Recruiting can be a pain. But if you’ve mastered how to attract agents whose definitions of success mesh well with your own, then all you have to do is sign them up, and figure out a way to keep them happy and productive.
Here are half a dozen ways to do that.
1. Maintain a collegial, professional atmosphere at work
Sure, real estate can be a competitive industry. But your agents shouldn’t be fighting each other for business if you expect anyone to succeed.
Find ways to reward collaboration and information-sharing as well as individual initiative. Establish an absolute no-poaching policy. Then, encourage agents to back each other up. Ask your veterans to let new agents assist them on a few deals so the newbies get a chance to observe how deals flow (and, sometimes, fall apart).
Make sure team leaders are available to answer questions at all times. Finally, ensure your top people set the tone for how everyone in the office dresses, speaks and conducts themselves.
2. Start them off with professional materials
Reinforce your brand by providing your new agents stationery and business cards, signs/riders and open house signs immediately. Make sure relevant ad formats and logos are sent to them in electronic form. And get them to read and sign off on any guidelines you’ve established for public communications, including state-required license numbers or other information.
If you have marketing professionals available, introduce them to your new agents and ask them to explain the services they offer.
3. Train them to use your systems — and their spheres — like pros
Within the first couple of weeks, your trainers should make sure newcomers are comfortable with the firm’s contact management systems and have uploaded their personal prospect databases and contact points.
Arrange several sessions of hands-on training on your transaction management system and any group communication applications. And, even though they may have their own resources, give them a list of your office’s vetted suppliers — photographers, stagers, craftspeople and other professionals.
Someone on your staff should be tracking the new agent’s onboarding process to make sure benchmark events are taking place or are being rescheduled. Otherwise, your wonderful system will fall apart the first time some key resource person calls in sick.
4. Make sure new agents know how to perform fundamental tasks skillfully
In your weekly meetings, find a clever way to incorporate an information exchange on these skills:
- Working a lockbox and Supra key
- Managing house keys, so they don’t get lost
- Showing a property
- Preparing for an open house
- Holding an open house (including setting up and retrieving signs)
- Writing an attractive offer
5. Help them interact successfully with other agents
Clients come and go. But many agents are likely to be around our entire careers. Teaching your people how to play well with others will pay off for them and for you. Civility, even in difficult times, is a must. In addition, most agents have expectations around how things should go as well as how they shouldn’t. For example, suggest these tips to your agents:
- Do lock doors and windows, turn off lights, leave properties as they found them, and give feedback willingly. (And flush the toilets after they’re used!)
- Read the MLS — including the confidential remarks — before calling the listing agent.
- Follow the offer instructions in the MLS.
- Call the listing agent to find out what the seller is looking for if there’s no guidance in the MLS.
- Do not put house keys in their pockets because they will forget they’re there. They’ll have to drive across town to return them or fail to do that and earn the eternal enmity of an agent with a very long memory.
- Do not show up at an occupied listing a half-hour early (or late) and expect sellers to let them in.
- Do not send buyers to ambush sellers on their own.
- Do not call listing agents and argue with them about the offer instructions.
- Do not write a low-ball offer on a fairly priced property during its first week on market. Do not include a heartfelt letter detailing how much the prospective buyers love the place when they’re investors.
Agents who do the things they should do and refrain from doing the things that drive other agents nuts lead easier, more productive lives — and longer ones, too.
6. The code of ethics — live it, teach it, recognize it
You can go here and read or print out the commitment we all make to competent, fair and honest dealing with all parties when it comes to our transactions. But, if you don’t live it, reference it often, and acknowledge it when you see it in your agents’ work, you can’t effectively teach the integrity embodied in our code of ethics.
The code sets a high — but reachable — bar. If you give your agents nothing beyond a reverence for our code, you’ll have set them up for success in the most important way possible. In fact, we could all benefit from reviewing it regularly (like once a month) to remind ourselves and our agents what being the best truly requires.
Nicole Solari is owner and managing broker of The Solari Group in Solano and Napa Counties in Northern California. Nicole runs one of the highest producing brokerages in all of Northern California.