media presence and other aspects of building their business, Bonner said. The so-called ancillary services are best viewed as opportunities for partnership between the broker and agent, she said.

“I remember a transition I had in my mindset as a broker-owner when I stopped thinking about my agent as my customer, and starting thinking of them as my partner,” Bonner said. “That’s a more strategic relationship that we should be having with our agents.”

This advice primarily applies to established agents who are able to generate leads and are looking to build on their established networks. For new agents, the best type of support will look different, said Aleem, who was recently promoted to his company’s senior vice president of real estate operations.

New agents at Redfin want customers, Aleem said, but they also want the training and support that a brokerage can offer them in the early stage of their career. 

“Our fight is to figure out, how do we get more of those new agents to get through the process of growing their business and reach that level of stability where they get to that partner level,” Aleem said.

Email Daniel Houston

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