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By Mike Miller

RISMEDIA, September 11, 2007-Today’s cycling real estate market is causing more than longer days on market. Even the most experienced agents face stiff competition for business. For new agents, getting started is even tougher. Many of the old tools are no longer working-and the failure rate for those without new approaches is alarming. That makes your job as a broker-recruiting and retaining agents-expensive and a lot more challenging.

Many larger brokerages offer formal training programs for eager new recruits. Smaller agencies with limited budgets may not have as many options. But there are fresh and inexpensive ways to jumpstart your agents-new and experienced alike. And, that’s the point of this new monthly column: to offer fresh approaches brokers can pass along to agents to rev up success in any market.

Let’s begin with listings because, let’s face it, getting listings remains the key to survival in any market for all real estate agents.

New agents everywhere are instructed to prospect by telephone. But frequently, many brokers provide a desk and a phone without setting strategies or quotas.

But they also need to learn how to search and effectively contact expired listings and FSBOs. Lastly, they should check competitor listings and be encouraged to cold-call in every neighborhood where a new “For Sale” sign has gone up. Experience has shown that when one house goes on the market, a neighbor or two is apt to follow suit.

The common wisdom is that agents who become productive within their first 30 days will ultimately succeed in this business. Since telephone calling is a proven way to get production rolling, all new agents should be required to prospect a required number of hours every day during their first few weeks on the job. Daily meetings should be scheduled with the broker or supervisor to hold them accountable for their progress. At each meeting, agents should be quizzed on their progress from the previous day.

Once the first listing appointment is secured, suggest the agent team up with an experienced colleague.

In any event, accountability is key, and a trial-by-fire approach in the agent’s first few weeks will separate the can-dos from the wanna-bes.

Either way, you will weed out recruits who lack the necessary persistence. At that point, you may want to investigate some of the newer approaches to training.

But all that is coming in future columns-along with tips and insights from agents and brokers who are meeting with success in every market. Until next month…

Mike Miller is president of the Talking House Listings & Leads Program, a leading training program and a member of NAR’s Realtor Benefits program.

For more information, please visit or reach Mike at 1-847-227-5310,