It’s retention. How’s that for cutting right to the chase?
I’ve heard my entire real estate career that agents only stay at a brokerage for an average of three years. And while that is certainly true in some cases, I have had the pleasure to work closely with and see under the hood of brokerages all over the US and Canada and I’m here to tell you…it definitely doesn’t have to be that way.
Retaining your existing agents is not only a heck of a lot easier than recruiting, it saves you money and time as well. And aren’t they really one in the same? According to the website edume.com (I don’t know, it looked legit…) the average cost per hire is around $4,000 between the actual cost, HR time, and training efforts. That’s also not including the cost of your recruiting efforts per hire. A lack of effort on your part to retain, nurture, and grow this investment would be just poor business sense.
Your success as a team hinges on your ability to acquire top talent but also to retain it. A stable, committed team will boost productivity across the entire organization while also enhancing the reputation and profitability of the entire team and brokerage. Retaining experienced agents ensures that your client relationships have continuity, as clients often seek the guidance of familiar faces when it comes to large transactions like buying or selling a home. Longer-term relationships build trust, which also generates repeat business and referrals.
When agents work together for an extended period of time, they develop a deep understanding of each other’s strengths to work as a team and create a synergy that significantly impacts your overall team performance. They’ll know that Mike may not be the best at social media, but he’s going to win at the listing table every. single. time. and he’s willing to coach you up before your appointment. And they will know to go to Amber because she’s the social media guru and loves to give you tips on how to grow your audience.
Now, retention isn’t easy. It takes a lot of effort to maintain a long-term relationship and you can’t be everything to everyone. Yes, despite your best efforts, life will take some agents elsewhere or out of the industry completely. But by giving taking care of your people a good honest try, you will be well on your way to developing a team that wants to stick around and grow together.
Here are some suggestions to consider as you work to improve your agent retention efforts:
👩🏫 Invest in Professional Development
Provide ongoing training and development opportunities to keep your team engaged and motivated. Encourage them to grow and expand their skill set, stay updated on industry trends, and pursue certifications that can help them grow their book of business.
😊 Establish a Positive Work Environment
Foster a positive and inclusive workplace culture where agents feel valued and supported. Establish regular team-building activities, open communication channels, and recognition of achievements and things done right to contribute to a sense of belonging.
🏃♂️ Competitive Compensation and Incentives
Your compensation structure should be competitive within the industry and consider implementing performance-based incentives to reward your top performers as well. If you create an environment where it’s easy to sell a lot of houses but your agents HAVE to sell a lot of houses in order to make a decent living, retention will remain a challenge for your organization. Recognizing and appreciating your team’s hard work help them to feel acknowledged and motivated to continue delivering exceptional results for both the team and your clients. Take care to show them this appreciation year-round, not just at the end-of-year awards ceremony!
🏡 Flexible Work Arrangements
Life-work balance isn’t a myth and by leading with flexibility to allow agents to perform their duties well at work and at home will make it easier for people to stay and not have to leave for family reasons. Offering flexible work arrangements and staying in tune to the needs of your team will demonstrate that you understand and respect their individual circumstances and responsibilities outside of real estate.
👔 Help Your Team Identify Career Pathways
Assist your agents in creating a business plan for this year and a five year plan so that they have a clear understanding of their advancement opportunities both within the team and as a real estate professional. This gives your team a sense of direction and purpose which motivates them to stay committed to their roles. Taking the time to know and understand the motivation and goals of your agents will help you support them in reaching those goals. Not everyone wants to create their own team or brokerage, for some making a great living and having more time with their family is the driver.
📚 Provide Training and Support Systems
None of this works if the internal systems of your business are not strong and in place. Strong onboarding, training systems, support during transactions, mentorship opportunities, SOPs for how to work leads, hold open houses and all other real estate activities are all things that you should have in place and easily accessible to your agents. Reviewing these resources regularly at your team meetings and pouring into your folks to teach them everything you can will also result in higher retention rates.
Other companies are recruiting your people as you read this, making a concerted effort to retain or re-recruit your own agents will create an environment and culture so strong and nurturing that they won’t even entertain the conversation. You can do it, just get started and chip away at the things you need to do and the systems you need to create. Keep going, continuity is the secret to success!