Let’s think back to April 2020. Across the nation, people in non-essential roles were encouraged to hunker down at home and only venture into the outside world when absolutely necessary. The economy tanked, and many businesses temporarily shut their doors in hopes of riding out the storm. Not exactly the best time to grow your business, right?
That’s not what our real estate partner in Florida thought. They decided to take a chance during an economic recession—when few homes hit the market, and the ones that did weren’t quick to sell—and jumpstart their Realtor recruitment program. Neither of us knew it then, but it was the perfect time to get started. When the housing market picked up in the latter half of 2020 and continued to boom in 2021, our partner needed all the talented Realtors they could get, and we delivered just in time.
When most people think about growing their business, they focus on sales. More sales lead to more revenue, and higher revenue equals growth. But in the real estate world, the equation isn’t as straightforward. You’re not selling your own product; instead, you’re partnering with homebuyers and sellers who need an expert to guide their transaction. If you want potential customers to choose your company, you need to sell them on your people before selling their homes.
The best way to grow your real estate company is to get top-performing Realtors on your team. All you have to do is start a recruitment program, offer perks your competitors can’t match, and watch your business grow. If that sounds difficult—it is. That’s why one Florida-based real estate company turned to Abstrakt for help in early 2020. With no time to focus on recruitment, they handed the reins over to our team.
On April 1, 2020, we embarked on step one of our Realtor recruitment process: implementation month.
When our partners first sign up for an Abstrakt partnership, they’re typically eager to get selling right away. What they don’t realize is that untargeted selling is almost as bad as not selling at all. Dialing random numbers may work if you sell a product most people need, but it’s pointless if you’re looking for licensed Realtors in a specific area. By spending a month researching our target audience, collecting essential information, and honing our pitch, we set the rest of our program up for success.
During implementation month, we collaborated with our client to come up with a list of criteria for their Realtor recruits. We learned the following:
- Our client wanted experienced, high-producing Realtor recruits. Competitors in the area were willing to hire agents with minimal experience and low sales, which meant they had more agents but a less than stellar reputation. Our client’s main differentiator was their experienced and ambitious team members, and they only wanted to pursue Realtors with at least eight annual transactions or $2 million in sales.
- Our target location included only two counties in Florida. Because our client was preparing to open a new office, their focus was filling that branch with local Realtors. If a potential hire wasn’t from the right area, we needed to remove them from our list.
- Two local agencies were off limits. Our client had a working relationship with one, and the other was notorious for hiring inexperienced agents.
Using the above information, our data team began compiling a list of potential prospects and gathering their information. At the same time, our sales team brainstormed ways to position our client’s business to potential team members. This part was easy—our client offered new employees a dedicated website, a suite of cutting-edge technology tools, and prime listings on major real estate websites.
Once we came up with a list and a game plan, it was time to start calling recruits on May 1, 2020.
If there’s one thing you should always keep in mind when building a recruiting pipeline, it’s that you can’t rush success. It might take a few weeks to find one potential employee who’s worth pursuing, and you can’t guarantee that your efforts will go anywhere. There’s no way to predict how soon you’ll achieve success, but it’s important to trust the process.
When we started calling real estate recruits in May 2020, it was clear that very few people were willing to entertain a job switch. It was hard enough to find buyers and sellers, and giving up a good job to join a new company seemed too risky. When our sales development representatives (SDRs) were able to get in touch with a real person and not a voicemail message, they usually only made it a few minutes before hearing, “Now’s just not a good time; call me back in a few months.”
We secured a few appointments within our first two months, but they all had the same outcome. Despite liking what our client had to offer, our leads decided that it wasn’t the right time to switch jobs. After two months, we had little to show for our efforts, but we were determined to keep getting leads in our pipeline. We kept calling local Realtors and getting the word out about our client’s business.
During non-pandemic times, it typically takes an average of 53 days to set an appointment with a Realtor recruit. We expected to bring the average up with this client, but we didn’t know how much. So, instead of trying to rush the appointment setting process during the next few months of our lead generation program, we focused on what we do best: lead nurturing.
The weeks or months between your first conversation and setting an appointment can make or break your sales process. If you call once, get hung up on, and stop calling, you’ll never get the chance to change your recruit’s mind. Sometimes, the most hostile people at first end up being the ones who join your team a few months later—but only if you nurture them through the pipeline.
By July 2020, we had a handful of qualified leads in our pipeline who would make excellent additions to our client’s team—we just had to convince them to take the leap. To do so, we used the following lead nurturing methods:
- Warm calls: If leads expressed interest during our introductory phone call, we made sure to follow up each week with warm calls. During these conversations, our SDRs asked recruits about their pain points and learned more about their experiences.
- Personalized emails: Realtors are constantly on the go. When they’re not on the road meeting buyers for house showings, they’re drawing up contracts or recruiting new clients. In many cases, it was nearly impossible to get recruits on the phone for more than a few seconds. When that happened, we kept the conversation going over email.
- Marketing collateral: When we had limited time during phone calls, we used marketing collateral to share detailed information about our client’s company. When our recruits wanted to know more about our client’s business, we sent over a detailed brochure. We also sent case studies when we needed to convey our client’s credibility.
- Social media messages: What do you do when recruits don’t respond to voicemail messages or emails? Send them a social media message. Sometimes, our last resort is what finally piques a lead’s interest.
It took a few months for our lead nurturing efforts to pay off, but when they did, things started to move quickly.
Your next star employee is out there—let Abstrakt find them.
The end goal of any Realtor recruitment program is to set a hiring meeting with qualified recruits. Ideally, our client impresses the recruit during their meeting and begins the onboarding process immediately. More often, it takes a few months after the appointment to finalize the hiring process. In our client’s case, they had to play the long game to get most recruits to commit to their company. But as of August 2021, 15 months after we made our first call, our client had expanded their team by seven. Here’s what their timeline looked like:
- Our client met with a Realtor recruit who was excited to pursue a new opportunity in September 2020. It took nearly six months for them to finally sign a contract.
- We set an appointment with a Realtor specializing in properties near our client’s new office on Oct. 1, 2020. This Realtor signed their employment contract in early December.
- Our client met with a Realtor in late October. They were eager to extend an offer because this agent had over $7 million in sales during 2020. In early January, the recruit officially signed on.
- Only two of our client’s recruits signed a contract less than a month after their meeting. In this case, it was apparent in March that this Realtor was eager to pursue a new opportunity, and by early April, they joined our client’s team.
- The second recruit to sign an offer within a month was a Realtor who wasn’t getting any assistance from their current employer. When our client told this recruit about their support program in May, they were sold. By early June, our client had a new employee.
- Our client was excited to meet with one of our recruits in early January because they had over $5 million in sales in 2020. A few months later, in late April, the agent made the switch.
- One of our appointments didn’t turn into a closed deal until nine months later. Our client met with a high-producing agent in December 2020, but they started to lose hope a few months later when the agent hadn’t made a decision. To our surprise, the agent reappeared in August 2021 and quickly signed their employment offer.
Today, our client has seven more clients in their pipeline who have the potential to turn into new hires.
If our client is any indication, growing your Realtor team isn’t easy—especially when you’re dealing with a pandemic and an unpredictable housing market. Creating a successful Realtor recruitment program requires a proven, predictable process and a whole lot of persistence. A pipeline that’s empty for the first few months might end up full of exciting opportunities in a year, as long as you have faith in the appointment setting process.
Don’t have a year to devote to your recruitment efforts? Turn to the lead generation experts at Abstrakt for help. While you focus on selling more houses, our team can handle the toughest stages of the recruitment process. All you have to do is show up to your hiring meetings and nail your sales pitch—we handle the rest.
With over a decade of experience growing Realtor recruitment teams across the nation, we have the experience and expertise needed to attract the most talented agents and turn them into new hires. We also offer custom marketing collateral, website creation, SEO services, and social media marketing to help you grow your team. With a combination of outbound and inbound Realtor recruitment efforts, you can get the word out about your company and start growing your team in no time.