“Great leaders aren’t hired; they’re developed,” the real estate coach said at ICNY 2024, adding that brokerages who don’t nurture great agents will lose them.

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Verl Workman got his real estate license in 10 days.

His sister-in-law, on the other hand, spent 18 months training to be able to cut hair in Utah, Workman, a real estate coach and owner of Workman Success Systems, said on opening day at Inman Connect New York.

The bar for entering the real estate market is so low that brokerages and teams need to focus on turning top producers into leaders who feel valued and stay put.

Not doing so, Workman said, risks top agents leaving for a new brokerage at a time when teams are already facing existential challenges to the way they’ve operated for decades.

“Great leaders aren’t hired; they’re developed,” Workman said. “Create a culture where they don’t want to leave. People don’t leave companies; they leave leaders.”

Agents have always faced pressure on commissions. That pressure is building with lawsuits targeting commissions, Workman said. 

“The consumer is starting to wonder if they have been overpaying for the services that they’ve received,” Workman said. “We haven’t communicated or articulated the value that we provide in the transaction.”

Workman was among multiple speakers at the conference who stressed the need for agents to highlight the value of their services to buyers and sellers.

“In the absence of value, price will always be the objective,” Workman said. “There will always be downward pressure, regardless of what’s happening with the commission lawsuits and everything else that’s going on in our world right now.”

Workman said there was a shortage of leadership within the industry, and stressed the need to retain and nurture top producers into the next leaders in the industry.

He told the crowd to watch out for agents who are overwhelmed, who become disengaged, are short-tempered, or stop showing up to team meetings or following up with leads. 

“We all have people at our orgs [who] want to lead,” Workman said. “We just haven’t given them a great opportunity or path for that.”

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