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How to Attract, Retain the Best Agents For You
Define and embrace your company culture, power brokers say, then recruit agents who fit that niche.
June 16, 2016
At the age of 12, Fafie Moore was a national archery champion, and the biggest lesson her father taught her in those years of competition is that the person you compete against the most is yourself.
Today, Moore continues to use that philosophy as a long-time broker-owner in Southern Nevada. Thus, she always asks her recruits to share a commitment they’ve made in life, besides their families. “If they haven’t made a commitment — even if it’s a bake sale for a soccer team that made a lot of money — then it says something,” Moore says.
Moore shared her strategies for recruiting and retention and building a supportive, motivating company culture during RISMedia’s Power Broker Roundtable at the 2016 REALTOR® Broker Summit in Denver last week. With 170 agents in two offices in the Las Vegas area, Moore says recruitment is one of the most important jobs of a broker.
In addition to asking potential agents about their commitments, she also asks about their career pain points and changes they’d make at their current company. “You’ve got to find out what hurts them and what heals them,” she says.
Fellow panelist Marilyn Eiland, managing partner at Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Gary Greene, REALTORS®, which has 1,000 agents in 23 offices in Houston, characterizes her company as the “partnership model,” leaning heavily on training opportunities. Eiland says she highlights that when competing against other real estate companies offering agents a greater split.
“Figure out who you are and what you believe and what makes your company different from the competition,” Eiland says. “There are a lot of different brokerage models out there. Stay true to your own culture every day, in every interview. And make the managers aware that they’re stewards of your culture.”
When recruiting, make sure you’re keeping your culture at heart, says Peter Niederman, owner and CEO of Kentwood Real Estate, which has three offices in Denver doing $2.4 billion in business.
“Culture is probably an overused word, and there are many cultures in a marketplace, and many different cultures work,” says Niederman, who characterizes his company as a top-producer culture. “The secret sauce in any culture is to build to who you are and do the best job at it.”
Niederman finds specific metrics on what his company needs to improve upon or areas where they’d like to increase market share in a hyperlocal area, then looks at who they can recruit to help fulfill those needs.
Chad Ochsner, broker-owner of RE/MAX Alliance with 1,400 agents in the Denver area, talked about culture in the context of retention. Relationships are important within the culture of his company, so he uses handwritten notes to congratulate agents on their first closings, to send condolences, and to celebrate accomplishments large and small. “It puts me at a level where we can connect and I’m relatable,” he says.
“You better be re-recruiting the agents at your company, because if you aren’t, someone else is,” says Moore.
She has integrated more philanthropy into her company culture, such as supporting the Goodie Two Shoes Foundation, which provides new shoes and socks to children in need. Her brokerage is also willing to support different charitable efforts put forth by individual agents. It’s important to be good stewards in the community, and younger agents are especially interested in contributing towards the greater good, she says.
“They have a conscience second to none, and they’re not afraid to say something,” Moore says. “I think you’re going to have more ethical brokerages in the future.
Moore also foresees real estate companies continuing to foster collaborative work environments in order to attract top agents. In fact, her company is opening a third office this fall that’s being designed with an open concept that supports a group atmosphere.
“Brokers aren’t all the same, and you have to show that and show how you can make a difference,” she says.