With more than 1,000 Inman posts, Bernice Ross is a long-time contributor whose weekly column on real estate trends, luxury, marketing and other best practices publishes every Monday.
While most people vacation during the summertime, right now is the best time of year to recruit some of the most dependable and profitable agents you can hire.
Who are those people? Teachers.
I was in my 20s, had just purchased by first condo and had spent every dime on the down payment. The mortgage would be a challenge, but I could make it work on my teaching salary — that was until the district cancelled summer session due to cutbacks in funding.
I struggled with what to do. As I considered the options, I remembered one agent who had “Million Dollar Club” on her card. Given her disheveled appearance (she showed up in her bare feet and raggedy jeans to show me property), my thinking was, “If she could sell a million dollars’ worth of real estate, maybe I could sell one or two houses this summer.”
I dutifully went about getting my license. I was surprised when the Century 21 broker near my condo hired me immediately. After attending a week of sales training, I reported to work on Monday, June 19, ready to start prospecting for clients.
I had no idea that the skills I had acquired in the classroom were many of the same skills I needed to succeed in real estate. I sold two houses my first month and eight in my second month and wondered why I studied for all those degrees.
Two years later when interest rates jumped into the 16-percent to 21-percent range, I was glad I had kept my college teaching job.
The profile of real estate success
When it comes to recruiting, there is a very distinct profile of real estate sales success.
The top five factors that predict that success according to various studies conducted by the Texas Association of Realtors and the California Association of Realtors, among others, are:
- The “Dominance” and “Influence” scores on the DISC test
- High score on the Utilitarian motivator score on the Target Training International DISC
- A learning mindset
- Emotional resilience
“DI” vs. “IS” on the DISC
Top producers almost always score high on the “Dominance” and “Influencing” factors of the DISC. The person who scores high on the “D” factor is a high drive, get-it-done individual. These individuals will door-knock, call on for-sale-by-owner (FSBO) properties and expireds and handle rejection well.
The person who scores high on the “I” factor is a “people person” who meets people easily in all types of settings.
Couple the two with high scores on the “Utilitarian” factor (practical, bottom-line oriented), and you have a salesperson extraordinaire. In fact, a high score on the Utilitarian factor alone predicts sales success in any field at a 72 percent level.
Most top producers have a learning mindset and are emotionally resilient due to their high “D” scores. Because many of them have some degree of ADD, they do need a strong assistant to manage their business systems and transactions.
Although top producers often make a lot of money for themselves, they are almost always on very high splits and can even be a loss leader for the brokerage.
Why recruit teachers? An “IS” profile — steady, dependable success
The “IS” profile on the DISC is “Influencing” (people skills) coupled with the “S” for steadiness and dependability. The person who scores high on the “S” is not the salesperson type, but rather someone who relies on systems, will stick with a task through completion and is brand loyal. Many managers and brokers overlook this group because they’re not typically salespeople.
Teachers almost always score high on the “IS” factors on the DISC. They clearly have a learning mindset, usually have a fairly high degree of resilience to manage what goes on in the classroom and are dependable. They operate from a lesson plan and will happily implement a business plan if you show them how. Moreover, they will follow it — it’s what they’re trained to do.
They also love systems, but could greatly benefit from a little of the “D” factor to get them out of their “education paralysis” (the “I-need-to-learn-more” attitude) before they start working with an actual client.
While there are some top producers who were former teachers, most teachers tend to be steady, mid-range producers who show up and do their job. Unlike your agents who score high on the “D” factor who approach their business with “it’s-easier-to-ask-for-forgiveness-than-to-ask-for permission” attitude, these agents usually follow the rules precisely.
High scores on the “S” factor also means that they are brand loyal. If they like you and your brokerage, they will be reluctant to “betray” you by going elsewhere.
How and where to target market your teacher recruiting efforts
Sadly, many teachers have become frustrated and/or burned out with low pay, lack of support, and in some cases, dangerous working conditions. Most went into teaching because they wanted to be of service.
Who are the best candidates? Those who are substitute teachers, are struggling due to low-paying positions or are burned out working in the present position. In most cases, those who teach K-12 during the day and love their job won’t be open to leaving.
Adjunct (part-time) instructors at the college level, especially community colleges, are another excellent place to search. This is especially true if they have a business, communications or marketing background. Because many of these instructors work in the evening, they can easily schedule their real estate activities around their classes.
The third group are teachers who have taken retirement. Many have decent pensions and can afford to get started in a second career in their 40s-60s.
How to meet them
An excellent way to meet teachers is to create a niche specifically designed to help them become homeowners. Use DownPaymentResource.com to find what down payment assistance programs are available for teachers in your area. If they’re married to someone in the military, a firefighter, a police officer, nurse or who has another community service job, they can seek down payment assistance in both categories.
Next, “educate the educators” by holding seminars that show how they can purchase their first home, move-up, downsize or prepare for retirement. Not only will this produce leads for your business, it’s also a great time to ask if they have ever thought about having a career in real estate.
Given the number of past teachers in the business, there’s ample evidence that this pool of candidates can be a key source for great recruits for your office or company.
Now is the best time to recruit past and present teachers — check it out!
Bernice Ross, president and CEO of BrokerageUP and RealEstateCoach.com, is a national speaker, author and trainer with over 1,000 published articles. Learn about her broker/manager training programs designed for women, by women, at BrokerageUp.com and her new agent sales training at RealEstateCoach.com/newagent.