Brokers spend a lot of time recruiting new agents. With the high rate of churn among agents, it’s a necessity. But have you ever stopped to consider how much time you would save if you did a better job of retaining the agents you already have?
According to a recent Inman Special Report, “most agents at least think about leaving their brokerage for another, with more than a quarter saying they think about it ‘often’ or ‘every day.’”
When a quarter of your agents “often” think about heading down the street to a competing brokerage, that’s a real concern. For a broker, the trick is to figure out what agents actually want, because let’s face it, not only may different agents want different things from their brokerage, many agents aren’t quite sure what they want and will give conflicting answers when asked.
So what do agents want from you?
1. Provide Leads and Distribute Them Fairly
When asked, agents said that leads were the most valuable service not provided by their brokerage. Sixty-eight percent disagreed with the statement that their brokerage was good at generating leads – with 41% strongly disagreeing.
Every brokerage needs a strong website and a healthy social media presence to get leads for its agents. A good system for sending nurturing email drips and snail mail marketing pieces is also vital to keeping your agents top of mind when a previous client is ready to sell or purchase again.
If your brokerage is not generating enough leads via these avenues, you might consider purchasing leads for your agents through a service or via pay-per-click advertising (e.g., Google or Facebook ads). Expensive? Perhaps, but remember, agents feel this is the most valuable service that their brokerage is not providing. Generating leads gives you an edge over competitors who don’t, and it keeps you competitive against brokers who do.
As for the leads that brokerages do provide, a full 59% of agents complained that leads were not distributed fairly. This is a tricky issue for brokerages. After all, you want to convert leads to sales, and your top producers are going to be the ones to drive that. But if you route all your leads to the top producers, you’ll alienate steady producers and future top producers.
When you implement and rely and a lead-routing tool to distribute leads, you will immediately reduce the appearance of favoritism, as long as your agents see the routing rules as fair. The round-robin method, where leads are assigned in order, is an obvious way to eliminate favoritism. Everyone gets the same number of leads, so no one can complain.
A better choice for your brokerage’s revenues, though, may be the first-responder method. Each lead is offered to multiple agents, and the first agent to respond is the one who “wins” it. With this method, every agent gets a shot at the lead, making it fair, and it benefits brokers because your top producers are more likely to be the fastest responders anyhow.
2. Offer Useful Technology
When Inman asked agents why they’re at their current brokerage, “Respondents most often cited name recognition, brand, culture, support, ethics and reputation as reasons why they were at their current brokerage rather than with a competitor.” Notice that “technology” is nowhere to be found on that list. That made us do a double-take, to say the least. Emphasys is a software company, and we’ve seen time and again how the right technology benefits a brokerage’s recruiting and retention efforts.
If you look a little closer, though, you’ll see just how important technology is to agents. When asked, “What is the single most valuable service that your brokerage provides to you,” technology is one of the Big Three (brand/name recognition, training, technology). When rating the importance of technology on a scale of 1 to 10, 58% of respondents rated technology at 9 or 10. A quarter of them say that better technology would prompt them to leave their brokerage for a competitor.
So even if many agents don’t think of technology as one of the reasons they’re with their brokerage, their responses tell another story. Technology is always top of mind when it comes to the choice of whether to stay with their brokerage. Your offerings should always be top of mind for you as well.
3. Mentor Your Agents
The agents questioned often resented their brokerage’s strategy of focusing too much energy on recruiting warm bodies and not enough energy supporting the agents they already had. According to the report:
“Agents are hungry for mentoring. They say many brokerages seem too tightly focused on recruiting novice agents — and too tolerant of poorly performing agents — while failing to get the most out the agents they already have.”
Twenty percent of agents cited career mentoring as the most valuable service their brokerage doesn’t provide. Establish a mentoring program at your brokerage to build stronger teams and foster loyalty to your brand.
What’s Your Take?
These are just three of many effective strategies brokers can consider when it comes to retaining the agents on their team. What strategies do you rely on? Add your own tips below!