Any broker actively recruiting in today’s real estate industry may be sidelined by the brokers who successfully recruit by offering sign-on bonuses and high splits. If you’re recruiting based solely on split, there’s always somebody out there with a bigger carrot.

If you are going to be successful in recruiting—that is, hiring people who will contribute profitable growth—then get serious about it and the value you offer.

What makes your brokerage stand out?

When you encounter qualified agents, consider why your brokerage is the best fit for them. Do you have a true competitive advantage, or do you look like your competitors? Add to that the fact that there is a growing gap between productive agents and marginally productive agents. This translates to a shrinking company dollar. If there’s no significant difference between your brokerage and one down the street except for the color of your sign, agents will make their decision based on commission split.

Are you seeking experienced agents,
new agents, or both? Here’s what to know

If you’re recruiting experienced agents … get on their radar and stay there. Make five calls a day to prospective agents, and set one appointment a week. Remember, it’s a courtship; they are not joining just because you finally picked up the phone to call. Focus on finding out what they need and want before you start to sell. Research them. Read their online profiles and reviews. Analyze their production. Look for strengths and weaknesses and address them.

It pays to remember that when you hire an experienced agent, other agents from his or her previous company will contact your new agent to learn why he or she joined your brokerage. If your new agent is having a positive early experience, you may be positioned for additional hires—provided they meet your standards.

If you’re recruiting new agents … focus on quality, not quantity. If you’re getting appointments and the quality isn’t there, ask more pre-appointment questions to help weed out prospects up front. And if you lose new agents that you wanted, follow their progress and stay in touch—they may not get the support they were promised.

If you can show you have an effective program for their success, and a track record to support your claims, you are positioned for strong recruiting results.

Recruiting the right people

The real estate industry has historically hired based on personality and people skills. Will these traits get the job done today? Think about what the marketplace needs today when looking for your next agent.

Our markets are more complex, and recruiting agents who thoroughly comprehend statistics and how they affect buying and selling is critical. Can a prospective agent rise to the standards today’s consumers expect? Can you? Is this prospective agent trainable?

Here are a few ways to maximize your recruiting efforts.

Define your target agent. Are you looking for agents based on their range of production? Newer agents who want the support that you can provide? It’s harder to recruit when you don’t know what you’re looking for. Even worse, if you don’t know what qualities you want in agents, you may hire people who add nothing to your company.

Crunch the numbers to show your worth. Like everyone else today, use your numbers to support your claims about your brokerage’s success. For example, on average, how long does it take a new agent with you to produce? What is the average increase in production for an experienced agent after joining you? What are the average savings to an experienced agent due to your level of administration and tech support? You get the picture. All of this says that what you are doing in your company works.

Get your CRM in order. No excuses here; you’ve got to have it.

Get on the phone. Make your calls. Yes, there are other ways to connect, but a phone call is still the game-changer.

Use social media. Facebook is still the 800-pound gorilla, but check out Instagram and any other channels that are relevant. Be where those prospective agents already are. Connect with them on social media and pay attention to what they post. Comment if appropriate. Consider new ways to use LinkedIn—opportunities exist there.

Make sure your office or company posts 
at least weekly on social media without sell-ing. Posts that showcase your culture, training, charities, and so forth give prospects better insight.

Use what you learn during recruiting interviews. Good agents are looking for good interviews. Probe for more details from their answers. Write down their responses; it’s a silent way of telling them that what they are saying is important to you, not to mention it helps recall. Hold at least two interviews, or more if necessary, until you are convinced that it’s the right fit. Be able to tell prospects what you expect of them and what they can expect of you.

Once an agent accepts your offer, make sure your onboarding runs smoothly. If the agent is coming from another brokerage, prepare him or her with what to expect in the exit interview. It’s the first step toward showing your investment in your new relationship.

How to deliver on what you promised

What processes or programs do you have in place that ensure agents will continue to develop and produce in the current market? The ability to teach agents to build and grow their business begins in the company’s training program. Successful training strengthens recruiting and retention efforts. A dynamic training program is one in which an agent is learning the skills your market and its consumers require. Use consumer intelligence.

Any strategy for long-term growth must align with the needs and wants of the consumer. Real estate companies must improve the delivery of services, and multi-office companies must strive for consistency within all offices. Ultimately, training programs and requirements reflect what a company believes about the importance of customer service.

Brokers and managers must roll up their sleeves, demonstrate their expertise, and become an integral part of every agent’s business. If this is not evident and credible to agents, why should they work for you?

I still hear directives such as, “Our goal is to increase our market share by 20% this year,” or “If you don’t produce more, you’re gone.” Just talking has nothing to do with leadership and skilled management. Where is the how to? Where is the concerted effort directed toward the increases?

The philosophy to “train as if your profit depends on it” is one on which the real estate industry should rely.

Measure your recruiting results on the amount of company dollar added by the agents you hire. It’s easy to hire numbers of agents (especially new agents), but the whole point is profitable growth.