What is the deal with recruiting today? We are all talking about changing our industry, yet what we do to attract talent is concerning.
Many of you followed my return to real estate in a series I wrote. After passing my test, I received a lot of mail — 65 pieces and counting — from brokerage companies. These included everything from CDs with information to generic postcards without even a stamp.
I understand there is a list that brokerages can subscribe to that sends them new licensee information. I know the name of the real estate brokerage game is growth, so they are trying to do anything they can to get in front of potential clients (new agents). The question is, do they want butts in seats or do they want incredible, passionate and educated agents?
Let’s take a look at what I received — a lot of generic form letters using my full name (no one uses my middle name unless I am in trouble, which is why my mom wrote “Trouble” down on the birth certificate). I saw a lot about the brand and what the brand offers, but not much about the local affiliate or the people running it. One company spent $4.50 on postage alone, and nothing inside the packet they sent was worth saving; add in the print cost and the cost to create, and you’re looking at tens of thousands of dollars per brokerage. Are people responding to these?
A study by Epsilon showed that 77 percent of consumers sort through their physical mail as soon as they get it. Even better data from the U.S. Postal Service showed that 98 percent of people check their mail daily. Clearly, mail is not dead, and as a millennial I love getting mail because it does not buzz, ding or require an immediate response.
I gave the mail to someone who wasn’t in real estate and asked them to give me an opinion. The response: “It all looks the same to me … it is just junk mail.” This mail does not showcase you or your expertise. The mail all looks the same; I can’t differentiate the difference between the brands. Nothing stands out. And “blah” really isn’t the image you want to promote.”
There has to be a better way. Here are my suggestions:
Problem 1: I saw not one personal note; there was no personal connection, and no one did any research on me. This is the age of Google. It isn’t about ego, it is about research. Millennials want you to see what they have accomplished.
Solution: Get the list — don’t mass-mail form letters with it, though. Research the names. Send a personal message to each recipient and talk about how your company can help a budding career. Can’t find them online? There is your lead-in — “Let us make you prominent online.”
Problem 2: None of the pieces appealed to a millennial; few had websites; few had business cards — and they were cheap cards. The ones that sent me CDs just baffled me. I have a new Macbook, and there is no disc drive to play a CD — so now what?
Solution: Update your marketing. No one wants to be with a brokerage stuck in 2005. Think Apple packaging or Mercedes Benz, and make it easy for me to research you and find more information online. I want to know the person sending it to me as well as the company. Don’t send me a CD I can’t play; send me to a landing page where I navigate around. Send me a mail piece and follow up via the Internet whenever possible — on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or email if you can. Tell me what you can do for me … and I don’t care if your brand is No. 1 in training — what are you going to do for me at the local level? An online classroom does not count.
Problem 3: The recruiters and managers who are sending materials need to update their own online profiles. For many of them, I could not find more than a half-completed LinkedIn profile. That doesn’t help build my trust. Agents need testimonials; why don’t the people hiring agents?
Solution: Place as much value on personal brand, digital footprint and expertise on our recruiters and managers as you do on agents. Get an updated headshot, biography and recommendations. Be a magnetic ambassador of your brand so people come to you, and if I get a letter from you, I want to meet you.
Problem 4: No more butts in seats.
Solution: Research potential candidates to find out who you are hiring and bring the best into your brokerage, brand and the industry. When you reach out personally, you attract a higher caliber of person. Set the standard of what you are looking for through your first contact.
Let’s get this recruiting marketing past the garbage chute and into the hands of fabulous talent.
Aaron Woodman is the Los Angeles operations manager for The Boutique Real Estate Group and has more than a decade of real estate sales experience as both an agent and a managing broker/owner. Follow him on Twitter.