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7 ways to keep your brokerage team motivated

May 24, 2017

There’s nothing quite as sweet as closing a big deal and cashing that commission check. In the world of CRE, each victory has a way of making you crave the next one. And for most brokers, an almost hardwired drive to succeed—coupled with those huge payouts—is often motivation enough.


But what about when it isn’t? What about your top performers who are already sitting on a mound of commission checks? How do you get them to reach for just one more deal—when they really don’t have to? Or your new recruits who have put in months of work without seeing any returns? How do you get them to make just one more phone call?

Here are seven strategies to keep energy high and motivation up:

1. Start with the culture

Create a culture where people are happy to come to work each day. Not only is it a lot more fun to work alongside people you like—in a workplace you like—it also motivates you to do better!

As a leader, you set the tone for your organization whether you are aware of it or not. How do you engage with people each day? How do you model the way they should engage with others? Take a moment to notice these things. For example, do you encourage open communication? Do you treat people as humans, and ask about their lives outside of work? Do you treat failures as opportunities to scold or to teach?

All these things add up to a culture that either inspires people to do their best work for you or inspires them to merely put up with you while they look for other options. Decide which you’d rather have, and act accordingly.

2. Inject variety

Sometimes an unexpected change of pace can reinvigorate motivation, and a little variety can go a long way in helping your people get unstuck.

For example, if you notice that a broker who usually deals with multifamily properties is dragging his feet, offer an opportunity to expand into another specialty, like office space or data centers. Or if you notice that a star performer is stuck in a rut, try switching out some of her usual responsibilities for new ones, like taking on a leadership role on the team or mentoring a new recruit.

3. Set up a mentorship program

Mentorship programs can be a wonderful win-win for everyone. On one hand, they formally recognize the wisdom and status of the mentor, serving as a sort of badge of honor for all their hard-fought victories. On the other hand, they give younger brokers a direct connection to what success should look and feel like, and a rich vein of support at a time when they’re most at risk of giving up.

Check out our insights on why mentoring matters, plus great tips for mentoring younger brokers.

4. Invest in education

Learning something new—and then finding ways to use it on the job—is a great way for people to keep their curiosity, motivation, and interest going strong.

It’s why some CRE firms pay to send team members to annual networking events or are happy to reimburse them for training and education. They understand that investing in their people’s growth pays off in the long run—especially when those people come back with skills that can help everyone, from better marketing strategies to smoother negotiation tactics.

5. Have fun with competitions

What’s not to like about a little friendly competition? Whether it’s the chance to win extra cash or an extra-luxurious getaway, you can boost motivation by stoking everyone’s competitive flame.

What kind of competition makes sense for your brokerage? Perhaps you already have something in place, like an annual cruise for your top closer. But if not, think of all the ways, from big to small, that you can make hitting those goals a lot more fun. Whether it’s a weekly competition for the person who makes the most calls (prize: lunch, served by you) or a quarterly tally of big wins (prize: front-row tickets to a sold-out event), experiment with fresh ways to play (and succeed) together.

6. Publicly recognize and celebrate great work

Public recognition is an especially nice way to celebrate your hard-working brokers, and research suggests that it’s even better than a paycheck when it comes to boosting motivation. So whether it’s a “Wall of Fame” for your top performers or simply a public acknowledgment of a job well done, be sure to give your people a hat tip for great work—in front of their peers.

And when it comes to big milestones, don’t be afraid to get a little extravagant. Give people the chance to really revel in their big wins—they deserve it!  So rent a limo. Pop the champagne. Treat them to an unexpected getaway aboard a yacht or right on the 50 yard line. Stay creative and have fun. It helps to keep everyone a little curious about what kind of “celebration” the next big win could trigger!

7. Keep track of the small wins, too

Big deals don’t happen every day. It’s the small steps, taken day in and day out, that eventually lead to bigger things. Be sure to track the small wins your team makes each week, whether it’s showing more properties or finding a smarter way to list them.

We love the counterintuitive but creative way Fuelzee (a tech company) does this. They give a $100 gift card to the salesperson who gets the most “no’s” each week! As CEO Dan McGraw explains in Business News Daily, “This might sound crazy, but you get a lot of no’s when doing sales. The more no’s you get, the closer you are to getting a yes."

It’s a great reminder that the small things really do turn into big things. So celebrate those baby steps—even if they’re no’s. In commercial real estate, all those no’s eventually add up to a very big yes.

Topics: Best Practices

Irena Ashcraft

Written by Irena Ashcraft

Irena is a freelance writer who works with innovators, educators, explorers, and changemakers. From brave nonprofits to frontier-straddling startups, she helps clients connect with their biggest fans through writing that's fresh, relatable, and fun.

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