If your brokerage isn’t a well-oiled machine, a crack in your operation may open a trickle of departing agents that soon turns into a stream emptying your talent pool. If that’s the case, you need to find ways to quickly seal the leak. Agents are leaving, but they don’t have to go if you solve some issues.
Problem: Imposing Fees
It’s not unusual for brokers to charge a fee for some services, like maintaining a mobile listing site or featuring listings on realtor.com®. And while some agents may prefer paying a fee over doing it themselves, others, particularly younger agents, may prefer to do the work, said Max Pigman, senior vice president and chief ambassador at realtor.com®.
“On the Gen Y spectrum, those agents already have those techniques and habits down,” Pigman said. “They would see it as a negative to charge them a fee for what they’re already doing on their phone at Starbucks.”
Solution: A Choice to Opt-In
Instead of imposing a fee for all agents, develop a system where agents can opt-in to certain services. For example, instead of hiring an administrative assistant to handle the back-end work for every agent, let the agents decide if they want to pool together to cover the service fee needed to hire a shared assistant.
“It creates a neat way to retain agents,” Pigman said. “If they like the services being provided, they certainly don’t want to create that wheel somewhere else. They think, ‘I can’t take that assistant with me.’ ”
Problem: Unnecessary Overhead Fees
A large brick-and-mortar office building may seem impressive, but the overhead fees required can dig into bottom lines, and you may not even need one. Big office buildings used to evoke a sense of pride and accomplishment––kind of a proof of success, according to Pigman. Older agents may value it, but younger agents may not care as much.
“Many younger people don’t care about or want a big company. It’s nice to have, but the majority of
If your large overhead fees are squeezing agents out, you may want to consider downsizing, then putting that saved money into online real estate.
“If I were a broker owner, I’d be looking at how do I create a place that’s functional but not have this huge monthly rent,” Pigman said. “I would spend that money on SEO and SEM so I have a great perception online, and shift those offline marketing dollars to online spending.”
Problem: Not Bringing in New Talent
As Pigman noted, bringing in new and younger agents is vital. And not bringing in new talent is a problem, even if your current agents aren’t leaving.
If you are having a problem recruiting younger agents, your brokerage might not be technologically appealing to the younger demographic, or you might not be offering the right services.
Solution: Getting Plugged In
Figure out what kind of technology you use and what you might be missing. Consider offering virtual meetings and paperless operations or adding cutting-edge email services, like BombBomb, which allows your agents to send video emails to clients and provides analytics on client responses. You can also manage lead activity and maximize conversion ROI with FiveStreet.
However, anticipate the possibility of pushback from agents who may not be technologically inclined.
“There are a number of things that agents don’t want to learn but can’t ignore,” Pigman said.
If this applies to your agents, consider offering training and hiring an IT professional to assist with day-to-day issues.
“I’ve seen lots of brokers do this to show older generations. They do this, and they realize their agents won’t go anywhere,” Pigman said.
By providing support for common tech problems before they happen, agents are less likely to become frustrated, and more likely to learn the new system and feel like a valuable asset.