Brokers... Are you still recruiting the old-fashioned way? It may get you new agents but how many are you missing out on and how long will it continue to work as more and more brokers realize the potential of social networking to bond with agents in their local markets?
I recently met with a broker about his recruiting needs. This is how the meeting went... pay attention to see if any of this sounds familiar: We sat down at a small table in his office and he pulled out the "feature booklet". You know you all have one... the little plastic comb bound booklet with all the pages of statistics of how your company is better than all the others, a list of things you provide to your agents, a list of things corporate provides to agents in your franchise, and it's of course chock full of little pie charts, bar graphs, etc. that prove YOU are the market leader. He proceeded to go over every page in the booklet, describing each little feature so I would know just how special his office was. When he was finished, I sat back in my chair, folded my arms across my chest and asked him one simple question: Why do agents choose you as opposed to every other office in town? He struggled with answering...
Brokers, the ONLY reason agents join you is because they feel your office has the best leadership to offer them. Recruiting is more of a coaching and rapport-building process than anything else. You have to be able to follow up with potential prospects in a way that will bring you the most return for your time investment. If you're still making cold calls... think again... There is a better way to do things now.
Let's pretend for a moment that you happen to know a competing office is going to be closing it's doors soon. They have about 40-50 agents. You want those agents in your office. How do you go about getting them? The Old-Fashioned Way: Pull them up in mls and check their production levels. Cherry-pick the ones you're the most interested in and call them, asking them to give you an hour of their time so you can tell them how fantastic your office is and why they should come and work for you now that their office is closing it's doors. You will likely get a few who will agree, you bring them in and show them your illustrious comb-bound booklet of greatness and convince them to hand over their license. Will you get agents to join you this way? Sure... Will you get a large percentage of them? No... Why not? Because you approached the entire thing like a sales call. You made a cold call, booked an appointment, made a sales presentation, and tried to close.
The New Way: Pull them up in mls and check their production levels. Cherry-pick the ones you're the most interested in and add them to facebook. When they're online, pull up a chat window and say: "Hey______, Thanks for the add! So tell me about what you do. I see we're both in the same local market. What's your niche?" They respond by eagerly telling you all about themselves, the company they're with, what market areas they target, etc. When they begin to tell you about the company they're with, mention you've heard they were closing up shop soon and ask what their plans are. They will likely tell you about the offices they've considered, perhaps even talk about how every brokerage in town has been calling them trying to get them in for a meeting. This is when you begin consulting (notice how I DID NOT say selling)... Ask them questions about their business, what expectations they have in their next broker, what they like most and least about the brokerage they're with currently... What you want to do here is go through what is called the "discovery process". In doing so you'll find out what their specific needs are and if this agent is even worth your time. You can tell them a bit about your office but don't go into too much detail... don't "feature dump". Talk more about your goals for your company and for your agents. Relate it to what they mentioned was important to them by agreeing and mentioning those things are important to you as well and why. Remember we are approaching this as a conversation between two friends NOT as a sales pitch. What's going to happen here is the AGENT will ASK YOU to meet, NOT the other way around. This is going to create the exact situation you want.
So why did this work? Because when you cold call, it's business and it's sales. The agent knows what you want, knows what you're doing, and immediately has a wall built up all around them waving a big ole red flag over top of it. When you approach agents on facebook, it's social and it's networking. The agent is open to you and friendly because they are making a new friend and networking with a local colleague. You aren't selling, you're discovering. In that discovery process, you built rapport and now this agent feels comfortable with you. They want to meet with you and want to hear about your company. Do you see how that approach gets the agents flocking to you instead of you chasing them down. Remember that when you chase something, it's most likely going to run away. You have to be like the mythological siren and let them come to you. When they come to the office, don't give them the kitchen table pitch. Just walk them around the office and hang out with them. Introduce them to the other people there, the admin staff, and let them just get a feel for the energy in your office. Ask them conversationally about their business and offer suggestions for improvement. COACH them, HELP them, BE the backbone support they need and they WILL ask about joining your company.