Barry Nachman, broker/owner of Century 21 Nachman Realty in Virginia and North Carolina, knows what it takes to retain quality agents. “We’re known in the market for caring about our people. We call it, “old school” real estate,” said Nachman who has seven offices and more than 250 agents. “This is a people business. Agents must trust you, your guidance and your leadership ability. In doing so, you build loyalty and our agents are loyal to us.”
Nachman, who's led the company since 1979, says that his [competitors] at other companies ask, “How are your agents so loyal? “Many of them have attempted to recruit my managers away. By showing loyalty first and caring always, we can recruit and retain the very best at all levels. In a world that makes decisions based on third-party ratings and other like-minded professionals, that approach and the end result serve as the best recruitment tool we could ask for.”
Here are his secrets to success:
Don’t get caught up in the money. “Many in this business get caught up in the money or talking splits as differentiators and forget (or maybe they don’t offer) a comprehensive support system,” says Nachman. “For us, having the support and knowledge of a management team with decades of success that collaborate and share ideas with the entire company is a difference-maker for those we recruit to the company.
Put your people first. “We often make changes that aren’t popular companywide because certain things are done for a long time. Change is hard, but I always ask myself first how our people will react to that change. That's my No. 1 priority in making management decisions. How we feel and treat our people is what we can boast the most about in recruiting sales professionals to our company,” he says.
Make interviews a two-way street. “It’s important that an agent knows who you are, and we know them to make certain there’s a fit,” says Nachman. He says that during the interview, he listens first and asks the prospect about who they are and how they operate. Therefore, that prospect can decide whether his company makes sense to them and if they make sense for Nachman’s firm. “For example, if they've got a goal of one transaction per year, then I let them know that this is going to be a very costly business for them. A lot of professionals come into the business and no one's had that conversation with them, but we do.”
Hand-hold new agents and set expectations. Nachman notes that the expectations should be on the company and on the new agent. “We set up the training, accountability plan, and run through our platform of innovative products to help get them delivering the extraordinary from day one. We also celebrate their successes as well,” he says. For example, the company holds an old-fashioned, companywide rally where new agents get to connect. “They see people, like them, being recognized and they get inspired. Like the adage that reads, ‘there's nothing special about special people, it's what they do that makes them special,’” says Nachman.
Clarify your why. “It’s important to review our expectations upfront with new agents as they relate to our ethics and principles. We clarify our ‘why’ and what we will do and won't do,” says Nachman. He notes that the managers don't micromanage. “We put in the necessary time to put them in a position to succeed and we guide them on that path, so they don’t go too far astray from pre-determined goals.”
Nachman sums it up this way, “You start out as their trainer, then you become their coach, and then you become their cheerleader.”