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By Stephanie Andre

RISMEDIA, Dec. 5, 2007-The market has changed; that’s obvious. The way we communicate has changed; that’s also obvious. So, if these two vital components of the real estate industry are moving forward, why aren’t our recruiting efforts? Do you still just wait for a resume to be e-mailed or faxed to you?

Wait no more. The days of top producers just walking into your office are gone. Today, you need to foster relationships early and often. One way to do that is to use a DRIP campaign designed exclusively for recruitment. To that end, AlignMark, as part of its iNTELAGENT platform, offers a DRIP campaign component dedicated specifically toward recruiting agent talent-whether they are real estate newbies or industry veterans.

“AlignMark saw very early on that there was a shift happening in the industry in the way recruiters and managers interacted with prospects,” explains Cabot Jaffee, president and CEO of AlignMark. “That was really the genesis of the DRIP component of the iNTELAGENT product.”

Adds Don Kottick, vice president of products and services for AlignMark: “While the general population of NAR is probably in the Baby Boomer generation, there’s a thrust to bring in the Gen Xers and Yers, and these individuals live and breathe technology. For a lot of them, it’s rare to get any sort of postage delivery. By utilizing electronic DRIPs, you’re working in a more comfortable medium for them.

“In this new reality, it is important to track the number and types of transmissions to prospects, send targeted campaigns, track the open rates and the opt-outs and you need the ability to send text-based messages, linked messages as well as HTML-based communication.”

A Shift in Prospecting

“Once you really start getting involved in the DRIP campaigns for prospecting, it’s revealed that companies that have really embraced the Internet are the ones that are growing,” says Liz Boone, senior account manager for AlignMark, who also previously was a user of the product. “Those who are only contacting their prospects once just can’t keep up. Brokers who have embraced DRIP campaigns are seeing far superior recruiting results because they’re doing what needs to be done nowadays and they’re excited about the outcome.”

For Nelson Goulart’s group, using the iNTELAGENT DRIP campaigns was a no-brainer. “It fit into our vision of where both technology and the real estate industry was going,” says Goulart, broker of GMAC Signature Service in Ontario, Canada. “We’ve been extremely happy; AlignMark’s assisted us with explosive growth. The platform’s been a strong part of what we do. It allows us to move from the snail mail concept to electronic mail. Agents nowadays are looking for that.”

What’s more, the timeliness of electronic mail, compared with postal mail, is also not to be ignored.

“The power of real-time technology and response can’t be beat,” says Alan Scearce, senior vice president of John L. Scott Real Estate. “Just with the time it would take in mailing alone, this product is clearly making a difference in recruiting.”

The Power of the DRIP

“With the ability to use this media to communicate in mass, we can take a look at everyone who responded today or in an ad in one specific media source,” says Scearce. “We can send responses to everyone in one communication.”

Indeed. Just as you might do with targeted marketing campaigns, brokers and managers can target different level agents (newbie or experienced agents) or those still in real estate classes, for example-all with one send.

“It’s really great for separating out the different levels of agent you might want to consider,” says Goulart. “Plus, I can do and incorporate so many things in with the campaign, such as brand awareness. Without the program, it would be impossible to manage it by yourself.”

Ultimately, according to Jeri Gray, it’s about staying in touch and in front of the prospects. “It’s our way of staying in touch,” says Gray, recruiting director for RealtySouth. “And, a lot of times, someone will say to me, ‘when I get ready to start my career, I’m going to call you’.”

Scearce, Goulart and Gray agree that what you can do with the DRIPs is endless. Scearce, for example, provides insightful and important information geared toward the group he’s reaching out to that day.

“For a person who might just be getting into real estate, the drips talk more about the benefits of being an agent,” he explains. “We purposely do not include anything about our company, other than saying, ‘John L. Scott has the support to keep you successful.’ We truly believe it’s in the best interest of the prospect to really understand the benefits, obligations and capital necessary to begin a career in real estate.”

Getting the Managers Onboard

One of the toughest parts of switching from a “snail mail” mentality to electronic communication is getting everyone on the same page. In a time when there’s so much diversity throughout management, the levels of tech savviness are sometimes far apart. So, brokers often have to work a bit harder to get everyone onboard. AlignMark can help there too, with training.

“The whole program is awesome and I’m really sold on it,” says Gray, “but it is more effective once you get all of the managers involved. With the help of AlignMark, they developed a pilot group and began training.

“All of my managers have seen that once they start using the system, they start getting better results,” she continues. “Like with any program, you have to use it. The program has so many dimensions when everyone uses it.”

At Scearce’s company, his managers sort of “compete” via the iNTELAGENT system for recruits: “In our organization, I call it ‘coopetition’,” he says. “We have multiple managers who are all bringing in the same recruits. They can keep their notes private, but once a prospect completes school, their information is shared with all the managers. Each individual is interviewed by all the managers who are interested in him or her, and whoever gets the recruit to accept the offer wins.”

In the end, all three managers agree: the program has made a substantial difference for each of their companies.

“We engage in deeper dialogue with our recruits than ever before,” says Scearce.

Adds Goulart: “It’s been a key factor in the recruitment and development in our managing pipeline. We are growing by leaps and bounds. We’re hoping to grow by 25 percent by the end of the year. AlignMark has made it so that we’re all partners in success.”

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