Strategies For Recruiting Real Estate Agents
Recruiting, just one part of the Process
Too often Managers use the term recruiting to describe everything they want to accomplish; which at the end of day, equates to adding a producer to the sales staff. The goal of hiring someone who can succeed in your business takes into account much more than recruiting. Recruiting is one element, interviewing another and selection is a third; all of which need to be done well to reach the goal.
When we talk about recruiting it is important that we define what we mean. In the most basic terms recruting is what we do to create a flow of canidates to the interview table. Learning how to interview is a skill and selection is a process.
Actually, recruiting takes on two forms; passive and active. Let’s take a look at both, as they are both important.
Passive recruiting is defined as anything you do, or decide to do, that will potentially attract agent prospects to your company. Once you decide, you won’t have to revisit passive recruiting strategies very often, but they will have an impact on attracting prospects. Let’s take a look at some of the considerations that make up your passive recruiting decisions.
- Location of your office
- Exterior appeared of the office
- Reception area
- Placing an Ad in the Paper for people interested in real estate sales
- Placing a Web Page for Career Opportunity on your Site
- Affiliation with a Franchise
- Incentives you provide to existing agents
You should not take this element of your recruiting plan lightly. In fact, care should be given to evaluating how the location, appearance and design of your office impacts your ability to attract people who may be looking for a career in real estate sales.
Decisions about how you structure your compensation can have a positive impact on your ability to bring prospective candidates to your office for an interview, but left as the only strategy you put in place, don’t expect any of the passive recruiting strategies to produce the flow of candidates you need to make a difference in growing your staff or replacing agents that leave or retire.
The real key to producing a consistent flow of canidates to the interview and selection process is to have an active recruiting plan in place and have the commitment on a weekly basis to work the plan. It has been my experience that Brokers and Managers who commit a portion of their time each week to working their recruiting plan have a solid understanding of the challenge framed in that great old saying: “If it is to be, it’s up to Me”
Active recruiting is, as many have said over the years, is a “contact sport”. In the simplest of terms, it is called prospecting. Sales Agents, new to the business, need to have an understanding of how to prospect and normally will select from six or seven prospecting strategies in order to create opportunities for listing and sales appointments. Brokers and Managers need to do much the same to create appointments for interviewing people interested in the business. The National Association of REALTORS has created a recourse called the Field Guide to Recruiting and Retaining Salespeople. It provides a broad base of reference and is worth review.
These Three get Results
I would like to review three active recruiting strategies that work. For the sake of this discussion, let’s focus on recruiting new people. Recruiting existing agents is a separate discussion.
Let me briefly outline the plan approach for each of these strategies and then provide some steps for building into your plan.
Client Follow Up
Often the clients and customers you serve are some of the best prospects and if they aren’t interested in a position, they may know of someone that might be a candidate. Think about the number of people you know who are in real estate sales today, who got started because they thought they too could do the job…maybe better than the agent they worked with in the process of buying or selling their home.
This is a pretty simple strategy to put in place.
Step 1 – Follow the closed transaction with a letter of appreciation and suggest that you will be calling, because you need some “help”
Step 2 - Make the call. These calls need to be scheduled as part of your weekly plan.
Step 3 - Ask for their “help”. Explain that you are looking to add quality people to your sales staff. Ask: “Who do they know that might be looking for an opportunity”?
Step 4 - Close for an interview appointment or get the referred lead.
Previous Client and Customer Communication
We live in a referral world. One of the very best sources for creating a flow of candidates to your office for an interview is the list of past client and customers that live in your market area. They know people who are looking for opportunities to grow and prosper, but do they know you want to meet and talk with them? Probably not…unless you stay in touch and encourage them to think of you when they have a chance to make a referral.
This strategy takes some time and commitment, but will pay big dividends once in place.
Step 1 - Enter the contact information you have into a contact management program. Microsoft Office / Outlook works well.
Step 2 - Set up a schedule to call each person on your list and let them know you are reaching out to them for help. Explain what you would hope to accomplish and ask if it’s o.k. to keep in touch. If you don’t have an e-mail address for them, get it to add to your data base.
Step 3 - Create a “newsletter” that you can send out to this group on a scheduled basis that will keep them informed of what is happing in the market and remind them of the career opportunity with your firm.
Step 4 - Establish an annual plan of action that incorporates your newsletter and at least one phone call or visit to ask.
Centers of Influence
Not unlike prospecting previous client and customers, this strategy is focused on identifying resources in your market area that are in a position to refer people they know and do business with who might be looking for opportunities in real estate sales. The best way to think about who might be someone you want to add to this group is to use the “Yellow Pages” approach.
Step 1 – Create a list of who you know: A – accountants, attorneys, appraisers, etc., B – book keepers, bar owners, barbers, etc. A thru Z
Step 2 - Identify the people you need to meet and add to the list; i.e. Clergy, Coaches,etc. Networking has a long history of success and is the key to working your Centers of Influence list. If you don't know them...introduce yourself!
Step 3 - Follow the same steps outlined in working with previous clients and customers; Steps 1 – 4
Any one of these three recruiting strategies will produce a flow of candidates to the interview process. The challenge is to get started and commit the time to do the work. Like anything else you do, it should be scheduled. How much time? That is up to you, but unless you are in need of filling empty desks, just the normal process of adding staff should require an allocation of at least 10% of your time.
Having an active and successful recruiting plan in place has many positive affects on your sales staff and your ability to manage a productive team.
The Process of Selection
Recruiting is the activity that brings you in touch with people who you can interview. Making the right selection decision is the next step. This article might help with that challenge