If the grass is greener on the other side, what side are you on?
By Nick Van Valkenberg, Director of Business Development
Growing your brokerage is an ambitious endeavor, especially in the ever-competitive real estate landscape. Two lingering questions are: how do you find the right talent for your brokerage and how can you make the process easier for your recruiting team? I plan to answer both of these questions but first you need to define what you are looking for: is it the “fresh to the industry” agent, an agent early in their career, or a more senior agent?
As the busy season winds down the “low hanging fruit” would be the agent that, well didn’t have a busy season and is looking for help or better yet, a place where they can thrive. If this is who you focus on recruiting, then do you have the systems in place that are statistically proven to increase an agent’s number of sides? Have you made it easy for them to run their business? How about an open platform? Single sign-on doesn’t sound like a whole lot but to the new agent that doesn’t know all of the technologies offered in your brokerage it could mean the world. Open platforms and single sign-on is a whole other conversation but if you don’t have the technology in place for today’s agent you may want to look around because your competitor down the street has this in place creating a very compelling recruiting and retention tool.
The harder agent to recruit is the successful agent. They say the grass is greener on the other side but what happens when their grass looks like the a fútbol field during the World Cup? Do you know your elevator pitch, differentiator, your WHY statement? If you answered NO to any of these three mission critical pieces to the puzzle, then step one is to clarify your message. May I suggest you take a look at the book Story Brand? The premise of Building a StoryBrand by Donald Miller is how to clarify your message, your WHY statement. The idea of a WHY statement sounds easy but really you need to have a smooth couple sentences that clearly state why an agent at any level in their career would benefit from joining your brokerage especially a successful agent. Let that sink in and think about this for a minute. Sure, you can offer a more competitive split but how does that help you the broker out? REAL Trends recently published that the average brokerages margin has been compressed to 14.8%. Talk to us about how you can recruit a top performing agent not because you will take less money but because you have what they need to become even more successful.
Through conversations with your fellow brokers I have found that the structure of a recruiter tends to be the broker themselves or the manager of an individual office. Time is of the essence, with an already full plate how do you add the time to recruit? In a perfect world a “recruiter” should be spending an hour a day dedicated to finding new talent. At this point you may have guessed that I am going to talk about technology, and you guessed right. Honestly to achieve the desired outcome you need to have a solid system in place. Does your recruiting technology incorporate your goals? Is it easy to ingest MLS data so you have insights on your prospects? Does your technology offer next steps and coach you for each individual recruit? Does your technology offer public records data on your prospects? Could you imagine hosting an annual golf tournament and knowing the subset of your pipeline that has golf as an interest? I’m not a gambling man but I would venture to say that you could easily win over some new agents on the links, remember that greener grass metaphor from earlier? Do your “recruiters” have the ability to easily boast about what your brokerage can offer, maybe in the form of a dynamic presentation imbedded with video testimonials, live links, and your WHY statement?
Your Agent Recruiting System
You may have been seeing the recent industry hype around Moxi Talent. The hype is because we have answered all the above questions. Take the time and let us show you not only how Moxi Talent can increase your productivity recruiting the correct agents but how you can actively recruit your current agent. We can even show you statistics on how the Moxi Suite of products can increase the business for your agents, but don’t take it from us, ask around. To quote the legendary football coach and now inspirational speaker Lou Holtz “In this world you’re either growing or you’re dying so get in motion and grow.” Now more than ever things are changing at a rapid pace, there is a time to sit and watch and there is a time to act, now is the time to act. Take a moment this week and reach out to our team, learn why top brokerages are leveraging our platform to outperform their competition.
By Ringo Nishioka, VP of Human Resources & Operations
You met a great agent you would like to recruit or a potential home seller that you really like. For both of you, business and personal values align. You have a few great phone calls and face-to-face meetings. Suddenly, your colleague disappears and falls off the map. They don’t return your calls and may even miss a scheduled meeting with no heads up. Silence. Just a big echo chamber which leaves you wondering what you did wrong. We have all been there.
What happened? You were ghosted.
It’s happening in dating relationships, companies looking to hire new employees, and yes, in real estate, with both potential recruits and potential home sellers. Unanswered texts and phone calls that are not returned. It hurts. You have invested time, money and emotional energy into the relationship only to find it come to a very hard and dead end.
What is ghosting?
Ghosting refers to when someone in a relationship disappears without any warning sign. The term is a common one in our online world with the advent of dating apps, but we are hearing about it more and more in the professional world as well. We understand it might happen in potentially shorter term personal relationships, but in long term professional relationships?
“Dude, that candidate ghosted you? I can’t believe that. I thought for sure she would accept your offer.”
What are the signs you might be ghosted?
This isn’t our first rodeo here at MoxiWorks. We still get ghosted by candidates we are looking to recruit, but we know some of the signs to look out for. We are not surprised we are dropped like a hot potato when:
- There is a lack of engagement between MoxiWorks (the hiring company) and the candidate.
- When emails exchanges contain slow responses. When we email, we look for timely responses and hope to see a response by the end of the day.
- We look for courteous follow ups and thank you. If we took the time to interview someone or show them around our office, we take a follow up thank you as a sign our candidate is engaged.
Why does it happen?
We have a number of theories, but these are just theories and ours alone.
Bad Communication/Unreal Expectations
We believe that ghosting happens when the communication and expectations between two parties doesn’t match up. Most of us would take the time and effort to talk these differences through, but in an age of immediate gratification, for some it is easier to just walk away.
Your Compass is our Amazon.
We are competing for tech talent in a town where there is a shortage of talent. Every brokerage out there is living in fear of Compass. They have deep pockets, endless perks, and are the shiny object right now in the real estate industry. What’s our version? Amazon. We know what it’s like competing against a giant with endless amounts of cash. When candidates feel like they have opportunity, they can act very differently. There are more tech jobs than tech candidates in Seattle. Consequently, the candidate doesn’t feel the urgency to respond as quickly or respond at all.
How to avoid being ghosted:
- We explain what our interview process will look like in the very first interaction with a potential candidate. We explain how many interviews there might be, who the candidate will meet with and why we take it so seriously. I literally say the following: “Our process may be a little longer than others, but we want to learn what we can about you as the candidate and we want you the candidate to learn as much as you can about MoxiWorks. Ultimately, we are looking for a great fit for both parties because we want you to be as happy as we are with you.”
- Keep the dialogue moving. Nothing creates engagement better than engagement. If your candidate or potential seller has to wait days for a response, they will assume you are not interested in them.
- End your emails with a proposal to continue the dialogue. Give your seller something to respond to.
- “I’d like to meet next week and talk about talk about X. Coffee is on me.”
We mentioned that ghosting happens more in economies where the candidates feel they have choices. The way to overcome this is to make the candidate feel like YOUR SERVICE IS A UNICORN. There may be a lot of agents in town, but YOUR BROKERAGE AND SERVICE IS DIFFERENT. THERE IS ONLY ONE OF YOU IN THIS TOWN!
Benefits of being ghosted:
Believe it or not, there are benefits of being ghosted. You know the candidate’s true colors earlier vs. later and you didn’t find this out after investing in them for six months of training or showing half a dozen homes. Time is money, and they just saved you a lot of it.
By Tiana Baur, Content Marketing Manager
Recruit, recruit, recruit. Getting new agents through the door is the number one thing on every brokerage owner and manager’s mind, but does it deserve that top spot?
While it’s a major pillar of every brokerage’s survival plan, we argue there’s another aspect of recruiting that deserves the number one slot and that’s existing agents.
An agent only spends four years at a brokerage on average. How many of your agents are coming up on that four-year mark?
When agents threaten to leave, only then do people’s ears perk up and start to put emphasis on retention efforts. For some agents, it might be too little too late. If they’ve been largely ignored or feel like they’re under-valued at your brokerage for the past four years, it’s easy to see why the grass would look greener to them.
Don’t play into the four-year statistic. Start recruiting your existing agents before they threaten to leave.
Implement an open-door policy.
When your agents feel comfortable coming to you for anything and everything (like when Compass calls them up) it allows for an open dialogue and a foundation built on trust to exist.
Less is not more.
Don’t be afraid to talk about what’s going on out there. Talking about Compass should be as easy as asking someone to pass the salt – not like walking on eggshells. Bring the hard topics up.
Losing your existing agents only puts more pressure on the efforts to recruit new agents and shocker – it puts pressure on the brokerage wallet as well. Our CEO, York Baur, did a presentation at LeadingRE a couple years ago, sharing local data and insights about the cost of recruiting. The cost per recruit based off data that year in the Pacific Northwest was $20,000 dollars. After the presentation, other industry leaders commented that it was “more like $40,000.” Another way to slice it is by salary (or in this case, commission). According to Forbes, the loss of an employee costs 33% of their salary. Whether it’s 20k, 40k, or somewhere in the middle, that is a LOT of money.
Losing a top producer to let’s say Compass, might not hurt your market share or revenue much, but it will hurt your sales volume numbers. Be better than the other managers out there. Pay attention to your existing agents that are priceless to your business. Think about your agents walking into your office and saying, “I’m leaving and going to Compass.” Which ones would make your heart start pounding?
By York Baur, CEO of MoxiWorks
As we all know too well, there’s a feeling of impending doom when it comes to the future of dollars retained by the brokerage. Brokerage margin compression has been accelerating in the past few years especially, but no one seems to be discussing legit ways to battle it. And last I checked, hope is not a strategy.
A few Moxians attended the Gathering of Eagles event that REAL Trends puts on every year, and here’s what the retained company dollar average for brokerages across the nation looks like over the past several years:
The brokerage dollar is ever-shrinking. Some may argue it isn’t a big deal since home prices have gone up, compensating on a raw dollar basis. That only works in a market with rising prices, and we all know that merry-go-round will stop at some point. We need a real plan for dealing with margin compression – it’s a core problem our industry faces. Don’t forgot that 25% of the RealTrends 500 didn’t make it through the last recession. Do you want to be part of that 25% when the next one hits?
In the face of all of this the “disrupters,” as they like to call themselves, are putting massive pressure on the need for the brokerage to have a technology offering to their agents and technology isn’t cheap. Even as a technology guy myself, I am not shy to admit it. So, how do you thread that needle? How do you buy the best technology, so you can have the best offering to agents in a world where you, the brokerage, don’t have margin to work with?
To preface this, I absolutely stand by my original viewpoint that the traditional brokerage, the impenetrable fortress that it is, has the most valuable asset that exists in the entire industry: relationships with agents, and the agents with the consumers in their sphere of influence.
With that said, here are what I believe to be viable elements of a plan for traditional brokerages to combat margin compression.
Open Platform – Not a shocker
You all knew this was coming. I won’t dive deep, but future-proofing can easily be done by getting your brokerage on a proper open platform that allows you to plug in new tools and unplug old tools just like power strip. Having an open platform means retaining your current technology investments and maintaining a foundation for all the technology changes to come in the future. And don’t be scared by claims that the disruptors will build better technology themselves internally. Over $1B has been invested in real estate tech each of the last two years, so no one company has a lock on building the best technology in every category. Having an open platform that allows you to take advantage of the best of real estate tech today and in the future trumps a “we can build it all” approach every time.
Say it with me: Recruiting, retention, AND productivity
Pick great tools that actually drive agent productivity as well as recruiting as retention. Industry wide, if you ask any broker, “what’s the most important thing in your business?” they’ll say to recruit and retain. But that’s wrong. It should be recruiting, retention, and productivity. If you focus on productivity as a major pillar of your business, it amplifies your recruiting and retention, and it’s where you actually make money. Having non-productive agents at your brokerage doesn’t make you money, it costs you money.
Many brokerages chase the shiny object, so it enhances their recruiting and retention efforts, but it doesn’t move the needle. To that point, it’s imperative to eliminate the shiny objects and steer clear of the temptation of them. They will end up costing you more than you ever thought.
Technology is NOT a single expense line item
Don’t think of technology as a single expense. Think of technology and marketing expenses together, because the two worlds have fundamentally blended. Digital marketing is inherently fused with technology and the other way around. As proof of this, an ongoing trend across all industries is the blending of the CTO and CMO roles.
Technology is not a necessary evil expense item, but as something to be used along with other marketing activities as a combined marketing and technology spend. What form of marketing these days doesn’t involve technology? Almost none.
And while I’m on my soapbox, can we please stop talking about expenses and start talking about investments? Every decision you make to spend money on something should be thought of as an investment. That means that you should expect to have a return on your investment, have a plan for making your investment work, and measuring your return over time. For example, in our case we check agent performance with our tools – agents in brokerages that are our customers do 40% more transactions when they use our stuff. That’s real productivity, and real top-line growth. Make investments and grow your business versus “managing expenses” like an accountant.
Trying to save your way to prosperity almost never works, so get on with a proactive plan to invest in a technology platform and tools to boost agent productivity. Not only will your top line grow, but you’ll be able to better stand your ground in negotiations with agents over their split, because they’ll understand that you’re helping them grow their business vs. just offering them a desk and the ability to rent your brand.
My call to action: have a plan. Focus on agent productivity. Have goals and measure yourself to them. Use technology and digital marketing to support your plan. The great news is that the traditional brokerage fortress is very hard to penetrate. But even the most impenetrable fortress can get sacked if the King doesn’t have a plan for defending it.
By Tiana Baur, Content Marketing Manager
Recruiting new agents is the main thing every broker and real estate manager thinks of every hour of the day. It’s the constant, never ending job that is only getting more challenging. I like to think of it as a treadmill that gets progressively faster and faster, forcing some people to step off and others to find the will to keep going within. It’s intense. It’s why we created an entire recruiting system to make it easier on managers and recruiters alike. But while the technology drastically helps, there’s still the interviews and the interactions that are human-based and can still be butchered if one forgets to be on their best behavior.
So, with that in mind, we put together a short list of things you should never, EVER do when recruiting new agents. If you do, it’ll surely come back to bite you.
1. Never bad mouth your existing or past agents.
You’re recruiting new agents for a reason. You have numbers to hit and you’re trying to grow your office. It goes without saying that you need to pump some steroids in to get things done because what is currently going on at your brokerage isn’t cutting it. It’s implied. You don’t need to trash talk your current agents or even past agents.
Putting down your existing and/or past agents not only makes you look bad as the hiring manager, chances are, the top talent you’re trying to recruit will sense an unhealthy work culture and the possibility of being one of those agents you’re currently belittling.
Your agents and the relationships with them are your most valuable source not only for your existing business, but for recruiting new talent as well. Whether it’s talent from their personal connections or them having represented your brand in a great light in the community, they are your golden ticket to finding solid agents. Don’t make enemies out of them.
2. Never promise what you don’t have.
Every agent is looking for the brokerage that will provide them with the tools and technology they need to succeed. With companies like Compass and new initiatives like the Keller Cloud floating around, everyone else needs a solid technology offering, not just some shiny objects to throw about. However, don’t let the pressure of technology offerings cause you to lie and over-promise what you have to give them.
Doing this might get them signed and through the door, but you can bet they won’t last long and your retention stats will take a nosedive. Getting agents to join your brokerage is one thing, keeping them there is another. Help them help you by giving them reasons to trust your business. No one likes having a revolving door.
3. Never bring up politics, controversial topics, flirt, or otherwise cross the PC boundary.
The eighties might as well be a century ago because the times we’re living in are drastically different. For better or worse, we all have to be on our best behavior. People get offended. Others cross the line by a mile. What was once flattering, is now uncomfortable and sometimes even a CLM (a career limiting move). Some topics are also very much illegal, but that’s another issue.
When you’ve only just met someone, you have no way to know their background, things that have happened in their life, how they feel about certain issues, etc. Typically, all you know is who they are on paper. What their sales volume is, when they got their license, their real estate accomplishments and history, and what they put publicly on their websites and social media. Stick to the task at hand and focus on the real estate subjects.
Real estate is a weird industry that sometimes feels like it’s stuck in a time capsule and everything else going on in other industries barely touches it. Behaving yourself is not one of those things. Don’t say something you think is witty about the way someone looks or call someone “sweetie” that you’ve only just met. For the love of everything sacred about real estate, just don’t do it!
By Maddie Jostol, Marketing Manager
With new brokerages entering the market with aggressive recruiting strategies, brokerages are universally placing a lot more weight on the importance of recruiting.
It’s easy to spend a lot of cash winning over agents, but we believe the key is to focus on what really matters. What do agents actually want? As you review this list, you’ll notice we don’t talk about commission splits. You already know commission splits are important to agents and we’re sure you’re doing what you can to offer competitive compensation. Here are some other things that agents are looking for when comparing brokerages.
Agents want to join an organization that values technology. A robust, established tech stack shows agents that your brokerage is forward-thinking and supportive of its team. We think you’ll find that tech-savvy agents who embrace the systems you’ve hand-selected for them will likely be some of your most successful. It also fosters a culture of efficiency – technology-focused agents will push each other to streamline their businesses
Coming into a brokerage with a leading tech stack means they don’t need to research and train themselves on their own set of tools. You already have a stack up and running, ready for them to utilize.
Training, support, and resources will prove to your agents that you care about their success and professional development. On top of that, helping them to improve themselves as real estate professionals makes a difference on your bottom line, which is always a win. Agents are looking to work for an organization that offers meaningful training and useful, manageable resources.
Before you get overwhelmed, remember that you don’t have to do all of this yourself. Look at your tech tools and vendors – many of them already offer free training regularly. Just promote those to your agents. Make training resources known and easily available to them so they can get themselves training on exactly what they need, when they need it.
Access to meaningful data can make all the difference. Agents want data that shows how their business is performing. Look through your existing tech tools to see if your agents have a snapshot of their business anywhere. What tools are encouraging their annual goal-setting? Which ones are giving them necessary visibility into their business’ performance to ensure they hold themselves accountable and meet these goals?
The agents looking for this is typically focused on optimization, always looking to improve their business. These are the agents you want on your team.
Even as independent contractors, agents see the value in having a team, which means building a strong community holds a good deal of weight. Focus on building a community that is unique to the people in your office. Valuing diversity and inclusion is vital in ensuring agents feel safe and respected in your community.
When agents feel like they’re a part of a community, they have people who they can trust, rely on, get encouragement from, and learn from. This leads to higher collaboration in closing more sales, as well as higher adoption of technology tools, and more recruiting referrals for new agents.
Tip: When a new agent starts, pair them with someone in the office who has a similar sales history or sales style as them. Send them out to coffee or lunch together so they can begin to build rapport and trust. Having a go-to team member could make all the difference as they settle into your community.
Make core values part of your recruiting process. Outline what values your brokerage and office have. Look for those values in new agents and be transparent about them. Agents who resonate with them will be attracted, and even better, they’ll stick around.
A Warm Welcome
Don’t underestimate the importance of an agent’s first two weeks with your brokerage. It’s all about the little things. If an agent feels welcome when they first join your team, they’ll start off on the right foot. You just recruited them, now start the retention process right away. Make them feel like they’re part of the team and they’ll settle in for the long run.
Everything on this list is about the agent and their success. If your brokerage brand is well-recognized and well-regarded, that box will be checked and agents will start looking at what their day-to-day life will be like at your brokerage. According to NAR, the average agent stays at their current brokerage for just four years. This means you have relatively little time to win an agent over and keep them on your team. Make sure you’re taking actions that truly matter.
Effective recruiting practices and impactful retention strategies are important for the culture of your brokerage, its reputation, and of course, your bottom line.
Need to improve and automate the recruiting process at your brokerage? Learn more about Moxi Talent here.
By Tiana Baur
We recently announced the launch of Moxi Talent, our new tool for managers and recruiters, to help them do their jobs more efficiently, providing them with much more information right at their fingertips. It’s designed to execute based on goal-setting, automation, and a consistent methodology to attract and hire agents.
Built on Moxi Engage
Moxi Talent guides recruiters and managers through the recruiting process not unlike a CRM. In fact, Moxi Talent was built on the core of Moxi Engage, our CRM and productivity tool. Moxi Talent requires managers and recruiters to set their goals before taking any other action. The goals are used by the system to keep managers focused on a disciplined methodology, despite the noise of daily office life, especially for those with an open-door policy.
Engage, it’s foundation, increases agent production by an average of 38%, so the outlook for Moxi Talent is extremely promising. The task manager helps managers and recruiters take the correct action at the correct time. The tasks include anything from posting to the target agent’s LinkedIn profile or taking the time to attend a few more broker’s opens each month. For users that also have Moxi Present, it might suggest sending the agent an interactive CMA to show them the power of the tools your agents have access to, to do their jobs more efficiently and effectively.
Identify who to recruit
Not only does Talent walk you through successfully getting an all-star agent into your office, but it also tells you who these agents are, and which ones will help you reach your goals. It also prioritizes your tasks, so you’re focusing on the ones that could really count vs. ones you’d like to have in the fold.
And in the very near future, you can get even better insights. Let’s say you have a goal of $1M more in sales volume this year for your office. You’ll be able to see sales volume for the agents you’re going after, making it obvious who will get the job done.
Retain your existing agents
Recruiting is important, but it’s only a piece of the puzzle. Retention is just as important (as you know) for your brokerage as recruiting is. Moxi Talent will help you connect with all of your existing agents, making sure they’re happy and not looking elsewhere.
Although Moxi Talent is currently in Beta, you can get your brokerage signed up to be part of the early bird program here.
It’s that time of year again – time for us to renew our gym memberships, swear off holiday desserts forever (or at least until next December), and set lofty, life-changing goals for ourselves. You may love or hate New Year’s resolutions, but no one can deny the importance of setting goals. Ask any brokerage owner what their goals are and sitting comfortably in the top five, year after year, is recruiting and retention. Setting the goal is half the battle. The rest is execution.
According to NAR, 84% of brokerages with four or more offices are actively recruiting. Large brokerages are under pressure to continue their growth, and everyone else must keep up. Therein lies the greatest challenge: execution under that pressure. How can an office manager recruit new agents while they’re juggling everything from helping close a million-dollar sale or unjamming a printer or negotiating to keep top talent? At the end of the day, an office manager may only have the time and energy to hit the button on a blast of traditional mass mailers to an Excel spreadsheet of candidates and pray something hits.
Introducing Moxi Talent
With that, MoxiWorks is excited to present the newest member to the platform: Moxi Talent. Moxi Talent is designed to help office managers and recruiters execute on this year’s resolutions through goal-setting, automation, and a consistent methodology to attract and hire agents. It is built on the core of Moxi Engage, the CRM and productivity tool that increases agent production by an average of 38%. Using Moxi Engage’s focus on goals and its integration with email contacts and calendar events, Moxi Talent is in a unique position to bring the same change in productivity to office managers’ recruiting pipeline and, eventually, retention efforts.
Moxi Talent requires managers and recruiters to set their goals before taking any other action. The goals are used by the system to keep managers focused on a disciplined methodology, despite the noise of daily office life. Best practices in the form of tasks help managers take the right action at the right time, such as posting to the agent’s LinkedIn profile, swinging by the agent’s broker open, or using Moxi Present as a vehicle for marketing materials, a strategy many of our clients are already using today.
Let Technology be Your Wingman
It doesn’t stop there. We’ll continue to expand the feature throughout this year, enabling managers to tell Moxi Talent the profile of their ideal recruit based on volume and the geography of the agent’s listings, which the tool will use to suggest the best candidate for the manager. Say goodbye to mind-numbing spreadsheets of data and hello to intelligent, automated recruiting leads.
Nothing makes us at Moxi happier than to grow with our brokerage clients, and we’re thrilled to take the next step in that continual growth with Moxi Talent, so brokerage owners and managers can make good on this year’s resolutions, unlike my unused gym membership.
Moxi Talent is currently in Beta. Find out more by clicking here.