By Anita Clark
One of the most challenging parts of running a real estate company is recruitment. Think about it. It is difficult to differentiate your brokerage because, for all intents and purposes, all brokerages are pretty similar. What’s more, your competitors are looking for the same people you are: talented individuals who can contribute to business growth and can help achieve the company’s goals.
In short, you need to step up your real estate recruitment program. One way to do this is to establish a referral program and give your agents attractive bonuses. This way, you get high-quality potential recruits and also give your current agents more reasons to stay. Your local real estate business needs quality to produce quality, so implementing programs to attract and keep good team members is paramount.
If you don’t have an agent referral program yet, or you want to implement some improvements, check out this list of ideas for incentives:
Straight-Up Cash Bonuses
Giving your agents cash bonuses is one of the easiest and most practical ways to incentivize successful referrals. Why? It’s because cash is universal and gives your agents more control over the reward. It is also scalable. For example, if someone ends up successfully referring two agents, you can give them 50% more cash.
It is also easy to develop a payment schedule to ensure fairness. There are times when the referral does not last as long with the company as expected, which can end up costing your brokerage money. One example of a payout schedule is to give 50% once the candidate gets onboarded, and the remaining 50% if the agent lasts for a prescribed period. To further sweeten the pot, you can give both the referring and referral agents a cash bonus once the latter has stayed with the company for more than six months.
Gift Cards and Discount Coupons
If you have noticed your agents frequenting a certain establishment, you may want to consider giving them gift cards or discount coupons as incentives. You don’t have to worry if they are going to use the incentive because you already know they are already loyal customers of the said establishment.
Giving gift cards as incentives also gives you range. From grocery stores and restaurants to clothing or gadget stores, you will not be running out of options anytime soon. You can give cards or coupons with a percentage discount or a fixed amount to spend. Another option is to buy a business-related subscription of some kind for your agents who bring you referrals.
What is great about offering gift cards and discount coupons is that you can develop partnerships with these establishments. This can result in savings and other perks, which you can then use to further reward your company’s top performers.
All-Expense-Paid Vacation or Additional Days Off
Being a real estate agent is fun, but it can also be draining. Considering the amount of time, they spend out in the field, and the hours needed to file paperwork—real estate agents can get burned out pretty quickly. Thus, giving them a vacation will definitely be a welcome incentive if they are able to refer talented agents.
One of the best ways to offer this kind of incentive is giving them an all-expense-paid trip (plus pocket money) to a dream destination. Staycations at local hotels are also a good choice if you do not have a big budget allocation. Even a day at the spa can be an attractive offer; a full day of pampering can do a real estate agent a world of good. If you want, you can also offer the agents an extra day or two of time off, where you or staff cover their duties. This way, they can spend the day however they want.
Family Day Trips
Consider giving your agents a travel incentive that includes the whole family. Treat them to a day trip around the city, complete with five-star meals, or book them a trip to an amusement park or a resort.
Of course, you can also take the easy way: Simply ask your agents how they want to spend a holiday with their family. Then, make it happen for them. Go the extra mile and make sure that every little detail is taken care of, so that all they have to do is to enjoy their days off.
Attendance to Industry Events
Not all brokerages have the budget to send all their agents to trade shows, conferences, and other industry events. That is why attendance to such events can be a great way to incentivize successful agents referrals. Send your team members to national or international-level events if you can. It’s like an all-expense-paid vacation with a learning component involved.
Try to ask your agents if they have any real estate industry events that they would like to attend as well. By offering attendance to an event that they would truly like to participate in, you can help boost engagement in your brokerage’s referral program.
The Latest Gadgets
Let’s face it: gadgets such as smartphones, tablets, and laptops are an essential part of any real estate professional’s job. Owning the latest models can not only help with productivity, but can also be a point of pride. In fact, even if you get a model that is one generation behind, your agents are still guaranteed to appreciate the gift. You can also include a subscription to music or video streaming services as a bonus or even pay for a certain number of Facebook or Pinterest real estate ads.
Self-Improvement or Hobby-Related Gifts
If you don’t know what your agents would like as an incentive, ask them what they love doing during their free time. Maybe they love dancing or have a passion for cooking. Perhaps they play video games or paint. To incentivize them for bringing in good recruits, give your team members something to support their hobbies or passions.
You can also ask them if they want to learn new skills—then enroll them in a class. This will show your commitment to their personal development outside of work. In turn, this goes a long way into agent retention and loyalty.
Charitable Donations Under Their Name
Another great incentive for your agent referral program is to donate to an agent’s charity of choice under their name. This can help your team members feel better about themselves, knowing that they have contributed to a good cause. You can even step it up and have your agents make the donation themselves, instead of just sending a check. Another good idea is to couple a cash bonus (see the first suggestion) with a corresponding donation to a charity or non-profit of their choice.
Final Agent Incentive Advice
The success of your real estate company relies heavily on your agents. With a solid referral and incentive program, you can be confident that you are going to attract and retain the best people for your firm.
Having an agent referral program with attractive rewards can even influence candidates to organically send their applications. Try including the most enticing offers in your recruiting real estate agents’ emails. Everybody likes to be appreciated for their hard work, after all, and incentives are a great way of recognizing your team’s efforts.
Anita Clark is a residential real estate agent with Coldwell Banker SSK, REALTORS®, in Houston County, Ga. She is from Coventry, England, is a retired military spouse, and has been assisting buyers, investors, and sellers in middle Georgia since 2007. Connect with Anita on Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, or on her Warner Robins GA Real Estate Blog.