Recruiting and keeping the best talent is critical in today’s real estate market. It’s also becoming more challenging as production takes a hit from lower home sales. On a national basis, year-over-year MLS production reports show the average real estate agent’s income is down 28%.
Broker-owners’ operations teams are receiving more and more “non-payment” of MLS dues notices. And because of the inconsistency in agents’ monthly production, this movement is creating confusing information in your market data reports.
What does this mean, and what do we do about it?
For starters, we have to work harder than ever before to get our business moving in the right direction. We need to be more strategic in how we use technology and what kind of investments we make in our businesses, including our talent attraction and retention game.
Here are seven steps to consider for your talent attraction efforts.
Step 1: Face reality
We can’t control the housing market, but we can control our business practices and approach to changing market conditions. The facts are you must do more with less and do it better than before.
Be honest with yourself and your team about how you’re feeling: Don’t deny it or hide from it — acknowledge it!
Step 2: Set a clear vision for the future
In this market, it is vital to keep your ideal agents and hire those who fit your company culture. A clearly defined niche statement, a clear avatar of the ideal agent and a compelling value proposition go a long way. I’m an Army vet, so quotes from General Patton are natural for me: “A good plan that you act on today can be better than waiting on a perfect one tomorrow.”
In today’s market, it’s important to have an edge or niche that makes your business stand out from the crowd. Having an edge is imperative in any business, especially real estate. You want to set yourself apart from other firms by offering something unique that they don’t offer or do as well as you. If you don’t have an edge, how do you expect to get more leads and make more money?
Step 3: Use sales data in your business planning
From time to time, your sales data will reveal a trend. For example, if you have a team of 100 agents, and your top 25 agents account for 50% of sales, it means that half of your business comes from just 25% of your agents. You can use this information to set a clear path for the future.
It’s easy to say, “We want to increase our sales by 20%,” but it’s not so easy to know how exactly to do it. Analyze your sales data by quartiles. Which agents account for your top 25% of sales? The next 25% up to 50%, and so on. Is there a trend you can see in these sales? What action can you take to support each quartile? One of those actions could be moving your last quartile into a referral-only status.
Step 4: Re-recruit your best talent
When change hits, top talent leaves first. Yet your best promise for performing in this market is hanging on to your existing producers.
Don’t assume they are happy, content and squared away.
As my friend Steve Murray found in a case study of higher-performing brokers: “If you think you are close to your people, get closer!” Listen to them, respond to their valid suggestions and address the goofy ones straight on with candor.
Step 5: Show some fire, some passion and a sense of urgency
Show your team how to win in this market. Your associates can be warmed by your flame and passion.
Be tolerant of mistakes yet intolerant of inaction and inertia.
Let’s face it, even at a reduced rate of sales, there are still 17,500 homes closed a day, some 35,000 sides. Someone is going to get that business. Is it you and yours?
Step 6: Focus on results, not intangibles
In a shifting market, it’s easy to feel good about something that does not produce a result. Be trustworthy in the way you pursue productivity and profits. Yet success, momentum and results are the cure to a down market. Sales gains, listing taken, higher net promoter scores. My focus would be on new appointments earned each day and each week.
Step 7: Spend and invest in soft currency
Psychological “paychecks” have an intrinsic value that hard currency can never touch. In a tough financial market, what does it cost you to give a word of encouragement, a thank you for a new listing or recognition on a tough transaction?
The bottom line? Relationships have never been more important.
Networking and relationship-building are where the results will be. Truly understanding your ideal agent has never been more critical. Check if your system in these four areas is serving you and, if not, make the adjustments now:
- Agent referrals: These are more critical now than ever (they know the deal).
- Influencer referrals: The secret weapon and traditionally my best “recruiters.”
- Co-op agent sales. These consist of warm conversations over existing transactions.
- Networking and relationship-building activities.
- Bottom line
We are in a market like no other. There is no roadmap, but we do know a proven play: relationships.
I’d encourage you and your team to:
- Create more value.
- Invest in your people and prospects.
- Quickly seize on opportunities.
Give them a reason to stay and to join, and then give them even more reasons.
Mark Johnson is an author, speaker and business partner in Recruiting Insights, a real estate recruiting solution.