Whether you’re an agent parting ways with a team you’ve outgrown, or a team releasing an agent back into the industry for lack of production or disrupting the team culture, there’s a proper way to part ways to maintain both parties’ professionalism and reputation, Erin McCormick Torres writes.
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Whether you’re an agent parting ways with a team you’ve outgrown, or a team releasing an agent back into the industry for lack of production or disrupting the team culture, there’s a proper way to part ways to maintain both parties’ professionalism and reputation.
Having a strong off-boarding process will mitigate hard feelings and ensure minimal disruption to the team’s income-producing activities (which this is not.). So what agent off-boarding steps do you need to have outlined? Here are eight details not to miss when creating a seamless off-boarding system for agents.
First, determine if the separation is amicable
If not, you need to take immediate measures to lock the agent out of all tools, your CRM, transaction software and their email if it will be a potentially unpleasant (or downright ugly) separation. This needs to happen before the separation conversation starts to ensure your data and client communication are protected.
If you have a sense things will not be friendly, plan for the separation conversation at a specific time with your operational staff standing by to immediately lock the agent out of all systems. The last thing you want is an agent exporting thousands of leads, trashing files, downloading proprietary information or corresponding with clients or agents on the team in a negative way.
If the separation is cordial, consider holding an agent exit interview
As team leaders, we can always be improving our systems and iterating on what support agents truly need to accelerate their business (from their perspective). Approach an exit interview from a place of neutral energy; you want to actually hear the feedback and discover patterns and trends between the dearly departed from your team.
You never want to be defensive. If it’s too hard for you to take and process sometimes fiercely direct feedback, have a trusted third-party conduct the exit interview. Never let the feedback go to waste; ensure it’s documented and you are learning and growing from it, so the agent partnership wasn’t a waste of time or energy.
Revisit and reference your team agreement
Your team’s agent independent contractor agreement should contain details on what happens when you part ways, including:
- Who leads stay with after separation (depending on source or where the lead was procured)
- What happens to the agent’s sphere-of-influence and past client database post-parting ways
- How current pendings/listings will be split
- If there are any team leads that will be worked with commissions shared
The more these details are spelled out in this agreement you both sign at the inception of your partnership, the easier it is to unravel with little room for interpretation or negotiation.
Determine an end date to the partnership and back out from there to end the partnership
If the partnership is ending amicably, choose an end date that gives both parties ample time to untangle your collective web – especially if you’ve been in business for some time. Build out a calendar of milestones to hit, such as any special provisions determined, separation contracts signed by both parties, team email turned off or forwarded for any contracts still pending, contract to close services ceasing, etc.
Come to terms on how you’re splitting pending deals and what supports will remain in place for those transactions
If your agent has deals in the works and is paying a full team split, ensure the same level of client and transaction management support stays in place. If the agent has a few buyer-broker agreements signed and you want a cleaner break, perhaps agree to a modified split without transaction support for a quicker separation.
Create a separation agreement
In this agreement, outline the specifics of how any current deals’ commissions will be split, how any future referrals will be paid out (and in what timeline), in what timeframe the agents’ database of sphere leads will be returned to them etc. The more detail here the better to head off any commission split discrepancies.
Do your housekeeping due diligence
Remove the agents’ sphere leads from your database (if your contract outlines you’ll return them). Create a human resources file with any pertinent information on the agent, including their onboarding and separation agreements, etc.
Archive, but keep records of their transactional correspondence. Forward their email (for a period of time) or shut it off. Remove their seat from your CRM; you don’t want to be paying for open Google licenses or CRM seats if not needed. Protect your profitability here.
Update your team about the separation — but don’t go into details
There’s nothing worse than Johnny or Mary Joe just disappearing into the night and suddenly not being present for team meeting in the morning. Acknowledge their departure quickly and efficiently and move towards vision casting and re-engagement/retention efforts to ensure no other agents hop ship.
Erin McCormick Torres serves as COO for Livian at KW. She is an author, business coach, Realtor and content creator who runs the popular blog Travel Like a Local: Vermont. Connect with her on Instagram and LinkedIn.