Real Estate Agent Recruiting: Expert Jim O. Shares His Strategy

“You cannot sell them over the phone. My goal is to get them in.”

Jim O. is a very successful recruiting expert with vast experience in recruiting new real estate agents.  He takes a very personal and patient approach to real estate agent recruiting that has benefited his company greatly. Jim notably adds 260 new agents to his brokerage each year!

SmartSetter Recruiters interviewed Jim to uncover his views, tips, and secrets for great real estate recruiting conversations.

Shaun: So obviously you’ve been pretty successful. How is how’s your real estate agent recruiting going currently?

Jim: It’s going great. In general, I average two hundred and sixty new agents a year and it’s about a 50/50 split between experienced people and new people. I think it’s important to do both.

Experienced agents are slower conversions because experienced people don’t generally change until something goes wrong or they feel they need a change. So the biggest advantage to what you’re doing is filling up my pipeline with experienced salespeople who are willing to talk.

Once you’re able to establish a bit of a relationship, it’s a matter of keeping in touch until they’re ready. So far I’ve talked to over 100. I’ve hired two so far but I’ve met a lot of good potentials for the future. These people are not going to convert right away. A lot are sitting on the fence. Hopefully, they’ll fall off on my side.

Shaun: So how do you look at a service like ours. How would you describe it and what do you feel is the value.

Jim: 95 percent of the existing real estate companies out there don’t have time to prospect and so they’re just waiting for someone to walk in the door or waiting for someone to refer somebody – which is great but they don’t have time to prospect.

They might be thinking “why would I want to pay another organization to call for me when I can call them myself?” But the issue is they’re not going to be proactive. When an appointment is made through your organization, I can actually just squeeze them in-between appointments because it’s only a one-minute conversation that I would have with him to book an appointment or to establish a relationship. Then they go into my pipeline for on-going communication.

“You cannot sell them over the phone. My goal is to get them in.”

Shaun: What are you usually saying on that first introductory call?

Jim: It’s very simple. The first thing I’ll ask them is how long they’ve been a real estate agent? Most of them have been for a fair amount of time, so I’ll congratulate them on sticking to it and being able to stay in the business. Then I’ll ask them “have they ever looked at Royal LePage Signature over the last few years since you’ve been licensed?” And most, of course, will say “no I’ve never looked at it.”

And then I’ll say “well it’s up to you, but we’re very different than our competitors.” And what I mean by that is we have a full new construction division that helps you sell condos to investors. So everybody’s going to have their own feature that will entice somebody to come in.

What I would say is “look I’d like to show you what we have to offer just in case something changes down the road. And that way you’ll know about it just in case things change later on.”

Shaun: What’s your goal on that first call? Is it to get them to come to an in-person meeting?

Jim: You cannot sell them over the phone. My goal is to get them in. That’s the tricky part of real estate agent recruiting. 90 percent will agree to come in. But if I can’t get them in within the next couple of days, then you start to get a lot of no shows.

Shaun: So you would recommend always trying to get the person to come in within the next one or two days.

Jim: Absolutely. The trick is improving the show rate. Once you have them come in, then it’s a matter of keeping in touch. The way I look at things is “today they’re just not ready. But eventually, they’re going to come.” So my main goal is to improve between them agreeing to come in and making sure they come in. That’s the critical moment.

“If I make 50 calls, only 10 will talk to me. I don’t want to talk to 40 other people who don’t want to talk to me. I will let you guys do that (laughs). I want to talk to talk to the 10 people who are interested.”

Shaun: Your call gets them excited and then as the days go by that starts to wear off.

Jim: Exactly. When I do an interview, if a person takes time to make a decision, the less likely I’m going to get them because they’re going to meet somebody else who has one thing that really excites them and they will forget all the benefits we offer – they can only stay focused on one thing at a time.

Shaun: What do you recommend for trying to improve your show rate through to the actual in-person meetings? We had someone before say that they send text messages. Do you have anything that you do that you find makes a difference.?

Jim: I do the text messaging but I don’t do it enough. I think that’s where I can improve.

Shaun: I noticed that you use an automatic text message. 

Jim: Yes, they are automated but they seem personal. So that’s where I have to improve. I think the better that message is between the time they agree to come in and the time that they show up, the better the results will be.

Shaun: OK, so what follow up?

Jim: If they don’t answer the call for the ten-minute conversation that’s booked then, I have an automatic text that goes saying “I know you must have gotten busy with something else. Please feel free to book a meeting with me or give me a call back and let’s chat for a minute.”

So that’ll go out immediately. Then if they don’t respond to that, another one will go out to three days later saying “we never heard back from you.” And I say feel free to book an appointment with my calendar link.

And then if nothing happens after that, I have another text that goes out saying “are you not interested in finding out what Royal LePage has to offer?” And then if that doesn’t happen then I just throw them onto my every three months drip campaign. They get a message from me every three months talking about Royal LePage Signature.

“If you don’t have the funds to hire a full-time recruiter, then really SmartSetter is your only option in order to get some potential leads.”

Shaun: So let’s go back to the top of the funnel. What do you view as the best sources of new leads for real estate agent recruiting and what were you doing before we started working with you and how have we been complimentary?

Jim: Most of my leads are referrals from existing agents. And second is coming from the internet – people who live in the area of the office who are looking to make a change or they’re getting their real estate license. Those are passive. So building your funnel with experienced Realtors® that are doing well, those are the things that I wanted to improve on.

Like most managers, finding the time to make those proactive calls is hard. I can make a ton of proactive calls, but if I make 50 only 10 will talk to me. I don’t want to talk to 40 other people who don’t want to talk to me. I will let you guys do that (laughs). I want to talk to the 10 people who are interested. At the end of the day, it’s a great time management tool.

Shaun: Who do you think our service is valuable for?

Jim: It’s valuable for every broker, especially the larger organizations and busy managers. That’s the biggest mistake that most real estate companies make is they don’t spend the money to hire a full-time recruiter. So we don’t really have an issue here because I am a full-time recruiter. This is just an addition to make me even better. But if you don’t have the funds to hire a full-time recruiter, then really SmartSetter is your only option in order to get some potential leads. I mean that would be a no-brainer.

Shaun: What would you say would be your number one tip for recruiting?

Jim: It’s no different than being a real estate agent. You have follow up. Agents build their database. They keep in touch with their leads on a consistent basis. So a good CRM for following up with potential recruits is the number one thing. I have a very comprehensive drip campaign to keep in touch with a lot of Realtors® in the long run.

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