Bringing top talent on board is the lifeblood of any agency. That’s why real estate recruiting and retention place near the top of the to-do list for most.
According to NAR statistics:
- 55% of agents would consider switching brokerages
- 9 out of 10 agents currently working in the industry have switched before
- The average stay for agents at their current company is only four years
Those are startling numbers. What does it take to attract qualified candidates? What sets your company apart from the competition? And how can you keep good agents around?
There are three foundational legs to the real estate recruiting and retention stool:
Leg 1. Unique Selling Proposition
Leg 2. Company culture
Leg 3. Technology
Not having all three legs could leave you on shaky ground (apologies for the tortured metaphor). Maximize your recruiting and retention efforts by reinforcing all three.
Leg 1: Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
A USP is exactly what it sounds like. It’s what your business stands for, what sets you apart from others. It’s your unique advantage in the marketplace – ideally something that no one else can claim. It’s what you have that your competitors don’t.
Okay, got it. So how does this apply to your company?
Recruiting guru Judy LaDeur states in a Realty Times article, “90% of brokers have no idea what their value proposition is — even though it is the most important element in their recruitment arsenal. The value proposition is NOT their tools. However their tools determine the value of their value proposition.”
Never formalized your USP? Here are a few helpful guidelines to get started:
- Assess your ideal customer. Look at their age, income and other critical demographics. Knowing your target focuses the aim and greatly increases the effectiveness of your message.
- Assess your competition. Identify what their USPs might look like. Compare strengths and weaknesses with yours. Be honest. It serves no purpose to fool yourself.
- Determine what will set you apart. Think out of the box here. What service or benefit would fill a void in the marketplace? Keep in mind that it’s always better to be a specialist instead of a generalist. Don’t worry that it might limit your scope. It’s actually quite the opposite. A single, clearly stated advantage stands a better chance of getting through than a laundry list of general benefits.
- Scream it from the mountaintop. Clearly and consistently communicate and support your USP in all your advertising, social media and public relations. If you don’t say it, nobody else will.
According to Trevor Mauch, CEO of InvestorCarrot, “Find your unique selling proposition. Put it into all of your marketing so you have something that’s clearly, clearly different than your competition.” He further emphasizes that without a cohesive USP, “no one’s going to think you’re unique, and you’re a commodity”
Leg 2: Foster an alluring company culture
Why would an agent want to come to work for you? The odds are better if you have a unique personality for your business. Culture becomes the driving force behind a company’s momentum. You want prospects to enthusiastically aspire to be part of a dynamic team.
As the late, world-renowned management consultant Peter Drucker once said; “culture eats strategy for breakfast.” You can have the best strategy in the world, but future success could be up for grabs if you don’t have your company culture dialed in.
It starts at the top
Solid leadership is the keystone of a company’s culture. Effective leaders inspire and engage those in the organization. They lead by example.
According to noted author and keynote speaker Jeffrey Hayzlett in an Entrepreneur.com article, “A culture is shaped by how a company’s leaders act. Every leader needs to internally and externally reflect the company’s values and be its strongest advocates. He or she shouldn’t recite the mission statement as a solution to everything, but should exemplify what the company stands for.”
It’s a two-way street
Not only does the company need a well-defined corporate culture, it needs to bring in candidates that fit that culture. Renegades who don’t reflect the same values and principles can have an adverse effect on a company’s well-being.
Robert Reffkin, founder and CEO of Urban Compass, a tech-driven New York City real estate firm, illustrates the point in a recent Forbes.com article, “A high producer who is not a cultural fit will add to the top-line growth of the company, but will likely drive away other agents and staff and harm the company’s brand.”
Leg 3: Technology
The first two legs of the real estate recruiting stool make it clear that unique branding and corporate culture are both required foundations for successful recruiting. But technology, the third leg, provides added support to reinforce and protect the other two.
The National Association of REALTORS® says that staying current with new technology is among the most elusive challenges for real estate companies, but absolutely critical in today’s fast-paced environment. Nine out of ten agents include social media as one of their primary marketing channels.
This trend is bolstered by the next-generation of real estate professionals: Millennials. A Forbes.com article claims that by 2025 this group will comprise up to 75% of the world’s working population. It goes on to say, “Companies should not hinder the use of technology and social media. In fact, they should take advantage of it to help build competencies across the entire organization.” These folks are deeply immersed in technology and are drawn to companies that embrace it.
Free up your agents’ time
You want your brokers and agents spending their time doing what they do best – helping buyers and sellers with one of the most important transactions they’ll face in their lifetime. To do that, they need to build and nurture relationships with existing and prospective clients. Every hour they spend outside their core competency, like creating and sharing marketing materials, takes away from that endeavor.
The right technology allows them to easily and efficiently market both themselves and their listings across a wide range of marketing channels. It becomes the central go-to portal for everything marketing in your organization.
Top-tier talent is drawn to those companies which implement advanced tools that complement the way they like to do business.
Once you get them, how do you keep them?
The other aspect of real estate recruiting is retention. Having unique tools will not only attract new agents, it will also be the catalyst that keeps them onboard. They become personally invested in the technology and therefore are less likely to move on. This is a theme we hear over and over from our clients. Our platform plays a key role in both their recruiting and retention campaigns.