One of the questions every growth-oriented brokerage needs to ask itself early on and often is, “Why do agents leave their current brokerage?” When the answers come, leaders need to contemplate those answers with a real sense of openness and honesty about how their own company stacks up.
Thousands of agents joining our company inform us why agents leave a brokerage for another firm. These are their top five reasons:
1. They feel they have outgrown their current brokerage’s ability to satisfy their business needs. Agents deploy an array of strategies and sometimes develop a feeling that another brokerage aligns better with their way of doing business.
2. There are too many restrictive policies, practices and “office doctrines” in their current environment, which limit the entrepreneurial spirit.
3. Old and antiquated agent compensation methods reduce the brokerage’s value proposition. This especially applies to agents with low adoption of the brokerage’s tools and services.
4. Agents move to be in an environment in which they can advance their careers. Smaller operations can’t provide career diversity options available through large brokerages, e.g., mortgage financing, marketing, training, technology and principal broker leadership specializations.
5. Another company has successfully convinced them that the grass is greener on their side of the fence: more leads will be given to the agent, there is an easier path to higher income, more camaraderie within the brokerage, etc. Keeping agents well informed about productivity per agent, market share, actual lead conversion rates and cost, etc., is key to keeping them informed about other brokerages and preventing the spread of misinformation.
Proactively Address Reasons for Departures
We had an instance several years ago when a new company opened in town promising large “bonuses and very high commission splits” to our agents. Over a period of about a year, 15 of our 1,000-plus agents in that market decided to take them up on their cash payments for transferring. Over the next three years, 12 of those agents have returned, two are committed to returning and one retired out of the business.
Keep communication lines open by actively engaging with your agents. Watch closely for signs of disengagement and take action. An honest conversation early on can help you identify potential issues and resolve a problem before your competitors begin to make promises and lure agents away from you.
We are very fortunate that agent attrition to other companies from United Real Estate is very low. In addition, we have a very high return rate, which is attributable to the respect we show when an agent wants to try something else. The desire for change is normal and addressing the reasons for agent departures before they are enticed away is paramount to achieving healthy growth and prosperity for your brokerage.
Rick Haase is president of United Real Estate. For more information, contact him at Rick@UnitedReal-Estate.com or 504-251-3757, or visit www.GrowWithUnited.com.