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The 5 Steps to Agent Onboarding (And 4 More for Offboarding) Every Brokerage Should Follow

The 5 Steps to Agent Onboarding (And 4 More for Offboarding) Every Brokerage Should Follow

12 min read
The 5 Steps to Agent Onboarding (And 4 More for Offboarding) Every Brokerage Should Follow

The saying that you never get a second chance to make a first impression is perhaps never more critical than when starting a new job. It’s an opportunity to learn whether or not this company is a long-term fit—and if so, how long “long-term” signifies.

For a real estate broker who’s trying to find and keep the most productive agents, onboarding is the best chance to put a good foot forward and show the agent what to expect from your brokerage. 

Even if you consider yourself a light-touch, low-support outfit, giving a little extra attention in the beginning can lower your turnover and give you less cause to recruit (unless you’re expanding!). Consider implementing at least a token effort at each of these steps and see if it doesn’t help agents adjust faster to life at your brokerage.

5 basic steps to agent onboarding

1. Send a warm welcome

A care package or “welcome aboard” basket or tote bag filled with swag and other goodies can make an agent feel appreciated. (You can always ask their preferred T-shirt size on any application materials!)

In addition to the swag, include an onboarding agenda for your agent that outlines their start date, anything you’ll need them to complete before starting, and the schedule they can expect to follow as they learn the ropes at your brokerage and become acclimated to their new environment.

2. Get documents in order

License transfer, tax forms, and other paperwork that will need to be completed before the agent can officially start selling real estate under your brokerage’s shingle—it’s an enormous pain, and also a fact of life. Before your new agent begins work, give them all the details they need in order to set themselves up to hit the ground running.

A good office manager or administrator can help you with this process by keeping track of new hires and where they are in terms of their documents; if someone hasn’t completed what you need them to before their official start date, then the manager can nudge them (and let you know that there could be a delay).

3. Systems setup

From email to a page on your website to CRM access and beyond, your new agent will need some switches flipped on different systems. You might do this after their official start date and work day by day alongside the agent’s orientation and training, or you might get some of it set up in advance and only activate it whenever the agent is ready to use it. 

For example, Placester’s Agent Manager functionality gives you the option to create a new agent page automatically using preapproved templates, to ensure everything looks coordinated and consistent; you can wait to push the page live to your website until the agent’s training is complete (and they’ve given you their headshot and bio!).

4. Orientation and training

Getting your agents set up with new systems is just one piece of the puzzle. Helping them understand how to use those systems—and how your brokerage operates, specifically—will be key to their success in negotiating and closing deals, as well as finding clients. It’s pretty important!

Every brokerage is different and offers different levels of support, but spending some time with new agents (even if they’re experienced ones who are coming to you from another brokerage) to ensure that they understand how your systems, software, tools, and processes work will benefit everyone in the long run. 

This can be a task for your technology director, office manager, or anybody else who’s familiar with the tools in question. In fact, splitting the job up can help your agent feel more welcome by learning more names (and more about your brokerage as a result).

5. Mentorship pairing for new agents

Brand-new agents may not know where to start when it comes to finding clients and negotiating deals, let alone getting those deals all the way to the closing table. 

Many brokerages have been using seasoned agents as mentors for newer agents; those seasoned agents can help hand-hold and troubleshoot (and take a piece of commission for the first handful of deals that a new agent closes). This strategy takes some pressure off newer agents and gives them a higher level of support that many brokerages would not be able to provide otherwise.

If you’re using a mentorship program, pair your new agent with their mentor. It can be useful to give agents some choice in which mentor to work with, so consider setting up some kind of process for allowing them to review a handful of mentors to work with and select one or two who the new agent thinks would be a good fit.

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4 basic steps to agent offboarding

Saying goodbye is, in some cases, easier than saying hello. When you’re getting ready to bid an agent farewell, follow these steps to ensure a smooth process for the agent and their clients.

1. Export and delete agent contacts

If your agent has requested that you export and delete their contacts so that they can continue to communicate with those clients when they move on to their next venture, take care of this step before you remove them from your systems.

2. Deactivate systems

Just as you added this agent to your systems and tools, you’ll need to remove them and deactivate any profiles. Placester’s Agent Manager makes this extremely easy to do for the agent’s page on your website.

3. Deactivate and forward email

Ask the agent for a forwarding address so that when you deactivate their email, any client inquiries that are going directly to them will get redirected to their new account. 

It’s usually wise to set up an email alert for any inquiries if you do this so that the client knows the agent has moved on from your brokerage and that you’re forwarding their request—some clients might want the option to work with a different agent at your brokerage instead of following up with the departing agent.

4. Agent debrief, if desired

Not every brokerage does this, and it’s certainly not a requirement—but if you’re curious about why your agent is leaving, then an exit interview or debrief can help provide clarity. 

Ask agents what they liked about working with you, what they found challenging, and what’s more enticing about their new opportunity. Be friendly and interested in their answers, don’t get defensive, and thank them for providing any insight they can offer. Exit interviews can be nerve-racking for the exiting agent, and if you make it clear that you’re interested in transparent feedback so you can improve, they’re likely to give it to you!

Onboarding and offboarding with Placester Agent Manager

Using Placester’s Agent Manager to onboard and offboard your agents is as simple as gathering and confirming some basic information, then clicking a few buttons. Agent Manager allows you to automate the entire process and an agent’s website operations—across your entire organization, for multiple agents.

Agent onboarding with Placester Agent Manager

With Agent Manager, you can assign your new agents their own brand-compliant website and sync their profile information (such as bios and photos) across all of your websites, making it easy to add your new agent to multiple offices, or just a select few.

And because Agent Manager uses Placester’s website builder, as the broker, you can maintain full creative control over the website’s look and design.

Agent Manager Offboarding & Onboarding YouTube Playlist

Agent offboarding with Placester Agent Manager

Like onboarding, offboarding with Agent Manager is as easy as making an active agent “inactive.” It takes just a click and a matter of seconds before parting ways!

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