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Why Every Day Should be ‘Retention Day’ – Part 1

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RISMEDIA, March 8, 2008-Brokers, how have you been doing over the past 18 months? Have you noticed a dissimilarity in your agents-the ones who are maybe a bit more “up-to-snuff” than others? They have the drive and determination needed for this market, along with a complete understanding that they do indeed have to work harder to get the transaction closed. So, now that you know who is keeping up the pace, how are you going to keep them? Do you have a plan to bring in more agents who can walk the same tough line? Here, in this three-part series, three industry vets discuss the opportunities available to you in this market, the importance of a recruiting and retention plan, and why every day is “Retention Day.”

What should brokers look for in new recruits? Should they have a plan in place?

No Empty Desks

sherry-chris-portrait-photo.jpgSherry Chris
President & CEO
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate LLC
www.bhgrealestate.com

  Does your brokerage company have a recruiting and retention plan in place? I am not talking about an ad in the newspaper or on Monster.com; I am talking about what I call a complete “end-to-end” recruiting system that, when utilized properly, will attract the agents you want and ensure that you retain them. I would assert that if you follow the steps below, you will reap rewards beyond your expectations.

-Envision Your Ideal Candidate: I’m sure you’ve heard it. When asked what brokers should be looking for in new recruits, a typical reply is “young, tech-savvy people with lots of energy.” The better answer, in my opinion, is to look for people that identify with your company culture-people that are keepers. Taking the time to choose well will help with a higher retention rate and a more cohesive team. So, build your team strategically for long-term growth and profitability.

-Generate Leads Through Diverse Sources: We all know there are many ways to generate leads, both online and off. A diversified strategy that brings candidates to you from several sources is best. This approach will help you build a team that represents a better cross-section of your community, while also providing diverse perspectives on solving business challenges. However, whether the lead is generated from a website, or the good old-fashioned way, securing the candidate’s e-mail address will help you maintain a line of communication with him or her over time.

-Communicate Patiently and Personally: Especially with experienced agents, the ongoing communication could last for years before a decision is made. Be patient; an agent won’t leave their existing “home” until they truly feel comfortable that they would have a new home with you in your shop. Also, many of us rely too heavily on e-mail as our primary method of communication. While technology is a great tool, a strategy that includes calls, face-to-face meetings and handwritten notes is practically a novel approach in this Internet age. I recommend a personal touch-it reminds the candidate that there really is a person behind those e-mails.

-Every Day is Retention Day: Your retention program needs to start on the day the new recruit joins your company. Agents are most vulnerable within the first 90 days after joining. A series of preplanned activities, including personal notes, surveys, sit-down meetings and ongoing training will help foster a bond during this critical onboarding period. And keep it up! Keep reaching out after 90 days. Building a strong and lasting relationship with your team-one interaction at a time-means you will have dedicated agents supporting your firm regardless of market conditions.

My final piece of advice: Don’t stop recruiting because we are faced with a challenging market. Uncommitted agents are leaving the business, and you are going to be faced with more and more empty desks. New agents who are trained to list, sell, and succeed in this market will truly be your superstars for years to come.

Next week, Sharon Michnay, director of Corporate Business Development for Halstead Property shares her insight, noting that “companies who wish to attract [great real estate agents] will need to supply the platform in which they will thrive.”

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