How to Diagnose Your Brokerage

It’s probably my most common question. I’m putting all these great ideas into play, but how do I know if they’re working?  There are four keys to effectively diagnose your brokerage, and they all have to do with your agents.

I have a whiteboard up in my office with a bunch of charts and diagrams. It looks a lot like a football coach’s playbook. But it’s actually part of a process I take people through in my brokerage troubleshooter program.

This is where I teach them how to diagnose their brokerage. I teach them how to ask the right questions in the right places to determine where they need to conduct change. There are only four main questions you need to ask yourself. Are you:

Attracting the Right Agents?

Once you set the ideal course for your brokerage, you need to find the right agents who fit the mold. Believe it or not, money is not the only thing that attracts agents to your firm. Good commission splits are important, of course they are. But they are looking for the ideal fit too.

Interviewing is one of the most complex human interactions.  Don’t worry so much about the questions you are asking. These are important, but not as telling as the questions the agent asks.

Here are some questions to listen for:

1.) How do you determine a successful 3 month probation period?

2.) What is the most important factor in driving your business?

3.) What tools and techniques will you provide me with? 

The first two questions tell you that this agent wants to get the fit right as much as you do. The third tells you that they are driven and want to do everything they can to succeed, and help your brokerage. This is the kind of person you want on your team!

Think outside of the Box:

Search outside of the usual suspects like LinkedIn and Indeed.  Not everyone is “linked-in”.  Look for the agents passionate about learning in user groups and on forums. Don’t be afraid to go after a top player from another brokerage. All is fair in love and business!

Retaining the Right Agents?

So, you’ve combed through all the farm systems and found the perfect foster of agents.  Now you need to build them up and inspire them.  This will allow you to put a winning product on the field – er, in the office – for years to come.

Technology reigns in today’s business landscape. Use a streamlined transaction management platform to retain the right agents.  Metric analysis of agents who are contributing the most will allow you to be proactive.  You can then respond with corrective action to those who are lagging behind.

The most important part of agent retention is to not be reactive. Waiting until a problem presents itself will only leave you behind the eight ball.  ALWAYS be monitoring and ALWAYS be acting.

Putting the Right Support Systems in Place:

Next, you need to activate systems to support both your agents and clients. These systems should be consistent throughout the transaction and compliance processes.

Effective Leadership:

YOU need to be the number one support system for your agents. Be approachable but in charge. Be friendly but firm.  Be a shoulder and be a kick-in-the-pants. 

If you are new to the brokerage game, it might take you a while to know when to evoke each of these personalities. If you are an experienced broker, you’re likely fine-tuning your repertoire. 


Encourage your agents to use one another as sounding boards.  If you’ve built your team with the right agents, this will be natural.  Put room aside in the budget for conferences.  Right now, these will be virtual of course, but there are some great platforms out there!  Conversations with colleagues and peers contain empathy and knowledge. These are critical support systems. 

Other Critical Support Systems:

Think about the areas where your brokers need the most help.  These include:

– REALTORS® Insurance

– Sales and Marketing Software

– Financial Advising

– A corporate gym membership 

In their own way, each of these will ensure your agents are happy and healthy.  This in turn will lead to brokerage success and sustainability. 

Note that only two of these things have a direct impact on your business. The other two, financial advising and the gym membership, have an indirect effect. Sometimes the indirect is as, or more important than the direct. 

Never Let Them Get Bored:

Boredom equals wandering eyes. It’s already a contract or gig worker economy.  Most real estate agents went into the business because “restless” is their default. This means you’ll have to work a little harder to keep them motivated. Provide tools and training to help them take their careers to the next level.

Another motivational winner is brokerage competitions. These can either be internal or with the brokerage down the street. Offer a trip to somewhere exotic, or a new car so they can drive their success home.

Training Those Agents:

Once you find the right agents, you need to train them to reach their highest potential. This is another way you will hold onto them. Your agents will be successful, which is good for morale. You will also get the highest profit per agent, equaling a higher profit for your brokerage.

Of course, you’ll want to train on lead identification and market knowledge. These skills, among others, make up every good realtor’s toolkit. To develop GREAT real estate agents, you need to dig a little deeper. Here are the intuitive soft skills every GREAT agent needs to know.

  • Effective Communication. There isn’t one aspect of real estate that this doesn’t apply to. All great agents are tactful, active listeners, and understand social cues.
  • Negotiation. Given the cost and stakes involved, home buyers are particular about absolutely everything. A great agent will understand this, but also know how to reach a  workable compromise. 
  • Closing. There may be no area where careful communication skills matter more.  This is a learned skill and your agents will need to learn there own lessons here. 
  • Patience: This one applies to every aspect of the real estate business.  Great agents have patience with the market, fickle clients, and their own progress.  

A great coach will teach based on their own experience. But they will also understand that these skills are borne of personal experience. You need to have the patience to allow your agents to learn them.  Which may mean accepting some of your own business ups and downs in favor of the long term.  

As you can see, the key to diagnosing your brokerage is analyzing whether you have the right people. Then you need to retain these people with the right support systems and training. These are the real arts of building a brokerage.

In case you can not view this video here, please click the link below to view How to Diagnose Your Brokerage on my YouTube channel:

Bill Foss

I love helping brave business people, those who take risks and place their future and financial wellbeing squarely on their own shoulders, to reach for their business potential in a way that supports their life vision!

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