True or false: without motivation, accountability is useless?
If you’re not keen on penning an eight to 10 page, single-spaced essay on these two powerhouse topics, we get it. But if you do want to know why your agents aren’t performing like they should so you can follow up with practical steps to keep them on track — well then, you’re in the right place.
Because here’s the thing: humans love autonomy. (After all, how many of your agents list a “flexible schedule” as a top perk of the job?)
But freedom can lead to chaos and without clear accountability frameworks, your conversion rates can easily take a downturn without you even realizing it.
We asked an exclusive roster of top-performing real estate leaders for their insights into what accountability means to them, plus the practical tips they use to increase real estate team performance.
Before charging ahead with strategies and action plans, let’s do a little level-setting. In a world of overused jargon, what does ‘accountability’ actually even mean? And how is it different from the idea of maintaining your motivation as a real estate agent?
“I have found the greatest chance of the desired outcome is when I can tap into or find someone's motivation behind what they are trying to do,” shares Beth Nordaune, CEO and founder of one of the top 100 RE/MAX teams, The Enclave Team.
Top performing team leaders like Beth and Austin-based owner of Bramlett Residential, Eric Bramlett, know that while agent motivation and accountability may be two sides of the same coin, they are not interchangeable terms. Here’s Eric:
“Motivation is what most people have. You want some end goal and are willing to work for it. Accountability is what most people lack. There is always a set of actions required to get to your end goal and most people only want to take those actions that they enjoy. Accountability is executing all of the steps required to meet your goal, regardless of whether or not you enjoy them.”
When team members haven’t identified a motivating purpose behind their work, accountability starts to feel like Big Brother hovering over their shoulder.
But with the right systems in place, you can reignite their motivation and help them deliver their best on an ongoing basis.
Name & Title: Beth Nordaune, CEO and founder, The Enclave Team
Accountability Ethos: Link metrics to your agents’ deeper motivations
Implementation: Track what is important and follow up with meaningful face-to-face check-ins
By now, we’ve established that motivation and accountability aren’t the same thing. But team leaders like Beth Nordaune will be the first to tell you that they are very closely related.
After successfully scaling her business from five people to a multi-location regional team within just a few years, Beth knows how to draw on the power of agent motivation to help keep performance on track.
“It can feel like management when you are only calling out the missing behavior or action, but when tied into a person's motivation, there is a greater chance of successful motivation.”
“When trying to hold someone accountable or for holding yourself accountable it is easier to take responsibility for the outcome when you dig deeper into what will happen if you succeed as well as what will happen if you fail.”
For Beth, it’s all about having the right data to help keep the spark alive.
“The numbers don't lie.” Clear real estate actions plans shaped from intrinsic motivations and supported with metrics, provide real estate leaders and agents a smoother path towards progress.
Your agents don’t want you to simply throw numbers in their face. Instead, show them the complete history of their work as a cohesive story of their personal growth, backed by data at every stage.
Here are some of the accountability metrics Beth looks at:
Beyond the metrics, Beth’s agent accountability system also includes:
Beth asks questions like:
For Beth, it’s all about having the right numbers and the right human support to help give those numbers meaningful context.
Name & Title: Kathleen Black, Founder, Kathleen Black Coaching & Consulting, Inc.
Accountability Ethos: Accountability is a tool for high performers
Implementation: Habitual CRM organization tracks self-coaching opportunities
Like so many other challenges in this business, accountability is a mindset issue.
“We start with mentality,” says Kathleen. “High performance is a mental mode, when effective it spreads and creates a culture. High performers lean into accountability because it helps us grow and thrive.”
Kathleen has been successfully coaching real estate teams to become top 1% producers for over a decade — even going as far as helping them multiply their production value by up to 20X.
She believes that high performance results from agents harnessing accountability as a tool for personal improvement. As such, it should be actively supported in your lead management processes and workflows.
“An ideal accountability system is always going to seamlessly flow from the big picture to the minute details.”
When agents understand the opportunities in their real estate database, they can begin improving upon these behaviors (and reaping bigger rewards).
Kathleen coaches her clients to use Follow Up Boss’s tagging feature to link daily behaviors to monthly goals.
“Accurate tagging ensures that they can use tracking within the Follow Up Boss system to a higher level and they then have to do less manual tracking. Depending on their documented client process, tagging can help customize their tracking much better by steps. This way we can see any bottlenecks in their process based on performance. Followed by helping them identify key skills they need to improve.”
Name & Title: Emily Smith, COO, Wemert Group Realty
Accountability Ethos: Agents’ goals can and should vary
Implementation: Performance meetings twice per year, weekly self-reported pipeline tracking, additional coaching and support as needed
Emily and her team at Wemert Group Realty have been known to produce over $283million in transaction volume, serving more than 900 Orlando families.
You don’t get results like that without an ace team culture and it doesn’t have to be strict, rigid, or grounded in “tough love”. The way Emily sees it, a healthy approach to agent accountability is all about partnership.
“In an organization like Wemert Group Realty, helping an agent be accountable means understanding their goals and helping them establish the milestones they should be striving towards daily, weekly, or monthly.”
“You have to know what you're striving towards in order to even begin to start an accountability-based relationship. We have agents that want to serve two families a month and agents that want to serve 20. Both types of agents are equally valued in our organization.”
She and the leadership team meet with each agent twice a year to check in on or set new goals and talk to them about their big why.
Agents then report their numbers each week using a simple sheet (linked below!) which asks them to examine their current pipeline and think through any contracts written, referrals given, and how many people they've added to their database since the last check-in. “Our leadership uses this data to see trends, look for holes where training may need to be supplemented and to help nudge an agent when they need it.”
First, decide what kind of real estate goals are welcome in your team. Some team leaders want all-star rainmakers only. Others are happy to have agents who want a smaller book of business.
Then clarify your agents’ goals by asking:
Once you’re clear on the bigger picture for each agent on your team, schedule consistent performance check-ins using the following cadence:
“Beyond this, we've developed some non-required classes agents can drop into any time to help keep them on track with their goals,” explains Emily. “At the forefront, we strive to get everyone to their goals — together.”
Name & Title: Lee Adkins, Head of Growth, Amplified Solutions
Accountability Ethos: Keep goals simple and doable from the start
Implementation: Track activity within CRM, allow agents to set goals to grow later
Amplified Solutions’ Head of Growth Lee Adkins specializes in knowing the advantages and disadvantages of agent accountability and motivation.
“Motivation is powerful when it works in your favor, but it's easy to lose motivation or be distracted when you rely solely on motivation.”
“One key part of accountability is having a measurable plan — I will make 15 calls each day. A decent plan executed is better than a perfect plan sitting on a shelf."
We know identifying motivating factors puts the magic behind accountability into action, but as Lee points out, motivation has no influence if the tasks behind an accountability action plan are out of reach for your agents.
His advice? Keep it simple and keep the autonomy factor in mind.
“Another piece is having a person or system you are accountable to. This is a big part of why the team and brokerage models can be very popular — they allow you to be independent but also fit in a framework provided for you.”
Baby steps make the difference here. Too much too soon robs team members of the can-do serotonin released after accomplishing a task.
If your team members are still in the agent onboarding phase, packing their days with learning the ropes adding accountability tasks to their plates can actually hold them back. Same goes for seasoned vets juggling a packed schedule.
Make your accountability goals manageable from the outset with the expectation their goals will grow to a reasonable volume as they progress. You can also consider letting your real estate agents test the waters on their own to establish a rhythm they can commit to.
“Ideally, it makes sense to have the agent set their own goals — people are usually more motivated and accountable when they pick the numbers versus being told what to do.”
Lee recommends FUB’s Agent Activity Reporting and Activity Leaderboard as accountability tools essential to tracking goals. “If it's not in FUB, it didn't happen.”
Name & Title: Eric Bramlett, Owner & Broker, Bramlett Residential
Accountability Ethos: Be clear and specific about performance goals
Implementation: Speed to lead as a North Star metric, maintain healthy competition
“Most accountability systems don't identify the executable actions you must take at all, or they don't identify them in enough detail,” explains Austin-based broker Eric Bramlett.
Luckily, Eric and his team don’t follow “most” systems.
To sustain their nine-figure success, Eric ensures that each agents’ specific actions fill their sales pipeline and set the pace for cyclical prosperity.
The key to ‘actions equaling sales’ is in tracking the numbers using a leading indicators scoreboard.
“We're strong believers that ‘people play differently when you're keeping score’ so building a compelling scoreboard is crucial.”
Eric and his team created a proprietary scoreboard using Follow Up Boss’s API (application programming interface) to include leading indicators, including:
“We've always had a leaderboard that shows agents who are listing, contracting, and closing the most business. We needed a scoreboard that shows leading indicators. What are the actions that agents take in order to sell more homes 3-6 months later?”
The results have been instantaneous.
“As soon as we started celebrating agents who were taking these actions, we saw behavior change (in a good way) due to healthy competition. We've already seen that agents who take these actions the most sell the most homes. We can't wait to leverage healthy competition by promoting this new leading indicators scoreboard!”
Name & Title: Ron Howard, Team Leader, Greatest Moves Team, RE/MAX Advantage Realty
Accountability Ethos: Hold yourself accountable, then develop systems to help your team do the same
Implementation: Set clear expectations
Ron’s Baltimore-based team has been at the top of their game for years now — but for Ron himself, it took almost just as long to develop the right mindset around accountability.
“I avoided accountability for the first part of my career. I’m an entrepreneur… If I have someone telling me what to do, I no longer qualify as an ‘entrepreneur’, right?”
Wrong. After telling himself the same story for more than 10 years, Ron finally reached out for an accountability partner. Everything changed the day he sat down for lunch with Lee Tessier.
“I got to see the operational excellence he built with his team by holding him and his team accountable to doing the things they needed to do to be successful.”
It's not only about implementing accountability tools for your team — but also finding ways to start holding yourself accountable.
“I needed to be told what to do and to be held accountable to do it. You need to get your team leader, your broker, or hire a great coach.”
At the personal level, Ron is a big fan of time blocking. His latest initiative, the 4:30 Psycho Challenge, is a lifestyle framework and accompanying workbook designed to help you make real traction on your biggest moonshot goals.
The challenge involves waking up at 4:30 am every morning for 90 days for three hours of uninterrupted work on your biggest, most “impossible” ideas before the day begins.
“All of our agents have what we call a ‘Top 50’ they have to keep updated, which are the best of the best of our sphere of influences and we have them in a Most Valuable Partner (MVP) program where we reward them with parties and invites to events.”
Ron and his agents also participate in weekly huddles and daily habit tracking:
“A lot of agents will avoid accountability because it’s too much work and they aren’t properly motivated. If you accept accountability and you’re humble, hungry and smart you can go a long way in this business!”
Name & Title: Ryan Rodenbeck, Broker and owner, Spyglass Realty
Accountability Ethos: Accountability can’t be forced
Implementation: Voluntary accountability groups, weekly micro-commitments and daily check-ins, professional development meetings every six weeks
Ryan Rodenbeck’s Austin-based team of 20 high-performing agents consistently hits close to $100 million in annual production. His secret weapon?
Voluntary accountability groups. Because the way Ryan sees it, accountability can't be forced.
“When you go through trials that are not forced and you realize that you're doing something wrong, accountability will be the engine of motivation.”
“We have several different methods of accountability. We do one-on-one professional development meetings with our agents every six weeks. But the real magic comes with our accountability groups.”
We get it. Real estate agents already have a lot of meetings on their calendar.
But for members of the Spyglass Realty team, weekly accountability meetings are the perfect time and place to lift your head above the water and make sure you’re still swimming in the right direction.
Here’s how voluntary accountability groups work at Spyglass Realty:
“One of the three can be a personal commitment and the other two are professional,” Ryan explains. “When we come in the next week, we tell each other what went well, what they could have done better, and what you're going to strive for the following week.”
Ryan and his agents integrate their calendars inside Follow Up Boss so they can see all their appointments and accountability meetings in one central place. No more chaos. But again, the system only works if you choose it.
“The only problem is that because it HAS to be voluntary in order to be effective, not everyone goes to that. The ones that do, flourish the most.”
Accountability and motivation are undeniably linked. But without clarity and tangible frameworks, neither can be achieved on a consistent basis.
Follow Up Boss keeps agents on a rapid path toward growth with features like automatic lead distribution by ZIP code, town or agent seniority, easy-to-follow action plans to go from 1 to 6 follow-ups per lead, and a shareable agent leaderboard that makes it easy to know where everyone stands.
Try Follow Up Boss today and transform your team’s results.