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The Broker Challenge Series: Recruiting from your Back Office

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By Lorne Wallace

RISMEDIA, Dec. 31, 2007–In my 20 years of traveling around to real estate brokerages, one of the areas that most everyone struggles with is recruiting. What I’d like to explore this month is how your back office operation can help you with this process.

The most important thing to realize is that it is a process. This means that it’s not something we do once and forget about, it’s something that we must continuously work on and fine tune. Another important process that we do in our brokerages is issue commission checks for both our agents and possibly outside agents, depending where in the country we are. Our goal today is to look at ways of combining both of those processes.

Your first step is to tap into the wealth of information about other agents that is flowing through your back office. Whether you issue the checks or not, you have access to what other agents sold or listed with your office, when they sold or listed them, how much they sold or listed them for, what they were paid for selling or listing them, etc.

What powerful information this can become if you are trying to recruit those agents. Imagine not calling an agent and talking about yourself or your office. This might be great information but it needs to come later in the process of recruiting that agent. The first step is to get the agent talking about his or herself. This requires you having the information to facilitate that process. When you can call them and say things like, “Congratulations on selling that listing on 123 Main Street. I know you have sold another three of our listings in the last six months” it opens the door to a follow up like, “You know, our listing agent got that property from a walk-in at our Beach office.” What the first sentence did was get the agent talking about themselves. This opens the door in the second sentence for you to talk about your office and what you can do for the agent you are trying to recruit.

Another step is to realize that you don’t have to do all of the recruiting alone. If you accept that recruiting means reaching out and touching agents in a methodical manner, you can realize that your administrative department reaches out and touches them already in a methodical manner, by processing transactions that they are involved in.

You can tap into this activity in several ways. Your administration department should be able to print the report described above, letting you know who your office is working with. They should have a system set up whereby the closing file that you review has a thank you letter to the agent for you to sign. Getting a generic form letter means nothing. Getting a personalized letter about a closing of the agent’s will mean something.

How do you do this? We all have a checklist of steps to perform to complete a sale file. Most of these center on the need to perform compliance steps to ensure that your files meet legal requirements. But that checklist can include other steps to assist you with reaching out to other agents that your office deals with. Thank-you letters can be pre-configured to print from your system, and personally addressed to the other agent on your transaction. As part of your staff’s closing process, the thank you is a point of contact with the other agent.

Or it can be as simple as adding to your closing process a standard notice that you or your recruiter would receive on each closing involving an outside agent. This notice would serve as a reminder to you to make a phone call and congratulate the other agent on the sale they completed with your office.

And if you have a recruiter, involve them with your administration. Your staff should be working like a team and no one needs to be on their own. The information that your administrative staff has can be invaluable in the hands of a recruiter who is targeting specific agents. It gives them timely and relevant information to work with in their interaction with potential recruits.

And lastly, a number of successful brokerages, in marketplaces that issue checks from the listing broker to the selling broker, actually have the broker/owner hand out the checks instead of the receptionist. Handing over money is a way to connect with the agent at a happy time. People are more receptive to listening to you when they are in a good mood!

Recruiting is a process and utilizing one of your most important processes, that of issuing commission checks, is a good way to tap into the flow of information from one part of your company to help another part. Leveraging the work done in one part of your company into benefiting another part is powerful management.

Lorne C. Wallace C.A. is the owner of Lone Wolf Real Estate Technologies, a company with over 3,100 offices utilizing its software to administrate and manage their real estate operations. For more information, please e-mail wolfman@lwolf.com.

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