Keep Your Agents by Keeping Them Engaged
Chiyoko Kakino, Senior Vice President of Brand Growth, CENTURY 21 Canada, and host of The Real Estate: Real Success Podcast
It can be a scary statistic for new agents, but it’s the truth –on average, approximately 35% of new agents make it to their third year. This spans provinces, brands, and even changing housing markets, but is there any way to change it?
I sat down with Gary Busch, one of our brokerage owners in Saskatoon to hear his thoughts on how to beat this statistic and discovered that his office is already ahead of the curve. At CENTURY 21 Fusion, 70% of new agents make it to their third year and it all comes down to implementing strategies for onboarding, development and engagement, making sure that no agent falls through the cracks.
1. Start strong on Day One
“An agent joins your office with knowledge from their real estate course, but they don’t actually know how to sell,” Gary explains. In his experience, new agents want to jump in headfirst and find the biggest listings they can get, but what they really need is a solid foundation of skills. “That’s where onboarding comes in. They need to know the basics to move onto the next level. You’ve got to learn how to run an open house, how to talk to people, how construction works.”
A lot of onboarding programs don’t go further than a few Zoom meetings outlining what training programs are available, but a more hands-on approach will make an agent feel like part of a team from the get-go and give a good broker the chance to not only teach them the fundamentals, but connect them with essential staff. “New agents are given ‘passports’, which takes them through business essentials while connecting them with different people in the office,” Gary explains. “We don’t leave anyone out, and my staff can sit down with each agent one-on-one and walk them through their department. It’s a bit of a culture shock, but they need the building blocks, and to build those up you have to start at the bottom.”
2. The job’s not done once they know the ropes
So you’ve done everything you can to set your new agent up for success – does the job end there? Absolutely not! Agents are constantly learning and growing, and a big part of success in retention is recognizing that they still need guidance even as they settle into a new brokerage. “We have constant professional development classes,” says Gary. “We aren’t just teaching how to open a lock box, we discuss business philosophies, we have in-house lawyers and condo professionals to offer expertise, and it’s ongoing learning all the time.”
This philosophy of ongoing development will result in excited and engaged agents who recognize their broker’s commitment to helping them grow, and as a result not only stay loyal, but become valuable sources of success testimonials for future recruits.
“I see my agents as my clients, and my staff and I will do whatever we can to get them comfortable with our programs. We’ll take the scariness out of all the technology, sit down with them one-on-one to teach them what they need to know, and that not only creates loyalty, it creates a better agent.” Also offering an in-house marketing team to let agents focus on the nuts and bolts of getting and selling listings, Gary’s methods prove that providing value to agents results in long-term dedication.
3. Build a culture that leaves an impression
Once you’re doing everything you can to help agents grow and develop, I want to encourage you to take a page out of Gary’s book and think about your company culture. “We’re always looking to do things that treat people like family,” Gary says. “No agent is just a name or a number, we are transparent with them, we tell them how our business is going. Weekly meetings are very important to us, and we spend a lot of time preparing for each one to make it as engaging as possible so that they’re open to sharing their ideas.”
It’s not all business though, and the CENTURY 21 Fusion ‘Fun Committee’ is hard at work year-round planning social events, from the Christmas party to family barbeques to hockey and lacrosse games. You might even see their branded caravan bus coming down the street on a way to a team event! A culture of collaboration and openness keeps agents engaged and helps them see that they have a broker willing to go the extra mile to ensure their company is a place that takes care of its own.
In talking to Gary, it’s clear that the work he and his team have put into onboarding and training is paying off, but none of it would be possible without a broker who genuinely cares enough to put in the effort with every agent. If a broker wants to see their new recruits succeed well into their fifth or tenth year, they need to reach out. Have an open door policy and make the time to check in, whether that’s five minutes, or two hours. Send updates about the company and help them feel like they have a stake in its success from the very moment they walk through the front doors.
I hope any broker who wants to get their agents more engaged finds inspiration in Gary’s strategies for success. And if you’re an agent who might be new to the industry, maybe that three-year statistic doesn’t seem so scary if you’re willing to work with your broker to chart a path for success.
If you’d like to hear more stories from leaders in our network sharing the best practices they’ve learned over their careers, you can check out episodes of The Real Estate: Real Success Podcast on your preferred podcast platform.
As we approach the end of the year, many real estate agents are evaluating their brokerage. They’re reflecting back and asking themselves “How did my brokerage support me? How did they help me grow my business”? They are also looking forward to the new year and wondering what they need to be successful in 2023. In many cases, this situation presents a perfect opportunity to showcase the value of your leadership and your brokerage.
Here are 11 things that you can do to recruit more agents to your brokerage:
1. Use online job boards, like Indeed, to generate leads.
This is one of most effective ways to show that you are open for business and ready to welcome new Realtors. Make sure that when you are building the ads, you play around with different headlines until you find one that works. Then, stick with it! You’ll get tired of the headline much quicker than the people reading your ads.
2. Make 5 calls a day with 2 of them being people you haven’t met before.
Create daily goals that are achievable and schedule the time off in your calendar to make the calls. No one really likes to do cold calls, but once you’ve made a few of them, you’ll remember that real estate professionals love to talk!
3. Be an open book on social media and showcase your personality.
Figure out ways that you can best communicate your culture on social media. It may mean taking photos of your weekly meetings or your training sessions. Realtors want to join a brokerage that aligns with their values, so it is important that you find ways to showcase your brokerage’s culture. In addition, how can you best communicate what type of leader you are? Is it a video that talks about the changes in the market or your commitment to training? Whatever it may be, start to paint a picture of what it would be like if someone joined your brokerage.
4. Know your audience on social media.
It is critical to identify who you are communicating with on social media. If you know who you’re communicating to, you can provide them with content that is valuable. If your followers on your Instagram or LinkedIn account are Realtors in the industry and not consumers, then you’ll want to be posting “Realtor-centric” information, not listings.
5. Lead by example – do the recruiting yourself!
One way to ensure that you surround yourself with the people that you enjoy working with is to do the recruiting yourself. This will demonstrate to your management team that you are serious about growing your business and you are willing to roll up your sleeves and do the work!
6. Attend industry network and training events.
Networking and training events are great places to meet new people in the industry. Make sure you are dressed for success, have business cards and a notepad with a pen. Take good notes after you’ve had a conversation with someone so you can follow up later.
7. Fine-tune your recruiting presentation.
Figure out the best way to identify someone’s pain points and then provide them with the appropriate solutions. As you go through your presentation, make sure to focus on the benefits, and not the features. Also, make sure that you adapt your presentation and conversation style based on whether they are new to the industry or whether they been in it for years. Customize your presentation based on who you are talking to.
8. Don’t tell them, show them!
Instead of always delivering a PowerPoint recruiting presentation, you may want to go into the back end and demonstrate some of the tools and technology. This way they can see how easy it is to use. And remember, focus on the benefits!
9. Understand the value you provide and deliver on it.
Have you clearly defined and articulated your value proposition? Do you know what your brokerage stands for and is your management team all aligned with that? It is extremely important that you clearly understand the value you provide so you can communicate it with confidence and excitement.
10. Find ways to WOW your recruits.
Ask yourself “what can I do to WOW this person? What can I do to get them excited about my brokerage?” Focus on the little things and ensure that you have a solid follow up plan in place.
11. Make sure you stay top-of-mind with a keep-in-touch email campaign.
Not everyone is ready to make a change right away. It is important that you stay top of mind so when they are ready to make a change, they think of you. An automated email campaign is critical in helping you achieve this. Whether you use BombBomb, Constant Contact or your own proprietary software, having a keep-in-touch email campaign is critical to ensuring you are constantly nurturing those relationships.
If you are interested in getting your own copy of this checklist or knowing more about franchise opportunities with CENTURY 21, please direct message me, or email me at Chiyoko.Kakino@Century21.ca. I have over 25-years’ of experience in helping entrepreneurs grow their business.
The real estate industry in Canada is hotter than ever, and for established brokers, it would be easy to sit back and let the watch the boom unfold – but the best in the business know you either keep up recruiting and providing value to your agents, or watch your growth stagnate and your agents leave for competing brokerages. On the new podcast Real Estate: Real Success from CENTURY 21 Canada, brokers with decades of experience have been sharing their best practices for keeping their businesses thriving.
Here are some ways brokers across Canada are staying on top of their recruiting and retention game:
- Diversify your recruiting efforts
Don’t just expect agents to knock on your door, no matter how successful your office is! In the digital age, leverage social media, look for the right Facebook groups, try new email campaigns and don’t underestimate the power of a job board.
Katelyn Fulton, one of the owners of CENTURY 21 Percy Fulton Ltd. has been cultivating her recruitment strategies for years now. “I always like to have a passive way to get new business and job boards are that. The biggest one is Indeed, and the biggest thing was to play around with a headline that grabs their attention and stick with it. I’ve kept it for two years and 36% of the agents we’ve hired have come from that.”
- Create meaningful relationships with your agents
Whether you’re running a brokerage large or small, it’s important to make agents feel seen and heard, especially if they’re new to the industry. “Agents like to be treated like family members,” says Jasbir Sandhu, owner of CENTURY 21 Coastal Realty. “Every agent in my office is like my extended family, that’s how I see it and that makes them comfortable. When they see something wrong with me, they can tell me, and I can do the same for them.” Creating a positive and welcoming environment leads to confident agents who learn and receive feedback, and who don’t want to leave anytime soon.
- Build a culture that lets agents have fun
Being in the real estate industry can sometimes be a lonely profession, especially for newer agents, so it’s important to build an office culture that gives everyone a chance to get to know each other and have fun. “We try to create a culture here,” says Stephen Chow, owner of CENTURY 21 Atria Realty Inc. Brokerage. “During the pandemic we did online karaoke contests, we did socially distanced events in our office parking lot, and I believe that if people are happy working at your company, that’s retention. And if they tell their friends and family about you, those people are going to want to join your company.”
- Openly communicate what goes on in your office
Fear of missing out is a powerful tool, and don’t be afraid to use it! If you’ve got a great office, let outside agents know what’s going on – it’ll make them want to be a part of the action. “We share everything we do at our brokerage,” explains Cameron Van Klei, owner of CENTURY 21 Creekside Realty Inc. “We print our education schedule, we share on Social Media what events we’re doing, whether we’re going on a hike or a fundraiser. And every month members of our real estate board get a newsletter of who’s joined our office and our stats, anybody who clicks on those emails a few times, they’re perfect for me to reach out and start a conversation.”
- Set your agents up for success
These days it’s easy for your agents to get burnt out, so you need to find new ways to help them stay focused and motivated. It’s essential that you work with your agents in helping them create an annual business plan so they can achieve their financial goals, like the management team at CENTURY 21 Heritage Group. Their on-demand business planning program is supported by a step-by-step worksheet and weekly coaching sessions. “Throughout 2022, we are going to have specific Monday morning coaching sessions that agents can attend where we will hold them accountable. Because we know having a plan is one thing but following up and consistently focusing on that plan every week is the biggest challenge” says Eryn Richardson, Managing Partner.
Want more stories from the industry from the best in the industry? Listen to Real Estate: Real Success on Spotify, Apple Music or Google Podcasts today! New episodes air LIVE every month, and you can find more information at Century21franchise.ca.
About the Author
Chiyoko Kakino is the VP of Brand Expansion for Western Canada for CENTURY 21 Canada and the host of ‘Real Estate: Real Success’. She is passionate about expanding the CENTURY 21 brand across Canada, and you can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 604-375-2800.