There’s a Reason Real Estate Agents Are Leaving Your Brokerage & It’s Not Always Money

There are many reasons real estate agents leave a brokerage and a lot of times it has nothing to do with money or opportunity. Here’s how to take a holistic view of agent retention.

Where there’s smoke, there is fire, but it might be coming from the chimney.  

Reasons for agents leaving isn’t a new topic, if you look at the numerous articles out there citing why agents leave, there are a few common reasons traditionally reported as to why they left a brokerage and the MLS numbers reflecting them. Split, company resources, and agent growth opportunities among them. However, before going to four-alarm fire mode when brokers are seeing numbers changing the MLS, they should consider a more holistic view of not only their agents’ lives, but also of agents they may be trying to recruit. Genuinely connecting to agents on a personal level will help you better recruit as well as retain your agents. 

Where is the Smoke Really Coming From?

Brokers often think that agents leave due to split, the opportunity to make more money, or because their agents were promised more leads somewhere else.However, there has been recent research conducted that says differently. The most reported reason is that agents didn’t think their brokerage was a “good fit” or their broker mismanaged the company. 

3 Data Pulse has been collaborating with the State University of New York (SUNY) on a recent study about the reasons why agents leave their brokerage. Our early discoveries during the agent interview process have shown the following: 

  • 100% of agents interviewed said they would leave a brokerage if the environment was toxic or full of “drama” 
  • 86.3% of agents surveyed reported that they have already left a brokerage because the environment was toxic
  • Many of the agents who did leave their brokerage reported they even took a reduction in split to join a brokerage that did not have the toxic environment 
  • Agents also reported that they are even willing to pay more in a split for a better perceived value to them at another brokerage.

So, it’s not about split it’s about the working atmosphere and perceived value. Take for example, the common notion that agents above the age of 50 are less likely to switch brokerages, which I agree with, however, one possible exception (among many) to this could be whether or not your brokerage offers succession planning. This is an example of how some agents might make a move based on the value proposition you are offering. If brokers and managers are working on recruiting, they may have a tendency to overlook agents who fall in this category, as they don’t traditionally make a move. However if you know that the competition doesn’t offer succession planning and your brokerage does this could be an opportunity to connect. 

Looking at the Smoke Signals – The MLS Numbers 

As brokers and real estate leaders, we tend to look at charts, graphs, and numbers and tend to proceed to correct the numbers rather than connect with the agents. Whether the MLS data is up, down, or sideways with an agent, doesn’t always mean the agent is thinking of leaving. 

Typically when an agent’s production is up, they are thrilled with their brokerage for providing what they needed to help them get to that level of success. Offering lead generation opportunities, a customizable website, an integrated CRM, staff support, and continued coaching are all features that will appeal to this agent and encourage them to stay with their current company. 
What MLS numbers don’t show when an agent’s numbers are down, the reason could be due to a life change such as an illness and they aren’t able to conduct business as they were previously.  This agent’s brokerage rallied around them in support during this difficult time. They set up meal delivery, offered childcare, set up a Go Fund Me fundraiser, organized an office 5k. When this agent recovers, it’s a good bet that they are going to stay at this brokerage for the foreseeable future because of the genuine care and support that was offered to them. 

When an agent’s production in the MLS has flattened, this doesn’t necessarily mean they are losing momentum or are going to take a downturn. It could mean that they are now the second income for their household. Maybe they’ve had a life change and want to slow down a bit for a phase. They still want to be involved but not as aggressively as they once were. Ensuring that this agent is included along with everyone else on the team in office events, meetings, and gatherings and is kept up-to-date with any new tools or policies will keep them connected. 

Surefire Way to Success – Connection

Tuning in to where the agent is at this moment in their life is a much more dependable metric to predict their next move. What this means is that brokers must know their people. Know who they have on their team and know who they are trying to recruit individually, not as group subsets and groups of data. When brokers and managers are able to confidently know where an agent is in their journey, they are empowered to do what they need to ensure the agent has a really hard time considering another brokerage altogether.
A key component of maintaining great relationships with brokerages small and large is communication. Tracking those conversations where agents are sharing their goals, dreams, frustrations, and achievements, is integral to ensure all leadership is aware and can provide support and guidance where needed. Using a relationship management system, like 3 Data Pulse, has been a game changer for many brokerages. This system has allowed leadership to have one central place manage their agent relationships. 

The most important advice I can give is that brokers need to know what their agents’ goals are, what motivates them, and why those goals are important to them. Real Estate is a relationship business and really a “Contact Sport”, not by hitting people of course, but by connecting with them. Connection is crucial now more than ever in the post-COVID world where everyone has been deprived of genuine connection for so long.   

Phillip Gagnon has been helping master franchisors, brokers, managers, team leaders and agents grow their businesses for almost 20 years. As the Founder and CEO at  3 Data Pulse, he’s created a software platform that allows companies to identify and recruit agents, develop their existing agents business, and predict when an agent is likely to leave their company.