How to Keep Your Real Estate Team Motivated (Beyond a Pay Raise)

motivate real estate team

Shawn Breyer started Breyer Home Buyers with a mission to empower people to enjoy life by simplifying and solving their property issues. He and his wife flip 35+ homes in the metro Atlanta area every year. As part of our contributor series, he authored this post to let us know how he motivates his team. 

As business owners or leaders, we often struggle with how to keep our real estate team motivated to hit the goals we are striving to achieve in our business. Even on a team with a commission structure, individuals usually are not motivated enough to surpass the range of income that makes their life comfortable. There’s more to motivation than just monetary compensation. Here are the three aspects we focus on to get our real estate agents to perform at their maximum.

How to motivate your real estate team beyond dollar signs

More income doesn’t always equate to more motivation. In fact, good leaders will know how to pull the best out of their real estate team beyond just paying them more.

Give sincere recognition

People can tell when you are being sincere versus faking it. If you’re giving recognition to someone out of obligation just to check off a box, it’s not worth the effort. Drive-by praise, where you just pop in on your teammate and give them a thank-you, feels last-minute and impersonal, uninformed, and inadequate if this is the only form of recognition the manager offers.

It’s a leader’s job to create a recognition-rich environment in which those they lead choose to give their best. Focus on recognition that points out what about their work was great.

Instead of just saying, “You did great with those clients. Thanks,” to your agents, say something like, “Mrs. Smith reached out to me and pointed out that you were very attentive to their needs, you showed them only houses that met their criteria, and you worked hard to negotiate for them. I really appreciate that you take such pride in your work and I really appreciate the time that you took away from your family to show them houses at nights and on weekends to accommodate their schedule.”

See the difference? One feels insincere, while the other one points out the aspects of the project that the agent took time to work on specifically and excel. The latter recognition shows that you recognize the hard work they are putting in to improve and the sacrifices that they make to ensure your company excels.

When we want to give someone on our team recognition, we take the time to write a personal note to them. Don’t wait until a big milestone or deal has been accomplished. Make a habit of writing one personal note to a different person each day to show gratitude for what they are accomplishing on your team and what their contributions mean to you and the team.

FREE Guide: Learn how to earn more with our 2018 Real Estate Agent Income Guide.

Improve your team by developing discipline

Everyone has them. The person who does minimal work, but the bosses seem to ignore, or worse, praise. Bad employees can deflate motivation on your team faster than a balloon.

Your team notices when you let a bad employee slip under the radar, and it kills productivity. Why would they work hard to push your company forward when they can receive the same treatment, benefits, and potential pay as the rest of the team?

Focus on weeding out the poor performers and keeping the people who are invested in the company. Remember though, not everyone is going to be an all-star. Your main goal is to get rid of the people destroying your culture.

As leaders, we naturally enjoy focusing on top performers and pushing them to do better. We spend more time setting goals for them, critiquing them, and driving them. They get a lot of attention and that attention can be perceived as bad attention when there are bad employees on the team.

Imagine you’re pushing your all-star, telling them they can do better, critiquing them, and giving them extra projects because they work hard, and you know they can be very successful.

On the other hand, you don’t push the bad employee, you praise them when they get around to working, you give their projects to other employees, and you let them slack off most days because all of this is easier than just solving the problem.

Your great team members will take notice and wonder why they should work twice as hard when the person slacking off gets better treatment.

Being surrounded by a team of people who are positive, hardworking, driven, giving, and ambitious can make your team accelerate growth. This environment fosters ownership, accountability, goals, friendly competition, and alignment in resources and teamwork.

One person can destroy this team culture and turn it into a toxic and nonproductive environment within weeks. Try to stay on top of disciplining poor performance and weeding out team members who are not going to push the company forward.

Tie goals to a purpose

At Breyer Home Buyers, we tie goals into their larger purpose. Every employee has their own preferred charitable area that they like to invest money and time into. We tap into this by setting monthly goals where the rewards are being able to donate money to those causes.

Our company sets aside 10 percent net profits towards donations. That 10 percent is broken up into five percent increments. When we set a goal for a month, if the team collectively hits the goal we have set, then that five percent is divided among the team for them to donate to their selected causes. The remaining five percent goes to the person who attains the highest sales for that month. We also set aside one Friday per month to volunteer time towards the cause of the winner’s choosing.

This allows us to focus on building a culture of giving back and tying our work to a purpose. The more productive and profitable we are, the more money we can give back to something meaningful to our team.

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