When you’re running a team of agents and property managers, it’s important that you have their loyalty. But why is this important?
Summer is a popular time for agents to move to another agency or go out on their own. After a year of hard slog, even the best and most well-balanced agents suffer from end-of-year ennui and decide the grass looks greener somewhere else.
Keep your team motivated and on board
As real estate agents, we spend so much of our time building personal relationships with all types of vendors – past, present and future. We play the long game, hoping that these relationships will bear fruit down the track. If these home sellers like and trust us, and we stay in touch with them with useful information, we’ll be top of mind when it comes time to sell.
Part of the trust we engender is derived from the corporate brand. Many big real estate brands have been around for over a century. They’re familiar, recognised brands with the heft of history to back them up.
However, today the individual brand is becoming stronger than loyalty to a corporate brand. People buy and sell homes through people, not through a brand or business.
Assess why your staff may be looking elsewhere
Most agency principals accept the reality that they’ll have a high staff turnover (and mostly in Sales rather than in Property Management). But why?
To answer this question, we should ask ourselves some other questions:
- Are sales agents merely removing themselves from a work environment that doesn’t suit them or are they, in fact, moving to a new brand they feel has more potential?
- Are more agents and principals changing brands, franchises and networks than ever before? Why would this be? What is the main catalyst?
- How attractive are current commission structures and how likely is a competitor to target our staff and sway top performers their way?
- Why do sales agents change agencies more regularly than property managers?
This last question is perhaps the easiest to answer. In a world of uncertainty, it’s much easier to commit to a brand if you have a regular salary that comes with doing your job. The sales side of real estate is more volatile, and property cycles mean volume varies from year to year, and the commission percentages differ wildly from brand to brand, and agency to agency.
Key reasons sales agents (and principals) jump ship
Sales agents (and to a slightly lesser extent, principals) have a number of triggers that include:
1. Dissatisfaction with fee splits
More brands coming into the market offer bigger fee splits so agents and principals are lured to a new agency/brand with the promise of retaining more of their hard-won dollars.
2. Personality conflicts in the current business/office
In any workplace, there’s bound to be some conflict. Team-building activities can pay off with better staff retention rates.
3. Values aren’t aligned with those of the principal of the business
Perhaps head office or the agency changes the office rules. They might change the prospecting area or another factor that can seriously impair a sales agent’s ability to succeed.
4. Feelings of being treated unfairly
Sometimes another agent is given perks for performing well. Possibly the principal has given more leads to the higher-performing agent or favoured a particular staff member. That leads to dissatisfaction and a feeling of betrayal.
5. An offer comes along that’s too good to pass up
The sales agent might be offered a partnership in another business or an equity share in someone else’s business (what we like to call “Golden Handcuffs”).
6. Unable to negotiate with the current agency and principal
This is common not only to real estate agents; it’s common with all careers. It’s easier to start afresh in a new agency rather than try to change the perception of increased value.
7. Staff want to align themselves with a particular style of brand
Agents who feel they’ve established themselves as a trusted personal brand might feel ready to move to a more prestigious style of agency; one that claims to have “six-star service” or only sell a certain style of home.
8. The corporate brand and technology is outdated
When the corporate brand is still moored in the 1950s, the agent can find it difficult to secure listings because of public perception. If the local competition is a young, fresh brand, the established brands can appear tired and out of touch. If office technology hasn’t kept up, and the marketing isn’t managed well to take advantage of social media or to follow up leads, agents have to work harder for the same outcome.
9. Head office overpromising and under delivering
Traditionally a franchise head office took care of brand marketing, technology solutions and sales training, to name just a few centrally managed services. But over time it’s become easier, cheaper and more effective to focus on localised marketing, licence 3rd party software and engage training directly from a plethora of real estate industry coaches. Hence, many agents and principals are now left wondering what value they receive from head office managing these areas of their business on their behalf.
Secrets of retaining a loyal team
It starts with respect. We don’t treat our agents as income generators first and people second. We spend time training them, mentoring and nurturing them so they feel valued. They become part of our valuable real estate family and they’re confident we’ll support them in their career aspirations.
We understand that people new to the industry need guidance so generally, we partner a newcomer with an established agent to show them the ropes.
We also ensure that all our agents (especially our established and proven agents) have all they need on the operational and admin side. We want them to focus on doing what they’re good at without being frustrated by clunky systems and processes.
In a harmonious office with top-class leadership and technology, agents are far less likely to be lured away by money and fee structures alone.