Are agents blaming the broker when they leave?

Is it the market?
Is it me?
Is it my broker?

How often has one of your agents said, “I’m leaving because I
can do better over at brand x?” Maybe that’s true; perhaps it’s not. Yet from my

It’s not you; it’s the market

I assume you have a defined niche, a clear idea of your ideal agent, and a
compelling value proposition. If not, you have work to do, as the above statement
could be true! Yet in my years of experience, I’ve yet to meet brokers, owners or
team leaders who did not honestly care about the growth and well-being of their
associates. So, with that foundation, what’s the deal?

You and I know it’s in the daily habits of our associates, the consistent and creative marketing, and delivering a solid experience from start to finish.

My business partner, Ben Hess from Recruiting Insight wrote an eBook on the
“psychology of recruiting,” where he covers some of the basic science of human
motivation. One of those concepts is that our brains are wired to jump to quick

This is useful in reacting quickly to the environment around us, yet
sometimes fast conclusions lead to a flawed conclusion. What if there was a
better way? What if you mastered the science behind what motivates your
associates? If you understood the science and knew how to apply it, you wouldn’t
have to guess at what strategy to use you would know and could retain more
agents in your team, office, and firm.

There are several books that I’d recommend building your mastery, like “Atomic
,” “The Miracle Morning,” “The Power of Habit,” “Do Hard Things,” and more. If
you took each of these books and had to summarize them into the basic drivers of
what motivates us, it might look like this?

  • Daily habits
  • A sense of belonging
  • Instincts

In “The Power of Habit” and “Atomic Habits,” we learn how much of everything we do
in a typical day we do out of habit without even thinking about it. And many
times, we don’t even remember how those habits got formed.

An important part of getting someone to create a new habit is breaking things into small steps. For example, in my work with Tom Ferry over several years and studies, we found
that most agents have similar common habit challenges:

  • Relevant and consistent marketing
  • Prospecting consistently
  • Maintaining and working a database
  • Organization and time management
  • Maintaining a winning mindset

So, what if you got really good at helping your associates solve those problems?
For example: where are the listings? We know in this market where the listings

The listings are in David Knox’s 7 D’s: Death, Divorce, Diplomas, Diamonds
(engagements), Downsizing (10,000 people in the US turn 65 every day), Daily
Grind (job changes), and changes in Discretionary income.

Break things in small steps

An essential part of getting your associates to create new prospecting habits is to
break things into small steps. So, break down activities into a system. Choose the leading indicators to break down and make simple. For example, new appointments created each day or week. What if you had a 90 new appointment hustle in your team, office or firm?

Besides habits, a fundamental need — even more so now than ever — is the need
to belong. As a broker, how do you rate yourself on creating a belonging culture?
What if your associates felt like they belong at your firm by having a voice, and
the ability to contribute so they feel important enough to stay? Is there a way in
your firm to give the work a deeper meaning, such as every home sold creates two jobs?

  • A balance between collaboration and competition
  • A venue to share wins, breakdowns, and breakthroughs
  • Connect the organization and community to the brighter future you envision
  • Be the collective voice of reason in all market conditions
  • A strategy to connect the languishing with the thriving

What does your gut tell you?

Instinct, according to Gary Klein, Ph.D., is the way we translate our experience
into judgment and actions. I suspect as you read parts of his article, you had some
thoughts like:

  • I had a feeling about it.
  • That was my hunch.
  • I feel that in my gut.

So now it’s time to act. Just like your agents, break down one of these leading
indicators and make it simple and execute. The ideas you had while reading this
article are worthless without execution.

One of our clients is conducting a 14-day sprint at 8 am every day on “How To Earn Listings In This Market,” another is starting a book club, and yet another a weekly pizza, prospecting, and profit session.

Leave nothing to chance and do all you can to eliminate the “it’s my broker’s fault” mindset.

Mark Johnson is an author, speaker and business partner in Recruiting Insights, a real estate recruiting solution.