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Recruiting Real Estate Agents: 3 Strategies for Hiring (and Keeping) the Best

In any industry, recruiting and retaining the right people is one of the most important keys to success. In real estate, hiring the best agents can be a make or break proposition.

This is because the best agents are committed to do what it takes to grow a pipeline of happy clients and, ultimately, close the deal. This is also likely why top-producing agents earn more than four times what their more novice peers bring in. And, top-performing agents also bring specialized knowledge and extensive experience that enables them to create the conditions necessary for delivering seamless professionalism across all touch-points that ultimately leads to hassle-free closings, happy clients, and glowing reviews.

But just like winning clients or closing a deal, attracting the best real estate talent requires thoughtful strategic planning. Commission splits, tiers, and plans aren’t everything. Top-performing agents are increasingly motivated by flexibility, mobility, and opportunities for professional development.

In response, it’s important that any successful recruiting strategy is able to fulfill these expectations in order to attract and retain the best talent. To hire (and keep) the best real estate agents, consider these 3 strategies.

1. Understand Your Company Strengths, Address Your Weaknesses, And Do Your Homework

Recruiting top-performing agents and teams has a lot in common with accepting a new listing. Just as you would assess a property for its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats in its respective market, it’s useful to understand how your company’s processes, technologies, and culture compare to your competitors. 

Start by learning how your company stacks up against the current competition and how it compares to where the industry is going. At this stage, it’s important to understand your current commission plans and franchise or brokerage fees so that you’re prepared to negotiate and give when needed. Think about who prospective agents will be competing with—will it be just agents or is your company managed by a producing broker as well? 

It’s also helpful to engage in structured and informal feedback sessions with your current employees to identify ongoing challenges and frustrations that may not be on your radar. Doing so on a semi-annual basis can help you proactively identify opportunities for innovation and improvement. Engaging in these regular assessments (and adjusting accordingly) will make your organization stand out as the first choice for top-performing agents searching for new opportunities that enable them to reach their professional potential and production goals. An added bonus is that this information also makes it possible to for you to empower your agents to reach their full potential by including their perspective in the process. 

Conducting exit interviews with agents who have moved on to other brokerages or teams often provides detailed, candid feedback that can be invaluable for guiding the recruitment process.

Finally, be sure to check employee review websites to keep tabs on your organization’s reputation with potential new hires. It’s also a great way to identify potential objections that may come up in an interview.

2. Give Your Internal Culture and Workflow an Upgrade

Employees often report feeling dissatisfied at work, and professionals in the real estate space are no different. While the reasons behind these feelings can (and do) vary, agents are likely to look elsewhere when company goals are unclear, processes are disorganized, and individual achievements are not rewarded.

Real estate companies are increasingly offering more freedom and flexibility, which means that keeping top-performing employees happy in today’s thriving economy needs to be a priority, not an afterthought. Recruiting and retaining top-performing agents and team members in a competitive market requires strategic planning and a proactive approach focused on creating a culture where processes are clear, achievements are recognized, and technology is used to empower and support their success.

As the opportunity to be accessible by email, phone, text, videoconferencing, and in person becomes more commonplace, being successful in real estate also means that top agents increasingly require mobility and flexibility to achieve their goals. If the tools you use for transaction management and other key functions can only be accessed from an agent’s desktop computer connected to your company’s internal network, then you’re making it harder for them to complete critical tasks and meet important deadlines. Moreover, top agents often work long or unconventional hours and need the ability to access their files any time, anywhere. 

Switching to a secure, cloud-based solution such as Paperless Pipeline—which can be accessed from any device at any time—means that your agents can get their work done where it actually happens. Agents can upload and store important documents, enter notes and audio reminders, and monitor to-do items in real time, reducing the chances that something will be misplaced, forgotten, or omitted. Additionally, using features like custom checklists, automated reminders, and other tools that make it easy for agents to track and monitor their goals can help everyone stay compliant while driving both productivity and overall employee satisfaction.

While clear organizational processes and accessible, reliable technologies make it easier for your top agents to succeed, that may not be enough for them to realize their full potential. Paperless Pipeline’s customizable reporting features provide access to real-time data, making it easy for agents and brokers to track sales volume, lead sources, referrals, and commissions so top performers can be recognized and rewarded for their achievements.

3. Diversify Your Listings And Ask For Referrals

Just as agents go beyond standard real estate listings to capture attention and excite prospective buyers, so too should real estate companies. Social platforms are a major tool for sourcing talent, but there’s no guarantee that they’re active users. In other words, if you focus all your efforts there, you’re missing out on a wide range of talented candidates. Instead of focusing on any one platform, be sure to cast a wider net. Using word of mouth, becoming active with your regional and statewide industry associations, and hosting social and educational networking events can help you build a sustainable pipeline of prospective talent for years to come. 

And, don’t forget referrals. Talking with other agents and brokers, as well as paying attention to who the top performers are in your area and reaching out to them for a casual conversation about how your organization does it right can open new doors to productive conversations and, ideally, future partnerships. 

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