The key to success in attracting and retaining good agents lies in large part on a broker’s mindset, speakers said Wednesday at Inman Connect Las Vegas. And adopting a “we” instead of a “me” attitude.

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Agent recruiting and retention is one of those evergreen topics that brokerages return to again and again to consider how to improve upon them.

But what if the word “recruiting” itself is setting brokers up for failure?

Michael Valdes | eXp Realty

“I actually hate the word ‘recruiting,'” Michael Valdes, of eXp Realty, told the audience at Inman Connect Las Vegas on Wednesday. It was during a session that also included moderator Kymber Menkiti, of Keller Williams Capital Properties; and Troy Palmquist, of Doora Properties.

Valdes pointed out how the word itself has become very transactional — a tool implemented to get someone through the door at a company but not necessarily have anything else to do with them once they arrive. He prefers using “attraction” instead, which has more relational connotations.

“‘Recruiting’ is that corporate America word,” Palmquist agreed. “There’s a cost associated with it … Versus everything else we’ve heard this week, which is that this is a relationship business.”

Kymber Menkiti | The Menkiti Group at Keller Williams Capital Properties

Palmquist tries to attract agents to his brokerage by determining how he can provide them with value and then looping them into the community. He wore a sweatshirt to the session that read “An Honest Conversation About Recruiting and Retention in Today’s Market.” It had an image of two hands meeting in a circle and the text, “It’s always a ‘we,’ never a ‘me.'”

“I wore this sweatshirt because I wanted to prove a point,” he said. “If you’re providing value and looking at it as a ‘we,’ it’s a little different.”

Providing value to agents extends beyond simply throwing some miscellaneous tech at them, Palmquist continued, and it involves extending that service mindset beyond the agent to the agent’s client and helping the agent succeed by delivering to the end client.

That ‘we’ mindset should also extend to other companies and brokerages throughout the real estate industry, Valdes argued and should encourage everyone in the industry to embrace principles of trust and transparency.

“We collectively have to take care of one another because we’re in one industry,” he said. “Everyone has their differences, but you have to look at it from the macro.”

Technology, community and culture can also all play a role in retaining agents in a brokerage, the session’s speakers said.

“When you start thinking about culture, there’s that sense of belonging, so that becomes part of your retention,” Valdes said. “If you don’t have that sense of community in your organization, people will go someplace else.”

Troy Palmquist | DOORA Properties

Then Valdes echoed something that Palmquist had mentioned to him on a different occasion: “People don’t leave brokerages, they leave managers.”

At eXp, Valdes said that the brokerage’s virtual world, VirBELA, also helps agents in the brokerage connect from all over the world. It’s become so second nature for people to interact on the platform that Valdes said what often happens when people meet in person is they have trouble remembering if they’ve already done so on a different occasion, or if it’s only been on the virtual platform.

One of the key ways Palmquist strives to provide value for his agents is by helping them with their individual growth goals.

You really have to help an agent identify where they have growth potential and provide them with the resources to get there,” he said. He added that if there are a few agents within the brokerage who are not of a growth mindset, however, it does “muddy the waters.”

An entire brokerage needs to put forth an effort when it comes to retaining agents, Valdes said in closing.

“It’s the ‘we.'”

Email Lillian Dickerson

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