Real Estate Agent Accountability: Proven Tips From North America’s Top Brokers and Owners
If there’s one thing every real estate team leader struggles with, it’s agent accountability.
At Follow Up Boss, we hear it time and time again: “No matter how many times I remind my agents to follow up, it still doesn’t seem to sink in.”
You can have the best network, the best marketing and the best reputation in your area but without agent accountability, it’s all for naught.
But walking the line between holding agents accountable for the right results and helping them stay motivated in a high-pressure industry isn’t easy.
That’s why we’ve decided to tackle this topic head-on by reaching out to top-performing team leaders and brokers to find out what really works. Here’s what we discovered.
Before we dive into the details of eight proven agent accountability systems, it’s important to clarify one thing:
Accountability and motivation are NOT the same thing.
To make sure we’re all on the same page, here’s a straightforward definition from owner of Austin-based Bramlett Residential, Eric Bramlett:
“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 are 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.”
While there is a lot to be said about both of these topics, this article will focus on the specific systems and actions that lead to more agents hitting their goals.
Without further ado, let’s dive in!
“You begin to trust your ability to perform, and this capability expands your capacity for success.”
— Kathleen Black, Founder, Kathleen Black Coaching & Consulting, Inc.
Name & Title: Kathleen Black, Founder, Kathleen Black Coaching & Consulting, Inc. (KBCC)
Accountability Ethos: It’s here to help your agents, not hurt them
Implementation: Track actions weekly, monitor your pipeline daily
Like so many other challenges in this business, accountability is a mindset issue.
For that reason, we wanted to kick this article off with a coach’s perspective—someone who has gotten plenty of dirt under their fingernails to help team leaders break through the mental blocks that prevent them from holding their agents accountable.
And who better than Kathleen Black?
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.
So when it comes to agent accountability, she’s not one to mince words.
“It’s easy for us to be intimidated by metrics. They can feel that an outside team is tracking us or someone is keeping a finger on our KPI’s,” says Kathleen. “Metrics can be intimidating to us because they’re clear-cut and they don’t have room for excuses.”
For some teams and agents, performance metrics are so stressful, they simply stop looking at them altogether. But metrics are too powerful to be neglected. That’s why, for experts like Kathleen, it’s all about finding the perfect balance.
She wants team leaders to remember that accountability is a way for agents to extend their power—not rob them of it.
To help you get started, Kathleen and her team at KBCC have generously shared the *exact* real estate sales accountability tracking spreadsheet they use to help fuel massive growth for the teams they coach.
“This will give you the foundation of building predictable results, and give you confidence in your business so that you can take educated risks to pivot your business, like the top 1% producers are doing in our industry,” says Kathleen.
Click here to download the agent tracking sheet now!
Once you have the right mindset and tools in place, it’s all about keeping your eyes on the prize.
“An ideal accountability system for me is always going to seamlessly flow from the big picture to the minute details,”
“Sometimes we’re only tracking one piece of the pie, but it needs to be an integrated accountability system.”
In order for goals and metrics to work, you must have a system in place for linking daily behaviors to big picture business goals.
“Most accountability systems go off track because we fall into the habit of not tracking or keeping numbers, or we misunderstand that the metrics are there to serve us,” shares Kathleen. “A great system is going to make sure that we’ve broken down exactly what we need to do, daily, monthly and quarterly, in order to be on track to hit your goals.”
#2. Use motivation to foster genuine drive
“I believe most accountability systems go off track for one of two reasons: when the person does not understand the ‘why’ behind the tracking and when the ‘accountant’ forgets the human being behind the data and metrics.”
— Beth Nordaune, Founder & CEO, The Enclave Team
Name & Title: Beth Nordaune, Founder & CEO, The Enclave Team
Accountability Ethos: Link metrics to your agents’ deeper motivations
Implementation: Track everything from hours spent prospecting to deals under contract, follow up with meaningful face-to-face check-ins.
By now, we’ve established that motivation and accountability are not 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.
“I have found the greatest chance of the desired outcome is when I can tap into or fnd someone's motivation behind what they are trying to do,” shares Beth, CEO and founder of one of the top 100 RE/MAX teams, The Enclave Team.
For leaders like Beth, it’s crucial to drill down and get clear on why it’s important to hold yourself accountable in the first place.
“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,” she explains.
The foundation of the accountability system at The Enclave Team is all about having the right data to help keep the spark of motivation alive.
“The numbers don't lie,” Beth says,
“They help us make great decisions, research new possibilities, and know what is working best!”
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 up with data at every stage. Now, that’s powerful stuff.
Here are some of the accountability metrics Beth looks at:
But beyond the metrics, Beth’s agent accountability system also includes:
The conversations are simple. Beth asks questions like:
It’s all about having the right numbers and the right face-to-face, human support to give those numbers meaningful context.
— Emily Smith, COO of Wemert Group Realty
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
Last year the Wemert Group Realty produced over $265 million in transaction volume, serving over 900 Orlando families.
And they did it with a team of just 30 rockstar agents.
You don’t get results like that without a killer team culture, including an airtight system for keeping agents accountable—and it doesn’t have to be strict, rigid, or grounded in “tough love”.
For Wemert Group Realty COO Emily Smith, 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,” she explains.
“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 twenty. Both types of agents are equally valued in our organization.”
“We meet with each agent twice a year to check in on or set new goals, talk to them about their big why and listen,” shares Emily.
From there, all you need to do is keep checking in.
Every week, the leadership team at Wemert Group Realty asks agents to report their numbers using a simple sheet 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, you’ll need to decide what kind of goals are welcome in your team. Some team leaders want all-star rainmakers only, while others are happy to have agents who just want a couple of customers per month.
From there, you need to get clear on your agents’ goals. Start by asking:
Once you’re clear on the bigger picture for each agent on your team, schedule consistent performance check-ins according to 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,”
No wonder the team at Wemert Group Realty calls themselves a “team-erage”. As Emily puts it: “At the forefront, we strive to get everyone to their goals — together.”
— Alex Lopez, Team Leader, Homeway Real Estate
Name & Title: Alex Lopez, Team Leader, Homeway Real Estate
Accountability Ethos: Keep your metrics simple
Implementation: Three core metrics: inbound leads, deals under contract and closings
“To me motivation is just a temporary feeling in the moment that does not last. Accountability is the true engine that keeps one executing well over a long period of time not just in the short term.”
Alex Lopez is a guy who gets straight to the point.
After noticing several critical workflow flaws at past brokerages, he did what any ambitious agent would do:
Set out to launch his own team.
After selling an impressive 87 homes in his first year as a team leader, today Alex and the team at Pennsylvania-based Homeway Real Estate boast an average of 20 monthly transactions and 3.45% buyer-side commission.
For Alex, success like that is all about focus.
“Most people just stop monitoring them because they are too complicated. You should really only be tracking the most important things that drive the behaviors to move the needle for all of the other metrics. Pick what's most important, focus on monitoring that and the rest falls in line,” Alex explains.
Like any task worth doing, Alex knows that the secret of a rock-solid accountability system lies in its simplicity.
Rather than getting caught up in a web of metrics, he focuses on tracking three core checkpoints: inbound leads, deals under contract and closings.
The beauty of Alex’s 3-checkpoint agent accountability system is that not only is it clear, simple and fair—it also follows the customer conversion process to a ‘t’.
By paying attention to the right metrics, Alex stays in tune to any larger systems and workflow problems that need to be addressed at the leadership level.
Here are the three core accountability metrics Alex looks at:
“Focusing on those things keeps us moving forward at the major checkpoints. If one is dropping the ball we know which section in our process is requiring more attention,”
— Emilio Dispirito, Team Leader at The Dispirito Team
Name & Title: Emilio DiSpirito, Team Leader, The DiSpirito Team
Accountability Ethos: Hire the right people, expect the right results
Implementation: Written commitment, real-time feedback
“You can't hold the unmotivated accountable,”
says Emilio Dispirito.
As the team leader of one of Rhode Island’s top-performing real estate companies, Emilio is unapologetically focused on growth.
In fact, agents on The DiSpirito Team do an average of 30 transactions a year.
But that kind of success doesn’t happen by accident. For Emilio, it’s all about recruiting the right people to begin with. “Figuring out how to weed through the wrong agents before you hire them is essential,” he explains.
When it comes to hiring, he leaves no stone unturned.
Early on in his business, Emilio sat down with the team’s operations manager Joe Fazio and created a four-phase interview process that consists of a phone interview structured around a candidate’s DISC profile and several in-person meetings.
But what really makes Emilio’s hiring strategy one-of-a-kind is that he and his hiring team wait for the candidate to follow up with them.
“After all, what good is it to hire someone who does NOT follow up?” asks Emilio. From A to Z, Emilio’s entire recruitment process is set up to bring the right people onto the team.
Before any new agent officially joins the team, they must be willing to commit to Emilio’s quality standards in writing.
“We have them sign a confidentiality agreement, team minimum standards and then review commission structure,” Emilio adds.
All expectations are made crystal clear, before the agent comes onto the team. And at The DiSpirito Team, there is no such thing as special treatment. All agents are held to the same set of standards.
Because Emilio’s agent accountability is designed to eliminate the need for micromanagement, he only takes action only when he notices that there’s an area for an improvement with a member of the team.
“When leads are not followed up on, I reassign and slow down or even stop their lead flow until I see improvement with what they currently have. It’s not fair to the producing agents to be throwing leads out to agents that don’t follow up,” he explains.
According to Emilio, most accountability systems fail because they aren’t consistent: “Most team leaders get caught up in the ‘busy work’ of running the team and forget to run the business.”
To keep consistent, Emilio uses the Follow Up Boss tag feature to check in with agents quickly, while they’re engaged in prospecting workflows.
It’s the kind of agile, real-time feedback that enables agents to immediately get their performance back on track. “In the event leads are not followed up with, I’ll simply tag the agent (LOVE this feature on FUB!) on the note and add a task for me to make sure they are on the lead.”
— Eric Bramlett, Owner & Realtor at Bramlett Residential
Name & Title: Eric Bramlett, Owner & Broker, Bramlett Residential
Accountability Ethos: Be clear and specific about performance goals
Implementation: Speed-to-lead as north star metric, track via specific outreach actions
There are three words that make Eric Bramlett’s agent accountability system utterly effective:
Detailed executable actions.
“Most [accountability] systems don't identify the executable actions you must take at all, or they don't identify them in enough detail,”
Luckily, Eric and his team don’t follow “most” systems.
In fact, Eric’s team regularly hits $100M+ in sales with just a dozen agents. To sustain that kind of success, Eric ensures that each agents’ specific actions are tied to a clear goal, and properly tracked.
“Most people only want to take those actions that they enjoy,”
says Eric, “Accountability is executing all of the steps required to meet your goal, regardless of whether or not you enjoy them.”
“We're obsessive about speed to lead. Our goal is <10 minutes. Agents are required to call, text, and email each lead,” Eric explains.
We all know speed to lead is important for conversion rates, but for team leaders like Eric, it’s more than that—for him, tracking speed to lead is all about staying ahead of the eight ball when it comes to agent accountability.
“Measuring speed to lead allows me to see what’s happening before there's a problem and if an agent does end up with a poor conversion rate, that's the first thing we look at and tell them to improve,” says Eric.
Here’s an example of how Eric’s team tracks one of their key performance metrics:
“Since we require a call, text, and email to each new lead that comes in, we can see how quickly agents are responding to leads by checking when their email goes out,” Eric shares.
With all the interactions stored in one central platform, he can instantly review all the interactions and spot specific areas of improvements for each agent on the team.
— Ron Howard, Team Leader at Ron Howard & Associates
Name & Title: Ron Howard, Team Leader, Ron Howard & Associates
Accountability Ethos: Hold yourself accountable, then develop systems to help your team do the same
Implementation: Set clear expectations
Ron Howard & Associates have been at the top of their game for years now—but for Ron, it took almost just as long to develop the right mindset around accountability.
“I avoided accountability for the first part of my career,” shares Ron, “I’m an entrepreneur… If I have someone telling me what to do, I no longer qualify as an ‘entrepreneur’, right?”
After telling himself the same story for more than 10 years, Ron finally reached out for an accountability partner.
“Not too far towards the back of my mind, I knew it [accountability] was the thing I needed most,” Ron admits. “There was no third party making sure I got the things I needed to do, done.”
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 was then that Ron finally made the decision to not only accept that he needed to implement accountability tools for his team—but that he also needed ways to start holding himself accountable, asap.
“I needed to be told what to do and to be held accountable to do it,”
he says, “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.
He uses a second ‘time blocking’ Google calendar overlay, to remind himself daily of what he should be doing in any “off time” when he’s not on an appointment.
But at the team level, it’s Ron’s partnership with real estate coach Verl Workman that has been the biggest game-changer.
Click here to download the agent tracking sheet Verl’s team at Workman Success Systems created for Ron to help him keep his team accountable.
“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 nice events,”
For building team accountability, Ron and his agents 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!”
According to Ron, one of the shortest paths to greater accountability is having clear priorities. Agents shouldn’t be bogged down with the question, “Who do I call next? How do I become more effective?”
These things should be clear from the second they log into their laptops.
At Follow Up Boss we’ve developed dynamic smart lists that automatically prioritize all your hottest leads and contacts, based on your goals and preferences
— Ryan Rodenbeck, Broker & Owner, Spyglass Realty
Name & Title: Ryan Rodenbeck, Broker & 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 team of 20 high-performing agents consistently hits close to $100M in production every year.
His secret sauce?
Voluntary accountability groups.
Because the way Ryan sees it, accountability can't be forced.
The way Ryan sees it, accountability doesn't work unless the participants are self-motivated.
“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,” he says.
“We have several different methods of accountability,” Ryan continues, “We do one on one professional development meetings with our agents every 6 weeks.” “But the real magic comes with our accountability groups,” he says.
We get it. Real estate agents already have A LOT of meetings on their calendar.
But for many members of the Spyglass Realty team, weekly accountability meetings are the perfect time and place to lift your head above the water and take a good look around to 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.
As Ryan puts 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.“
If there’s anything we learned after years of working with some of North America’s top real estate teams, it’s that the forced accountability rarely works.
To achieve truly great results, you need to help your agents become more accountable.
With the right tools, that can be easier than it sounds.
Follow Up Boss’s real-time performance dashboards help you deliver the right feedback at the right time to help your agents grow into their full potential.
Smart lists and action plans help make sure your agents never fall behind due to a lack of organization, poor prioritization, or “too many leads”.
Because the truth is, accountability can be simple—if you set it up that way.
Try Follow Up Boss today and find out just how easy agent accountability can be.