05 Feb Recruiting the best Real Estate Agents in your area
Most business owners have little time available to put into recruitment and training so this can often create gaps within the business when someone leaves or new staff come onboard with a lag time before they start producing. It can also have an adverse effect on the culture within a business and can result in a disconnect with your team during these periods.
Add to this a real estate industry which is more competitive than ever, a burgeoning National marketplace and the ever-increasing use of technology in communication & research which gives the ability for “remote” agents to work from home or a workspace independently.
These factors, plus the need for Agencies to continue their growth in an environment where the profitability of the traditional real estate agency model is dwindling through the expectation of higher commission splits to attract top agents, the ease with which an appropriately licensed agent can now work independently (without a shopfront & with limited overheads) have forced business owners to redirect their energy somewhat. More emphasis needs to be placed on culture within the office to attract and retain good staff, as well as in building the skills of junior staff to increase their ability to be more dollar productive and developing and nurturing a pipeline of potential recruits..
We have identified the key areas which we find are integral to building a strong business & network of potential recruits. The aim is always to “bullet-proof“ your business, minimising the risk to your income and profile when someone leaves.
▪ Understand what experienced agents are looking for
Agents are naturally competitive and some have a sense of authority and
entitlement. I say this with respect, as if it’s earnt then it’s deserving. So, when attempting to recruit an experienced agent or property manager, it is important that you determine those things which are important to them.
And create an environment which will satisfy those requirements.
For example, for some it may be a more favourable commission split. For another it may be more advanced technology, and yet for others it may be an outsourced or built-in lead generation system to feed them more leads. It could even be as simple as allowing them to work remotely for a couple of days a week.
To do this, when you are targeting or interviewing Agents to join your team, it is imperative that you ask key questions to gather as much background information on what is and isn’t working for them at their current Agency as you can.
An interview / meeting with a potential recruit is much like presenting to a vendor.
Find out what’s most important to them and tailor your presentation accordingly. Active listening and delving into what motivates them will give you an advantage over other offers which will try to “sell” to them.
▪ Be persistent and respectful
Recruiting an experienced and successful Sales Agent or Property Manager can take time. It is a nurturing process, again much like you would do with your pipeline of potential Vendors.
Creating a list or database of the agents & PM’s in your area who you would
like to recruit is a good way create a follow up plan. Use these insights into their motives to establish an adaptable and targeted flow of communication and interaction with them. By showing that you are responsive, proactive and care about their interests and needs, it will eventually be the draw card they are looking for.
By bringing agents on this way, you negate a lot of the need to keep offering them more commission and more incentives, which can often lead to less motivation to work as hard and also a superiority complex which is very hard to manage. The culture within the office will be better for it also.
Regardless of how long it takes, if you want them on your team you have to keep up some level of contact. A call when they list a great property, or sell a great property. Pop in to say hi at an open home. Invite them for a coffee now and then.
▪ Diarise regular timeslots for recruitment
Recruiting should be a regular part of your week. Being proactive rather than reactive is so much more powerful and will protect your business from those gaps being left behind when someone leaves or your business grows to a level where you are desperate to fill the gaps left by inefficiency generated by lack of time due to the increasing workload.
When this happens, there is a tendency to just put anyone on – the best you can find at the time. This opens up a whole new can of worms for the business owner and it can have an even more detrimental effect on your business and the culture within, if that person does not have the same values, work ethic, experience and motivation as the rest of the team and the person who left. Without a pipeline of preferred candidates to contact, your options may be limited to those who are actively looking for a new job at that time. These are often not the best candidates for you.
Good real estate business is built on relationship building, so this is what you should always be doing with others in your industry. Stop looking at the great agents in your area as competition.
Even when not actively recruiting, you should be developing positive relationships with your network.
If you open the door for them to keep in touch, acknowledge and congratulate them on their successes then when and if the time comes for them to change – you will be the first person they will turn to.
By having open lines of communication, you will create opportunities to work together when the right time comes.
Use your professional and social events as an opportunity to relax, enjoy a few drinks, and engage in casual conversation with your team and colleagues wherever possible. By sharing these events with them, it inspires a sense of camaraderie, worth and pride. Inclusion is often the best way to bring out the loyalty & appreciation in your team.
You can also use these planned events to engage potential future recruits. It’s a great way to show them the culture and values that you live by whilst enabling you to further develop rapport. And, by holding regular local outings, community / charity events and such, this will give great exposure in your marketplace, enhance brand recognition and embrace the perception within your area as a business which gives back. This type of business resonates with many.
▪ Experience isn’t everything
When you want to recruit top talent, cast a wide net. Real estate is all about connection and the ability to build strong relationships.
So, it is not always the most experienced and skilled agents who you should be speaking to. Having years in the industry does not always equal a successful addition to your team.
Real estate agents have big personalities and a lot of wasted time can be spent by a Principal managing these personalities, expectations, previously developed habits and the interactions in the office environment.
There are always up-and-coming agents or associates who have either recently joined the industry or who are looking to join the industry who will outshine the others in time. With the right nurturing, support and guidance
they could be game-changers just waiting to be discovered. Some of my best performers over my 22 years in business were people that I brought in from completely different industries. Both younger and older.
They come in with no expectations (if you choose well in the interview process), they are willing to start from the ground up and absorb everything you share with them. They cost less and they generally integrate with the team much easier. They will work hard and have strong loyalty towards the Agency which has given them an opportunity to get their career underway, especially if you look after them and allow them to grow within the business as their skills and ability develops.
As a real estate business owner, you should always have your eyes and ears open to people you come across who provide exemplary, confident and friendly customer service. The incentives for traineeships are fantastic and it is the best way to bring in new people.
A tiered structure within a Sales department is recommended – a mix of Lead Generators, Sales Associates, Buyer Specialists and Senior Sales representatives spreads the workload and the income source so that if someone leaves it is much easier for those left behind to absorb the missing piece.
▪ Put some thought into your recruitment plan
Consider offering referral fees to motivate your current employees to invite their peers to join your company.
For the recruit, you may consider options such as 100% commission on the first two to three sales to make up for the 3-6 months it may take them to catch up on their lost income by leaving one agency to join another.
Or you may consider a complimentary marketing plan around their move with a collateral package to assist them to get started. Another option is to offer them administrative support at no cost, even for a period of time.
▪ Use your team to recruit
Recruitment builds the team. Culture keeps it running.
If you have great culture within your business, it makes sense that your best form of recruitment will be word of mouth.
Encourage your team to talk about how much they love working there and to network all new role opportunities to their family & friends within the Community and the industry.
Culture is an often intangible but crucial element that determines whether or not a real estate agency can keep the top-level talent that it hires and attract those it wants to hire. If your team are cohesive and motivated by shared values, they will want to be part of this process. It will give them great pride to bring someone into the business.
The ultimate goal for any business is to become an attraction business and this also goes for attracting new staff.
▪ Recruitment Services
Outsourcing your recruitment needs is a great way to cover all of the above – as long as you choose wisely.
It is important to engage a recruiter that you feel comfortable with, who has a background in real estate and understands the role in its entirety. Make sure that the recruiter takes the time to meet with you to get a better understanding of your office culture and dynamic and the overall offering within your brand.
Someone who will follow up and engage with the new placement regularly to ensure their orientation and onboarding is well established to give them the best opportunity to succeed.
Once you find a great recruiter who fits your needs, stick with them. The relationship between you and your recruiter will only get stronger as you learn more about each other’s expectations and processes. It is important to develop trust and a proven track record with placement of candidates can certainly do that!
Marnie & Mitchell
Hive Consulting Co.