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“The Agent Challenge: Quality vs. Quantity” at RISMedia’s 2018 Real Estate CEO Exchange (Credit: AJ Canaria of PlanOmatic)

In today’s increasingly competitive marketplace, brokers have their work cut out for them when it comes to recruiting and retaining the very best agents—a topic that was discussed in-depth at RISMedia’s 2018 Real Estate CEO Exchange.

“When it comes to quality versus quantity, it has to be a good mix,” explained Mike Huff, broker/owner of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Anderson Properties, during “The Agent Challenge: Quality vs. Quantity.” Moderated by Verl Workman, founder of Workman Success Systems, an esteemed group of panelists discussed the importance of having the right agents, not just the most agents.

“In terms of the quantity of agents you’re bringing in, there’ll be a percentage of those who will be quality agents down the road—and you don’t want to recruit nothing but quantity, because that deteriorates your quality,” Huff said.

For Deirdre O’Connell, chief executive officer at Daniel Gale Sotheby’s, addressing this challenge boils down to having a strong value proposition in place.

PlanOmatic-232(L to R) Mike Huff, Broker/Owner, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Anderson Properties; Marc Gould, Senior Vice President, Member Development, National Association of REALTORS® (Credit: AJ Canaria of PlanOmatic)

“When recruiting agents, our main message revolves around the notion that if you work for us, we’ll help you earn more and set you on the path to success,” said O’Connell—a value proposition that’s brought the brokerage to where it stands today.

But it doesn’t end there. In fact, having a solid value proposition isn’t nearly as important as being able to articulate what it means to each and every agent you’re bringing into the fold.

“We have to do a better job of articulating our value proposition,” explained James Dwiggins, chief executive officer at NextHome, Inc. “We must be succinct about it and make sure all our agents are sharing the same message.”

While a strong value proposition is a critical first step in attracting quality agents, training and education is another key component that can’t be overlooked.

“Across the board, national brokerages are doing a fine job of making sure their agents understand the systems that are unique to their particular office and brand,” said Marc Gould, senior vice president, Member Development, at the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR). “From there, members across all demographics are turning to NAR and other organizations for credentials.”

PlanOmatic-227(L to R) James Dwiggins, CEO, NextHome; Deirdre O’Connell, CEO, Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty (Credit: AJ Canaria of PlanOmatic)

“Without training, you’re just another agent,” added O’Connell, who pointed to her brokerage’s mentoring program as a great way for new agents to work closely with those who have more experience.

So how can brokers walk the fine line that goes hand-in-hand with requiring agents to do certain things?

“We can’t force agents to get training,” noted Dwiggins, who explained that the quality versus quantity needle will eventually shift. “There are too many real estate professionals in the business, and that’s going to change.”

For Huff, the directive needs to come from the top.

“The biggest problem we have is that those agents who need to be trained are the same ones who don’t show up for scheduled training,” he said. “We have to do something as an industry; it has to start at a higher level.”

“The real estate industry has a low barrier of entry, but a high barrier of success,” added Gould, who isn’t ready to admit defeat and say that the industry has conceded.

But it’s high time that brokers across the board take the industry back.

“Real estate is the easiest business in the world, yet we make it difficult,” concluded Huff. “I don’t want there to be no barrier—or even a low barrier—to entry, but there have to be repercussions for agents that don’t produce.”

For continuing coverage of this year’s CEO Exchange sessions, stay tuned to RISMedia.com:

Tepping_Paige_color_60x60Paige Tepping is RISMedia’s managing editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at paige@rismedia.com. For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com.