Three powerful agent retention strategies

— Weichert Franchise

Weichert® shares what works for brokerages, time and time again.

What’s the hardest part of having rockstar real estate agents on your team? You guessed it: keeping them. All the time and resources you spend on developing agents or acquiring top-notch talent is only one part of the talent equation. A systematic approach for agent retention will avoid a revolving door, keeping your brokerage in top position.

Here are three strategies for talent retention to keep your best people in place.

Stage 1: Nip it before it happens

Why should retaining your best people be one of your top priorities? Agent retention measures the quality of a brokerage more accurately than the size of its agent base, the total number of homes it sells each year, or the average annual commission of its agents. Agent retention is how you invest in the long-term success of your brokerage and is a key area in which we coach our affiliate brokerages at Weichert.

According to Retilix, a data science company for the real estate brokerage management community, the number of years an agent has in real estate is the biggest determinant of switching brokerages.

Real Trends expounds on this research and states, “Agents in their first year in business are often too overwhelmed to consider changing offices, but the risk jumps dramatically for agents in their second and third years. Agents remain at a higher-than-average risk of moving until they reach their eighth year in the business. After the eighth year, they become less likely to move for the rest of their careers.”

The statistics support the importance of taking a holistic look at your entire business “system.” Does it include everything an agent—particularly those not yet over eight years in business—would need to be successful and happy at your brokerage? You can answer that question honestly by taking an inventory. How confident are you in each area of your business? Would it be hard for an agent to walk away from what you offer in any of the following areas?

  • Technology
  • Tools & support
  • Coaching & development
  • Branding
  • Culture
  • Personally rewarding environment

And remember, aiming retention at all agents, even those in their first three years of the business, means that you’re nurturing and retaining your future stars.

Stage 2: Navigate “oh no” conversations

An agent says to you, “Got a minute?” Or even worse, they say this in a text or email. Ouch! Right way, you’re in an “oh no” place because your instincts tell you that a tough conversation is about to happen—one which may lead to an agent telling you that they’re leaving your brokerage. How do you handle this?

To prepare for these conversations, study your competition. Know what they offer, from compensation to culture. When you understand what else is out there tantalizing your team, you can think through ways to retain agents.

Also be prepared to show your agents the math, and how the switch may not make a difference for the better. In fact, leaving your brokerage might adversely affect their business. Help them think beyond just one aspect of the switch. Focus on the cost of the transition: Will they lose valuable support and services? Lose access to technology and resources to prospect and generate leads? Miss out on critical opportunities? End up making less?

Granted, these conversations can be hard. That’s why Weichert provides our affiliates with professional scripts to help guide the dialogue. With the right prep work under your belt, you can potentially turn the course of these conversations and walk away with a favorable outcome.

Stage 3: Know the line you’ll draw

You’ve done all you can in the first two stages for agent retention. Even with your best efforts, your agent may still be determined to go. How do you respond? What line will you draw? At the end of the day, everyone should feel heard and happy with their decision—you included. But you can think about what your line in the sand is ahead of time to put you in a better position to negotiate.

It’s the old risk-benefit analysis. Weigh the pros and cons of your response and determine how it may impact your business in the short and long term.

Areas for negotiation can include:

  • Salary and bonuses
  • Personal development
  • Work-life balance changes

And if they leave, it doesn’t have to be the end of the dialogue. Stay in touch. Periodically let them know they are missed and keep the door open for them to come back.

Bringing on great agents is a critical step for your success but keeping them is where the real power lies. Today, more than ever, agent retention is something we must all strive for. Weichert can support you through all three stages of agent retention, especially the “nip it before it happens” stage by helping you have a system in place that gives your agents what they want most—leadership, prestige, opportunity, coaching, and technology.

The keys to developing a solid agent retention plan can be at your fingertips with Weichert. Contact us to start a conversation.

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