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RISMEDIA, August 10, 2010—Keeping everyone engaged and creating an atmosphere where everyone can participate is one of the best ways to find success in today’s market. Here, John Piper, Co-owner and Sales Manager, Century 21 Champion discusses how he has created a strong office that works together and keeps everyone engaged.

John Piper
Co-owner and Sales Manager
Century 21 Champion
San Jose, California

Years in real estate: 34
Number of offices: 2
Number of agents: 130
Region served: San Francisco Bay Area, specifically Silicon Valley, and Santa Clara County
Succeeding with time management: Treat your business of generating tasks, prospecting and marketing with the same priority as a listing or buyer interview appointment…never, ever re-schedule!
Best tip for running a successful (agent) meeting: Encourage your agents to contribute to the discussions and be relevant; discuss something that can make a difference in their business today.
On recruiting: We use technology to screen candidates. We leverage a Century 21 real estate-related personality test that gives us an idea of who we are talking to, their values, strengths and the challenges that we might face in the training process.
Key to working together with agents and staff: Be engaged with everyone, agents and staff, everyday.

What strategies are most effective for you in recruiting?
Although I recruit both experienced and new agents, our focus has been on new or newer licensees. New agents will be more loyal to your company and they are willing to work hard in difficult markets because it’s the only market they know. When I got into the business, it was the last recession so I learned all the basics. That’s when my business grew and I’m still doing it. I believe because of that, we’re still here today and we’re OK.

What strategies are most effective for you in training?
We frequently use one-on-one coaching sessions both in the office and in the field where the coach accompanies new agents on their listing presentations and buyer consultation interviews. I’m the co-owner and sales manager of the San Jose office. And my son is also a coach. So when you come here, we get you involved in a transaction right away—for the coaching purposes and the money purposes, but foremost, to give new agents confidence. Then they are motivated to go out and beat the bushes for business.

How do you break down your marketing and recruiting between print and online?
For recruiting, we use both print and online equally. Agent marketing depends on their target market: geographic farmers will use primarily print and direct mail, while agents focusing on their sphere of influence are doing their marketing primarily online. Then our agents’ professionalism and frequent, consistent marketing (supported by our in-house marketing department) draws clients back to our agents.

How do you help new agents learn how to communicate with your clients?
You know, if people can go out and talk to the people they know about their new career, that’s all they really need to be able to do. From there, we can teach them how to prospect. We don’t want them to feel afraid when the hundredth person they ask says, “yes, I’d like to meet with you.” As we bring in new people, we’re also realizing that they don’t know it’s a tough market because it’s their first time working in it. So once things really start looking better economically, they are going to be real career professionals for us. And it doesn’t matter whether they are young or coming to us older or out of the corporate world. We believe you have to treat new people differently than experienced people. So we spend a lot of time coaching new agents, taking the time to work with them one-on-one. On the other hand, a lot of experienced people have gone through the boom market, so we get to know them really well and find new ways to motivate them, too.