Understanding Why Agents Switch Brokerages

At its fundamental level, recruiting real estate agents to come work at your brokerage is very simple.  You need to convince the prospective agent that their life and career will be better at your brokerage. That may sound broad, but there are only four factors that cause anyone to stay at or leave any job.  Let’s take a look at those reasons and how they apply to recruiting real estate agents.

The Golden Goose: Earning Potential

It’s an open secret that people are largely motivated by financial gain. For agents, this could take various forms. It could be a higher commission rate, it could be marketing support, it could be company generated leads, or it could be something else entirely.  All of these distill down to: “I want to make more money.” Understanding this core motivator will help you tailor your conversation.  

Here’s a scenario: You’re having a recruiting conversation with a prospect and they say “Can you beat my 95% commission rate?” Instead of saying “No.” And letting that be the end of the conversation, you can understand that more money is their core focus right now, and you can attempt to continue the conversation. “Let me ask you something, which is more important to you? That you can say you have a 100% commission rate, or that at the end of your year your take home money is greater than it was last year? The commission rate I can offer you is XX, but we’re going to help you earn more money by A, B, C.  If you are committed to a 100% commission rate we can end the conversation here, but if you’re still interested we can talk more about how we’ll help you earn more.”

The Ladder to Success: Training and Support

Most real estate agents aren’t making enough money to justify why they got into real estate.  People don’t join 100% commission industries to make $35k-$75K. They do it because they dream of making 6 figures or more. Many of these agents are looking for the brokerage that will help them learn how to be better at real estate. “Can you teach me to market myself and do more deals? I want to be more busy, how can I generate more leads?”  Be prepared to be able to prove that you are great at helping agents level up.

The Secret Sauce: Company Culture

Culture isn’t usually the main reason someone switches brokerages, but when it comes to retention its importance can’t be overstated. Many agents remain in less-than-ideal positions simply because they relish the culture of their current company.  I have done hundreds of interviews, and I’ve hear so many times: “I would leave my brokerage, but I don’t want to leave the people I work with.” Conversely, if the culture is really bad, it makes it very easy for agents to be enticed or driven away.

Company culture is a triad: colleagues, environment, and management. A toxic culture could push away even the most dedicated agents. On the flip side, a healthy culture can act as a powerful magnet. The negative example would be a brokerage where the employees approach business as if it were ‘Every Man For Himself’ and steal leads from each other, the office is sh!thole and agents are embarrassed to meet there, and agents distrust the leadership team.  The other side of the coin is brokerage where agents are friends and work together to help each other, they love the office space, and have a strong working relationship with the leadership team.  

While culture will only be the main motivating factor for a few real estate agents to join your team, when it matters, it really matters.  Also a strong company culture is an effective shield from having your agents poached by competitors.

The Next Big Step: Career Advancement

The last reason people switch careers or jobs is a search for a place where they can advance their career. Most real estate brokerages don’t have this so you don’t HAVE to compete on this level. But if you can, you really set yourself apart from other brokerages when it comes to recruiting.  In order to have advancement opportunities in your brokerage, you need to determine the limits of your goals as a brokerage.  If you are content reaching a certain point and coasting from there, you’re probably not going to be able to offer much in the way of advancement opportunities.  If your goal is to shatter your glass ceiling and continually find ways to grow, then you’ve got room to offer growth opportunities.  A conversation around career advancement might look like this: “We are always growing, and since we’re always growing, I have a continual need for leaders in real estate. Once you’ve proven you’ve mastered being an agent and can continually generate leads and close transactions, I want to start teaching you new industry skills. I want to teach you to train and recruit other agents to be as good as you are. Master those leadership skills and I’ll put you in charge of an office for you to grow. You’ll gain commission overrides on your team and the office you manage.” 

Providing career advancement opportunities is not necessary to compete or recruit effectively. However, if you can offer advancement opportunities, recruiting producing real estate agents gets easier, and building your business gets easier.  Once you have agents on the management track, you aren’t alone anymore in growing your business. They sky’s the limit for your brokerage.

Any reason for an agent’s transition from their current brokerage to yours will fall under one of these four motivational pillars. Your task, as a recruiter, is to pinpoint their priorities. That means your recruitment strategy should hinge on empathetic listening. Once you understand their key interests, it’s your duty to convince them that you brokerage is their best bet.

If you’d like further insights on these elements or need advice on your recruitment strategy, feel free to contact me. I’d be more than happy to assist!

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