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Commentary by Terri Murphy

Today’s broker/owners are faced with a profit crisis. Agents want to earn the most money and pay the least in costs. Companies are faced with rising costs, challenges of compensation, stripped-down service companies and the ever-present online “do-it-yourself” competitors. These issues have profoundly changed how brokers must look at their business and impact how recruitment must also change.

According to recruiting expert, Judy LaDeur, of Judy LaDeur International, there are certain elements about recruiting that won’t change. She says that recruiting is and always will be a relationship-building process. However, one challenge lies in the reality that as real estate has become multi-generational, younger agents are more able to function alone and do far more without the broker’s full-time support than in the past.

Today’s Gen X/Y and Millennial agents are usually more tech-savvy than the brokers themselves. They were raised in an age of technology and are comfortable doing business from their cars and home offices, and don’t feel the need to be at the office every day by 9:00 a.m.

Without the perceived value from a traditional office, younger agents behave more independently. Because they are somewhat inexperienced, they find the new brokerages that offer low fees and little services very enticing. Confident that they can handle their own marketing, they question why they should pay the price for a traditional office arrangement.

From a recruiting standpoint, one of the biggest challenges for today’s brokerages is how to attract, engage and develop the energy of these younger agents.

LaDeur shares a few key strategies to help ensure success in today’s recruiting environment:

-Interview prospective agents to determine if they are non-productive, have no natural ability or are simply not properly trained, then choose accordingly.

-Determine what the real value is for each agent, not just a list of services offered by your company as perceived value-adds. When the brokerage can identify and show the prospective agent how they can support the agent’s individual goals, and have in place the systems to really reach those goals, the process of recruitment is more profitable and efficient.

-Offer great training initiatives that include how the company provides tangible systems that produce leads. This, combined with true mentorship and leadership, helps to produce a truly integrated and profitable team.

-Develop specialty training. As an example, teach an agent how to sell or buy a business, but limit it to those that have closed $4 million in sales during the previous 12 months. This will attract more seasoned agents who are looking to do serious business development.

-Never attempt to be all things to all people. Know your niche, identify the agents that resonate with that niche and develop systems and strategies—and offer resources—that cater to that specificity.

-Don’t try to match every compensation plan—think long-term versus compensation per transaction. Look at how many transactions the agent is interested in closing, then outline the systems that your company offers to help them increase their production. Do the math with them to demonstrate how your company’s focus, marketing, systems, programs and support can help them reach that goal. Compensation will not be the big issue when they can actually see how working with your company will help them increase their income.

As a broker/owner, your main challenge is to stay focused. When you can effectively communicate the value of being with your company to the right agents, you will be far more successful in recruiting.

Terri Murphy is a licensed real estate broker, author, speaker, communication consultant and e-strategist.

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