In the second part of his two-part series, Chase Williams looks at the actionable steps you can take to make an impact on your retention.

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This is the second of a two-part series appearing in Broker Edge.

Now that we’re clear on the differences between retention and attrition, let’s look at the actionable steps you can take to make an impact on your retention.

The Gallup Organization interviewed 80,000 managers from 400 different companies regarding what makes a great work environment. These are the four themes that surfaced from their interviews:

  • Make people feel they matter
  • Provide clarity, alignment and relationship
  • Show care, encouragement and affirmation
  • Empower them to contribute and grow

So, how can you directly apply these themes to your real estate brokerage to retain your agents? 

Make people feel they matter

Understand the goals of each agent in your organization. They are all a little different. Do this in the recruiting process, during their onboarding and in your regular follow-ups with them. Asking someone about their goals and supporting their wins and achievements is one of the best ways to show someone they matter to you and that the organization is there to support them. You can use a simple needs analysis to accomplish this.

Provide clarity, alignment and relationship

Do agents know how to win in your company? Do they know the process for engaging in your value proposition? Show them, teach them and then tell them over and over and over again. You cannot over-communicate the “how” to win in your company. Don’t overwhelm them with all the ways they can win. Distill it down to the key things. 

Do your agents know what your mission, vision and values are for the company? Do you even have a clear mission, vision and values? If not, how do your agents know if there is alignment?

Be intentional and put in the work, as an owner and leader, to get these on paper. Communicate them. Then you can find alignment and build community around your guiding principles. Create lots of opportunities for your agents to connect and build relationships, both in productive ways around selling real estate (classes, masterminds, etc.) and social events.

Show care, encouragement and affirmation

Real estate agents are people, and people love recognition for their accomplishments. Even those who say they don’t, still love it. Create as many ways as possible to recognize your agents. Typically, I’m not a “participation trophy” fan. But in this case, everyone should get a trophy.

Not all recognition will be production-based, although that’s important and fairly simple to execute. Create additional awards and recognition for your culture champions, fun awards for those who are highly engaged or community-driven. “Most likely to be seen helping a peer” is an example of an award that affirms not only the winner but also the culture of the company. It’s hard to overdo this one and easy to underdo.

Empower them to contribute and grow

People love to be part of something bigger than themselves. They love to contribute to a winning team. Engage them in the decision-making. Treat them like stakeholders by asking for their input and opinions. After all, you are there to serve them, so don’t guess or decide – just ask.

You can set up an annual “associate council” and formalize it. You can hold regular “town hall meetings” to engage your agents and empower them to participate on a deeper level. Doing this requires humble leadership and a true desire to empower others. Beyond listening to their feedback, you also need to be open to enacting change within your organization based on their opinions — when they’re warranted and serve the mission.

On top of all these things, provide a productive environment. After all, we are in a commission-based sales business. You can love your agents all they want, but if they don’t sell real estate, you will be loving them into another job.

Provide ongoing training centered around skill and business development. Sure, you can (and should) train them on contracts, agreements, compliance, etc. This will build their competence. However, it won’t help them to find additional buyers and sellers.

As their leader, it’s up to you to teach them how to find, convert and close business. When it comes down to it, we are in the sales business, period. Celebrate production, talk about production, reward production. Don’t overlook the importance of this. We are serving people, creating lifetime clients, providing exceptional consumer experiences and we get paid when we close transactions. 

Building these themes into your company will make your brokerage sticky, and attractive, to agents. Gary Keller once told me to never underestimate the desire of people to be on a winning team. The above items are just some of the fundamentals to winning.

All the trick plays in the world are no good without the fundamentals. Master those retention fundamentals, and you’ll be laughing at the industry averages. Whether you are laughing all the way to the bank or laughing on your way to creating a powerful legacy, you will have built a brokerage that no one wants to leave.

Chase Williams is the co-founder of NW Wealthbuilders and growth leader for the Keller Williams Northwest Region. Connect with him on Facebook or LinkedIn.

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