Any indie broker knows that real estate is all about relationships. Buyers and sellers choose agents who take the time to build a good personal relationship and can demonstrate their value to the customer.
That principle also applies to indie brokers recruiting new and experienced agents in their local markets. In fact, it actually provides a competitive advantage when going head to head with national brands and franchises for talented professionals.
To succeed in recruiting the right agents, indie brokers should focus on building those personal relationships, and offer an appealing proposition. Here are several tips to capitalize on your advantages.
Take the time to listen to prospective agents. Along with asking questions about an individual’s goals, experience and work habits, try to get a sense of that person as a whole – values, family and passions. This will help you determine if that prospect is a good fit for your company. But even more importantly, you can start building the rapport that is so important in convincing a promising agent to join your team.
Don’t hold “cookie-cutter” interviews. Vary the questions you ask each agent, and change the setting as well. You might meet one prospect in your office, another at a coffee shop and a third at a nearby park, for instance. This will keep you fresh for each interview, while subtly reminding prospects that as an indie broker you’re not constricted by a nationwide company policy or procedure.
Talk about your firm’s culture. This can be a great selling point for agents looking for a comfortable home and a great start to their careers. It also helps you weed out any prospects that won’t be a good fit for your indie brokerage. Remember that you’re not bringing every prospect aboard – just the ones who are right for your business.
Know your value proposition. Having a supportive culture is an important selling point, but it’s far from the only thing you can offer a new agent. Make a list of the other benefits you offer, such as flexible working hours, personal coaching, the latest technology tools, or all of the above.
Be willing to accommodate individual schedules. Perhaps a top prospect needs to work from a home office part of the week. Another might be willing to cover the office on weekends in exchange for having a certain day off. Say “yes” to those types of requests, unless you feel they would be an undue burden. It’s much better to have a happy and productive agent working four days a week, than an unhappy low-producer who’s putting in long office hours.
Turn your technology investments into a competitive advantage. Demonstrate your CRM, show them what you offer, let them touch and feel your laptops or tablets, and pull up one of your agent’s websites. Being tech-savvy and tech-friendly will go a long way toward recruiting top prospects for your indie brokerage.
Look at your office layout and design. Do you have open areas, sofas and “cool” objects on the floors and walls? Or are you stuck in the 1970s with gray cubicles with flimsy plastic partitions? If it’s been a while since you’ve updated your office decor, make an investment in your future if you want to attract younger Millennial agents.
Offer personal coaching. One of the most important benefits you can offer is personal coaching, along with formal training on sales contracts, listing presentations and managing transactions. While new licensees will understand the basics of real estate, they still need to be brought up to speed as to how business is done in the real world. The old “sink or swim” model for new agents is obsolete. Instead, you can offer them one-on-one coaching, helping them to become productive agents more quickly, while building long-term loyalty to your indie brokerage.
Use your creativity. Post an unusual photo on social media with a caption like this: “How our top real estate agents relax at our indie brokerage?” Include a few unconventional questions on your application. When you’re ready to make an offer, invite the prospect out for dinner, or go to a baseball game, a concert or a fashion show to “close the deal.”
If you’re sensing a theme here, it’s very simple. Take a personal approach to recruiting individual agents rather than “one-size-fits-all” like the national franchises. Just be yourself, tell your story and welcome the right agents to your indie brokerage!
Want more great ideas for growing your business? Check out this video on Building a Brand for Your Indie Brokerage from West + Main Founder and CEO Stacie Staub.