- Friday, 09 May 2014 11:07
"It's harder to recruit agents than it was 10 years ago" was the theme from a survey of 260 brokers conducted by Imprev, a Seattle-based real estate marketing firm. What's happening in the industry? As we know, the median age of all Realtors is creeping towards 60, in fact, 40% of all Realtors are older than 60 according to NAR's most recent member survey. The problem is less about age and more about the fact that the agent pool as a whole is aging out and brokers need to be ready.
Imprev's survey asked leading broker-owners and executives of large brokerages what they viewed as their current top business challenges. 70% and 65% stated recruiting younger agents and top talent respectively. "Recruiting has become much easier due to the systems, technology and training we provide each agent" said one. So what is the best strategy to attract and retain top talent? A combination of old school and new school will get you there.
Tenure is a big obstacle when trying to attract talent. Many agents will say they are happy at their current firm and not be ready to make a change yet, which is why it's important to keep in touch over long periods of time, says Jeff Smith, Regional VP of Development at Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Bradfield Properties to RISMedia. And even in the age of e-mail, texts and social media, the power of a handwritten note will always go so much further.
Technology and Training
How mobile are you? The question will be asked by newer and older agents alike. The influx of mobile apps and touchpoints on the consumer end is what is pushing the demand for technology backwards up the channel. Being tied to a desktop will only inhibit agents from being more productive in the field - ultimately hitting the brokerage's bottom line.
Continuous training is also key for both retention and recruiting. The opportunity to continue learning in-house is invaluable for agents. Smith on the value of his training sessions: "Anyone who attends the training has the opportunity to meet the company's current agents and gain a better insight into what the company is all about and what it would be like for them working here."
Attracting Younger Talent
In a Chicago Tribune interview, Player Murray, Berkshire Hathaway Homeservices Carolinas Realty, speaks to this difficult challenge. Many agents come into real estate as a second or third career. On recruiting college grads, "The hardest part is showing them that real estate is a career possibility for them." You might be thinking, why do I want younger agents that probably have never had the experience of buying a home? Communication and connection are key. "Every good broker out there feels like they can connect with the buyer and can adapt quickly to work with everybody. But there's just no way that everyone can connect with everyone. It's just impossible. This industry needs younger agents to fill those gaps."
Many of the key points for attracting new agents (sophisticated and useful systems,
mobility and training) are obviously going to help you with retaining them with the brokerage for years to come. But it's also important to remember that finding the right fit in the first place is going to largely determine how long that agent will stay. What is your company's culture? What are the dynamics on your team and does the agent you're recruiting fit in? If yes, then keeping them with you will be a lot easier. But skipping over this part just to fill empty openings could be detrimental. Bad hires can hurt your firm financially and by affecting employee morale. Don't take the risk - spend the extra time finding the right fit, it will be worth it.
Moral of the story: when it's time to recruit, make sure you offer the services and support that all agents want, and look for the ones that are going to fit in with your firm's dynamic and culture.