by Hall of Fame Speaker Floyd Wickman
Turnover is a fact of life in real estate. Sooner or later, everyone leaves the business. But when your agents are lured away from your company by a competitor, that's another story.
The agent poachers are out there - prowling open houses, Board functions, con-ed classes and license schools.
Short of isolating your agents, what can be done to guard and protect against recruiting predators? Here are 5 sure-fire answers.
1. Put out the WELCOME BACK mat.
It hurts when someone leaves you for a competitor, but it helps to know that they will rarely make more money. In most cases, leaving for a better split doesn't increase income.
Know your numbers. One of my clients followed every agent who left for a better split, and 76% actually made less money!
Knowing this makes it easier and more sincere to say, "The door is always open for your return." But you have to mean it. And show it.
Sometimes they are too embarrassed to take the first step back. Sometimes they don't even know they are welcome back.
What did the Biblical father do when the Prodigal Son returned? He didn't skimp. He "rejoiced" and celebrated with a feast.
"We hate to see you go, but certainly wish you the best. Personally, I hope you become one of the few exceptions to the rule, and that you actually do end up making more money. But, if it turns out not to be the case, or if you miss what we have here, I want you to know the door is always open for your return, and we would gladly welcome you back."
2. Compliment co-brokes.
Write a sincere thank you note to each co-broke agent who sells one of your company listings, or who provided a listing for one of your agents to sell.
Dear (CO-BROKE NAME)
Thank you for helping us sell 123 Happy Hollow and getting the Wocjiekowski family moved. My agent, Shirley, told me how impressed she was with your ______. We look forward to working with you again.
Sincere best wishes,
If you were to write one thank you note a day, five days a week, fifty weeks a year, taking two weeks vacation and weekends off, you would write 250 a year, and 1000 every four years.
What is the effect of 1000 sincere acts of gratitude? In the short term, you will feel great. In the long term, you will organically attract all of the people you want, and create a reservoir of good will. Smoother closings. Happier agents.
3. Get your new agents producing quicker.
Floyd Wickman teaches us that "listings are the name of the game," and the key to quicker production in new people is to "make them strong at the basics first." That means get them working on listings right away. Day one.
Make your list. Who do you know? Call them. Send them something. Go see them. Ask them, "Who do you know…?" It's not rocket science.
Have new people call on expired listings and For Sale By Owners. Find out early if they have the desire and the instincts. As Lee Iacocca said in his biography, "There are two things you can't tell about a person from a job interview: fire in the belly and street smarts."
Give them an open house. Talk to ALL of the neighbors in advance.
Have them canvas around recent listings and sales.
In other words, get new people talking to people. That is the #1 basic in selling.
Use the tried and true training method of Tell them - Show them - Have them show you - Repeat until skillful.
This is how to make people "independent of you, rather than dependent on you," and why the good ones will stay with you.
4. Get your veteran low producers back into production.
For new agents, the solution to quick production is to train them up. For veteran agents who need to produce, but aren't producing, the solution is to coach them up.
(By the way, I hope you noticed the qualifier in that sentence - for veteran agents who need to produce. I don't believe there is anything that can be done to help or motivate low producers who have no need to produce. As long as they are not hurting your image, your authority or your overall company morale, leave them alone.)
Coaching up a veteran agent is a matter of "inspecting what you expect," as Floyd says.
You start by making sure they have a goal. Then together you convert that goal into the activity they need to do. And then regularly track, monitor and analyze their activity and results with them.
Take another look at the Weekly Report we use in the Floyd Wickman Program. Have your veterans bring their numbers to you once a week. Sit down with them and go over their progress. Numbers will take all the guesswork out of it for both of you.
5. Turn your company right side up.
I see too many organizations with a lopsided top half - a handful of big producers wagging the dog. Management is so busy placating and giving them special treatment, they sometimes don't see how precarious a position that puts them in.
What would happen to most offices if the top 20% of their agents left or stopped producing? Devastation. When one of them sneezes, you catch pneumonia!
The solution to turning your company right side up is to quickly and dramatically increase the number of agents in the top half of production, not by poaching them away from your competition, but by growing them organically from within. As Floyd says, "Build from the bottom."
In other words, repeat #3 and #4 above. Get your new agents producing quicker; and get your veteran low-producers back into production.
That is exactly what we specialize in doing for our clients. 82% of our students start The Floyd Wickman Program in the bottom half of production. Within one year, two out of three have joined the top half of production.
No organization is recruiting-proof. But when you build a reputation for gratitude and appreciation - when you become known as the place to go to learn the business and get started quickly - when you show the world you can rehabilitate and revive stalled careers - you will never again have to worry about the normal comings and goings of the independent contractor.