There is nothing more devastating to a brokerage than losing a top performer. Many times these departures come as a total surprise that leaves the company scrambling to find ways to get them to change their mind and to stop more top producers following them out the door.
So what can brokerages do to stop this painful bleeding that happens all too often?
Here are a few suggestions that have proven to be successful.
- Ask for Anonymous Feedback
We have worked with brokerages fielding surveys to get their agents’ input for everything from the technologies offered, the quality of yard signs to the aesthetics of the office. Sometimes it’s much easier for agents to voice their opinion via a survey instead of talking to you directly. These surveys have helped some of our clients uncover problem areas before they became too serious or led to a departure. They have found out what technologies are not working, troublesome relationships with office/sales managers, frustrating office situations, conflicts with other agents, etc. Heading off these problems before they become too troublesome can be the best way to keep them in the game with you.
- “Office Hours”
One of the brokers we work with has “office hours” just like your professors did in college. She is available to discuss any topic, suggestion or complaint that is on the minds of their agents. She takes notes and has an assistant sit-in so the agent knows that the issue is being recorded and taken seriously. They keep a running list of the suggestions/issues and then circle back with the agents every two weeks with progress updates. This has proven to head off a lot of problems and has helped them tap into the brains of their agents to identify amazing suggestions.
- Constantly Promoting Your Own Programs
We hear way too many times that an agent left because their competitor was going to give them free Zillow ads, a new social media tool or provide some other program hyped up by the competition. Agents too often forget about the programs that you offer them and instead choose the “shiny object” being offered by the competition. Brokerages are great at creating focus on programs designed to help homes, but they often forget to effectively promote the programs they offer their agents. Without constant promotion of your technologies, support services, events, community involvements, etc. agents will forget about them and not give your brokerage credit for all of the ways that you are helping them grow their business.
- Top Producer Meetings
While it would be great to be able to meet with every one of your agents regularly, that may not be realistic. It does make sense though to be sure that you are communicating regularly with every one of your top producers or ascending agents to be sure they know you care, you’re listening to their needs and that you will go to bat for them in ways that they need you to. Ideally set a regular rotation where you are meeting with each one of them individually at least once a quarter. Brokers are always pulled in a million directions, but taking the time to care and nurture your Top Producers will definitely pay off. Some of our clients actually involve top producers in company planning sessions, and leadership retreats to be sure the voices of the most important agents are being heard in meaningful ways in addition to regular meetings.
- State of the Brokerage Events/Communications
Delivering monthly State of the Brokerage updates can be really helpful on a lot of levels. First it can be a great way to underline the value and power of your brand and reinforce your core principles about service, professionalism and support of clients. Second, it can be a great way to celebrate successes – closed transactions, new hires, community events, press, etc. Third, it can be a great way to subtly remind everyone of the programs, training, technologies and support you are providing to them and promoting upcoming training events. Fourth, it’s a simple way to provide competitive updates to keep your team up to speed on the best ways to position your firm positively against others. This should NOT be a time for competitor bashing, though. Keep it positive and light. Negativity will come back to bite you. Finally, state of the brokerage events can be used it can be a great way to keep your team up to speed on industry trends, consumer needs, market statistics and any information that will help your agents be more prepared to talk to their clients. WAV Group offers a quarterly program called the “WAVes of Change” that some of our clients use as a way to keep their agents looped in on key issues.
If you have additional suggestions about the best ways to retain your key agents, we would love to hear from you!