Does recruiting REALLY solve everything?

by Ken Goodfellow

For years there has been a pat answer from many in the know — that whatever problems you are having with your brokerage could be solved with enhanced recruiting. As a brokerage owner (in the past), I bought into this theory, and my group was highly focused on growth through recruiting.

All good, right? Not entirely. If you are great at bringing talent in BUT not great at keeping them, then there’s an issue. The time and effort it takes to acquire new talent are extensive. New talent energizes (if they are the right choice) and helps with growth. Attrition, on the other hand, must be kept under control, or you are wasting your time. Whether you make the decision or they do, normal attrition makes sense and will strengthen and make your brokerage more attractive. However, if the number of people walking out the back door is high or sometimes exceeds those coming in the front door, there’s a problem.

It’s critical that you have a plan for retention. Brokers can be guilty of dedicating resources to acquiring new talent and using limited efforts to retain those who are already successfully working in our brokerage. Our agents do the same thing! I see marketing budgets all the time that pour resources into acquiring new clients while past clients get little attention.

Let’s talk about some ideas on how to retain the great talent we have.

Recognition: A program that recognizes people for performance, initiative, kindness or any other desirable trait or action is golden. We all want to feel that we are noticed and celebrated within our group and in the outside world. For example, years ago, companies were implementing the “Fish! Philosophy.” My wife helped implement this in 14 offices in Detroit, and it was really effective. One of the principles was “make their day.” The awareness of making someone’s day special was everywhere. This is a powerful message and contributes greatly to a strong culture.

Culture: When you have a great culture that is celebrated and lived daily in your company, people will notice, and it does help with retention. Sit down with several people in your company (sales, admin, management) to explore your existing culture, what you want it to be and how you make that happen. Establishing a “culture club” can help revitalize how we work and play, and after what we’ve been through for the past couple of years, it’s a great time to explore how to make your culture dynamic and inclusive.

Skills training: For many, the last few years were a blessing and a curse. Business exploded, and many people had the best years they’ve ever experienced. However, what I am seeing right now is that skills have slipped dramatically and desperately need work. You likely have many people who have few years in the business and are now struggling to survive. Help them now before someone else offers them a lifeline. A weekly training calendar is essential.

Sales meetings: If you can hold a magnificent sales meeting, my hat is off to you. Too many meetings are boring, lack meaningful information and can be considered a waste of everyone’s time. I have attended many sales meetings and asked hundreds of agents what they think of their office meetings. The responses are generally not very positive. Meetings should be well planned and communicated to all in the company.

Here are a few meeting components that are popular:

• An agenda should be distributed before the meeting.

• Have and needs — this will create revenue.

• Reward those who attend and/or arrive on time — small prizes like coffee gift cards.

• Contests — many see these as old school, but when you have them create teams, it works; peer pressure takes over, and the desire for recognition kicks into high gear.

• Learn a skill — handle an objection, let someone present a problem and let the group solve it.

• Share the stage — you don’t need to be the one running the meeting; recruit leaders in your office to take charge.

• Technology — there’s usually someone in the office highly skilled in videos, farming, condo resales, etc; have them contribute a mini training session at the meeting or a teaser for a full-blown session during the week.

• Remind them — who are you? What is your vision? Why are they there? Our people may be looking for the next shiny thing when we’ve had it all along but forgot to remind them.

• Motivational — something meaningful that highlights how we feel, behave and treat others is a great way to end the meeting.

My last piece of advice for retention is “help your people grow.” This is what many people hire me to do, and I love doing it. If you can help your people create a plan, coach them through implementation, review what isn’t working and celebrate their wins, why would they go anywhere else!

Coach Ken Goodfellow

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