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How To Recruit and Retain Real Estate Agents

recruit real estate agentsA shift has occurred in the real estate space. Not the real estate market necessarily, the real estate industry is what I am talking about. The real estate industry, once all about the real estate company, ABC, XYZ  is now all about the real estate agent; John Smith, Lisa Jones, Roger Smith. This shift, while good for some –  real estate agents, is bad for others – real estate companies.

I remember when it was all about the real estate company, the “brand” if you will. Ask a real estate agent who they worked for, even a few years ago and they might perk up a little and say “XYZ” or “ABC”. This is because many real estate agents identified with the real estate company they worked for, what it means {in their mind} to be an XYZ or ABC agent.

Only one problem, the consumer could care less.

For years the real estate company an agent worked for, did matter. Consumers identified with the national brokerages as they routinely saw their advertising on TV, radio, print real estate books, billboards and of course – for sale signs.

That was then.

Today consumers appear to be brand agnostic as it relates to real estate companies. The National Association of REALTORS 2009 profile of home buyers and sellers shows this.

important factors when choosing an agent














As real estate agents, particularly the tech savvy ones began to recognize this shift they began to reevaluate their relationships with many  real estate companies. Many migrated to smaller regional brokerages with less fees or, in many cases, started their own. The fact that consumers don’t really care about the real estate company a real estate agent is with presents a problem – for the real estate companies, large and small alike.

I’ll explain

I have been in the title business for 11 years. In those 11 years I have had more meetings with real estate brokers, managers and team leads than I can possibly count. My business has always been built around being the solution to my ideal clients problem so when I asked a broker, manager or team leader about their biggest challenge, I’ll be damned if they didn’t say, “we need more real estate agents!”.

Real estate companies need more real estate agents because unlike real estate agents that are primarily in the business of selling homes, real estate companies are in the business of real estate agents. They need a steady flow of real estate agents selling homes to keep the lights on.

So, if you are a real estate broker, manager or team leader you have a challenge. You can’t legitimately claim that consumers prefer XYZ or ABC or any other real estate company for that matter as the 2009 profile of home buyers and sellers clearly contradicts this. Not that I needed a report from NAR to know this, and I suspect you didn’t either.  Ask any real estate agent that changed real estate companies how many times a client has said, “I’m sorry but I prefer a XYZ agent” probably not many, probably only 3% of the time.

Now that the claim, “consumers identify with XYZ brokerage” is out the window, real estate companies need to figure out another way to not just recruit new real estate agents but also retain their existing ones. They need a new unique selling proposition or USP. A USP sets you apart from your competition. My USP is “I help real estate professional get found on the internet”, the fact that you “found” me only validates that point. So, what is so special about you and your real estate company? And therein lies the problem. 

The solution?


Yes, a great broker is value. Unlimited color copies is value. Lower fees, culture, systems and tools are value. But that is not necessarily what real estate agents are looking for when they leave one real estate company and go to another. What are they often looking for? Typically, MORE BUSINESS. They want to know HOW to grow their real estate business. HOW to get leads.

Real estate companies can recruit and retain their existing real estate agents by helping real estate agents grow their business. OK, I can see you shaking your head from side to side while saying “we do!”

No you probably don’t. At least you don’t here in Phoenix. There are only a handful of real estate companies, BETA Brokerages ,that do here in Phoenix – and they are growing by leaps and bounds. So if it’s not really happening here in Phoenix, one of the most competitive markets in the country I’m betting it’s not happening in the smaller markets either.

Today, 94% of consumers start their home search on the internet. Not in a national print real estate book, luxury real estate guide, yellow pages, billboard, JUMBO postcard or flyer – on the Internet. To make matters worse, for you, 80% will choose the first real estate agent they find. So, the path to growing your business, to having agents beating down your door to join your company is to be the solution to the real estate agents problem.

That problem? The overwhelming majority  or real estate agents do not know HOW to grow their business. I can tell when I see a real estate agents marketing {website, postcards, flyers, grocery cart ads} is all about them. “I’m a top producer!” “Multi million dollar producer”  “top team in Phoenix!” and all the other absolutely ridiculous things they say that only serve to further degrade the reputation of real estate agents. This is where MODELING is a bad thing. In many cases it’s the blind leading the blind. Just because one real estate agent sends out 17,000 postcards doesn’t mean another agent should model it – does it? Nope.

The solution: Teach them! Instead of giving them old, antiquated real estate websites on sub-domains that you own and control, teach them about technologies like WordPress. Instead of providing free unlimited color copies teach them about video, video editing, video optimization and syndication. Instead of old, boring, tired sales meetings [that less and less of your agents attend] about the same old “stuff” show them how to use screencasts to convey value and get found online. Instead of promoting your cozy relationship with your preferred title company, a relationship that often benefits the real estate company more than the real estate agent, show them how to use indexable IDX solutions to drive traffic to their websites and how to convert it into leads.

Don’t have the training to do this? I do. If you are in Phoenix, Kick your preferred title company to the curb and Grand Canyon Title and I will show your agents HOW to build their real estate business using technologies like WordPress, Video, Screencasts, indexable IDX, PPC, facebook, twitter, linkedin, craigslist and more. Be the SOLUTION to your ideal clients PROBLEM and getting real estate agents to join you won’t be your problem, how to manage all your agents will.  Oh and the circle in the graph above? That’s how consumers feel about designations. No one cares if a real estate agent is an ABR, CRS, GRI, e-PRO, Broker, or any combination thereof. Consumers hire a real estate agent to produce a result, to save them time and/or money when buying or selling their largest financial asset. To find the right home or to sell a home. As luck would have it, I can show your agents how to do just that.

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Hi I'm Stephen Garner, I'm just a guy in the title industry {in Phoenix} trying to change how real estate agents market themselves and their services. To that end, I teach my clients HOW TO leverage sales technologies like WordPress, Content, Video, Camtasia, Final Cut X, iMovie and indexable IDX solutions to convey value and help your ideal client find you online when they are most interested in learning about you and your services. I work for escrows. Hire me!

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  • Kirk Eisele

    Good points. It will be interesting to see how this plays out. There seems to be rapid growth in brokers who simply charge a per deal fee to agents and offer 100% commissions. In some ways this is the ultimate admission that all of the action is at the agent level. (At least from the point of view of the brokers going that route.)

    It creates a dynamic where traditional brokers train agents to deal with transactions, clients, etc. and when those agents are really up and running they jump to the lowest possible costs. (Which is hard to blame them for.) It is creating a new environment for everyone including title reps!

    It’s hard to envision a model where brokers can carry the costs of comprehensive hand-holding and training and agents won’t reject the split. (Maybe?)

  • Terkelsorensen

    These are some great points.
    I think Kirk is onto something, but I’m also seeing that tend reverse a little, especially with the low fee brokerages that aren’t providing much of anything, all of a sudden there are questions about tech that nobody is answering.
    This is a huge opportunity to bring even the seasoned agents back, one they realize what all they are not getting.