Long & Foster started the Agent Succession Program last year to help sales associates who wish to step back from real estate sell their businesses to colleagues within the company.
The first participants are now making their way through the program, which matches retiring agents with associates who have similar personalities and work styles, and coaches them through the process.
Rich Fino, director of professional development, offers these three keys to success for anyone thinking about signing up to sell their business to another agent:
Before you sell your business, outline a future you can look forward to. Start taking steps to create achievable goals for your life after real estate, and outline how you’ll spend your time in the future.
“One of the challenges we’ve found is that our participants who are leaving real estate haven’t defined what their future is going to be like, and it scares them,” Fino said. So, think it through, talk to others who have been there, make some plans and get excited about the future.
“Retirement is going to happen one way or another,” Fino said. “Be proactive and do it on your terms”
Organize your client list. Agents sometimes feel overwhelmed with the amount of work they face when trying to organize their business for sale. Start with your client database and get organized. One strategy for doing this, Fino recommends, is starting with the first letter of the alphabet, and adding clients by last name. If you aim to do a letter or two a day, you can likely be done in a month or so. You have to be able to show potential buyers of your business this tangible asset.
Take the time to get to know your prospective buyer. Picking a successor can be a time-intensive process. Fino said the program makes a match based on profiles created by the buyer and seller, their resumes and personality assessments. Selling agents are coached and guided through interviewing their potential buyers to make sure this is a person to whom they can entrust their business legacy.
This isn’t something to rush through, if you want to get the best results, Fino said, adding, “You can’t transfer that trust to your clients if you yourself have questions. Make sure you fully trust your buyer, so we can help transfer the trust successfully.”