NEW YORK — Ontario real estate broker Paul Fitzpatrick came to Inman Connect New York with a problem: As an indie broker, how could he recruit experienced agents away from the “big box” brokerages?

“They’re afraid to leave that brand name for someone that doesn’t have that national name recognition,” said Fitzpatrick, speaking from the audience to a panel at a live problem-solving session as part of the conference’s Indie Broker Summit.

Panelist Anthony Lamacchia, broker-owner of New England brokerage Lamacchia Realty, said he had the same problem four or five years ago. His firm was attracting brand-new agents with zero to five years of experience, but not agents with eight or more years in the business and at least 20 transactions a year.

But he was able to convince one top producer to join his firm, and she became an advocate for the company.

Live problem-solving session at Inman Connect New York

Agents believe other agents, Lamacchia said, so he took that principle and put it on steroids. He filmed 13 video testimonials with agents from his firm — including the top producer as the “star” — and released a video every other week on Facebook for six months.

“We saw a big difference,” Lamacchia said.

The agents didn’t speak against the national franchisors, but rather told their own story about how their production had grown since coming to Lamacchia’s firm, he said.

Panelist Erica Ramus, broker-owner of Ramus Realty Group, agreed with that approach.

Don’t badmouth the franchises, but do show off success so that you’re top of mind when an agent is looking to leave a firm, she advised.

“Bigger is not better. Better is better. When [agents] notice success like that, other agents will put it on their radar,” she said.

Ramus makes staying at her firm contingent on success — agents in her office have to close a minimum of 24 transaction sides a year. That means her bottom third of agents has at least that many and other agents see that, she said, prompting awes from conference attendees.

Both Ramus and Lamacchia open up training resources on Facebook to their competitors as a way of recruiting their agents. Ramus hosts webinars in a private Facebook group and Lamacchia set up a public Facebook page called “Crush It in Real Estate” to publicize his firm’s training opportunities.

“It’s changed the perception. It’s turning people into believers. [They think] ‘Wait a second, this guy might actually know what he’s talking about,’” he said.

“People don’t believe anything when they think there’s a possibility that they’re being sold. If you instead teach and help, it draws them to you,” he added.

Ramus chimed in: “You’re building the relationship.”

Email Andrea V. Brambila.

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