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Recruiting in Today’s Market: Cut Back or Step Up Efforts?

Alex Perriello, Special Liaison for Large Firm Relations, NAR

Jim Rose, Chairman & CEO, Rose & Womble Realty Co.- Virginia Beach, Virginia
Jim Fite, Century 21 Judge Fite Co.-Dallas, Texas

The Power Broker Roundtable is brought to you by the National Association of REALTORS® and Alex Perriello, NAR’s Special Liaison for Large Firm Relations. Watch for this column each month, where we will address broker issues, concerns and milestones.

perriello_alex.jpgAlex Perriello: The financial tug on the purse strings of brokers across the country has many firms doing a very delicate juggling act. Even recruiting-the lifeblood of our industry-is not exempt from scrutiny. Faced with a softer market, decisions have to be made about whether to beef up or cut back on agents, invest significantly in training, or favor veteran agents over rookies. According to this month’s experts, the choices, while difficult, cannot be ignored, nor should they.

AP: What are the pros and cons of recruiting in today’s market?

rose_jim.jpgJim Rose: We need to be recruiting the right people every day, regardless of market conditions. The life of any real estate organization revolves around continuous recruiting. So we’re not cutting back; we’re spending as much in that department as we can. We just hired a new, younger person to deal with the next generation, and we will actively recruit seasoned agents-meaning those with productivity, not years in the business. When you look at the cons of recruiting today, there is the time, effort and cost associated with recruiting both new and veteran agents. As hard as we try to get the best people, with current market conditions, many agents don’t have the financial wherewithal to support themselves and stay in the business as long as they need to because they don’t have a good sphere of influence to sustain them.

fite_jim.JPGJim Fite: Recruiting has always been a culture in our company. Over time, we have kept what’s effective and cut out what’s not. When I look back over the past 36 years, the best agents-the ones who last-are those hired in a “down” market because they have learned and executed the basics needed for success. Those hired in an “up” market have work habits that are much different. They do not execute the basics. Therefore, when the market turns, they don’t know what or how to do what they need to do to stay successful. As for the cons of recruiting, I think the major one is taking on the expense of non-producers, especially in today’s market; having a red line at the end of the profit statement is not good.

AP: Who are your primary recruiting targets, veteran agents or newcomers?

JR: We target half of our efforts to experienced agents and half to new agents.

JF: Both new agents and veterans. Veterans are capable of earning faster income, which always makes them a necessary part of the mix of recruits. On the other hand, new agents have enthusiasm, new ideas and determination. Unfortunately, we see more part-time agents “trying real estate out,” and failing quickly. We’re not seeking them, but they’re gravitating toward the industry. So we try very hard to separate the tire kickers from those wanting to make a successful business career.

AP: How are you helping these agents be successful?

JR: We just completed a companywide, five-week boot camp, and we rolled out a calling campaign on April 16 called “Five to Survive.” As part of the campaign, agents will make five phone calls every day, Monday through Friday, where they actually speak with someone. We don’t want them to wait for their spheres of influence to contact them. This gives us a tremendous amount of contact with people to let them know real estate is alive and we’re here to do business with them.

JF: The list is too long to recite. But training-two weeks for new agents-is extremely important. We offer in-house training, role playing, online training, sales meetings, coaching, next-level training, etc. We also offer a great deal of multilevel training for relocation and such time-sensitive issues as foreclosures and short sales. RE