Real Estate Agent Recruiting: Expert Lee R. Shares His Strategy

I usually start the dialogue with “what would make this a great call for you?”

Lee R. is a well-known Team Leader with tremendous experience in recruiting new real estate agents.  He takes a realistic and pragmatic approach to the task of real estate agent recruiting, and espouses always using a systematic but people-first approach.  A big fan of volume, Lee notably closed 4 new SmartSetter Recruiter-referred agents in one 30-day period recently, and usually sits down with over 40+ Realtor® recruitment prospects each month.

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

Shaun: Hey Lee! How are things going?  It seems like you’re knocking it out of the park.

Lee: The recruiting!  Yeah, I sit on over 40 appointments and bring in around 10 agents a month. That’s my minimum standard.  And my goal with your service was to be able to line-up more volume of high-quality call appointments.  I love the progress so far, and believe that we can still do better.  I’m excited.

Shaun: Awesome. Well, that’s great!  Let me ask you some for some advice and insights on real estate agent recruiting that we can share with other recruiters like yourself.   First of all, what were you doing for recruiting before you were working with us?

Lee: Yeah. So I was cold calling, getting referrals from my agents, and leveraging events.  I would say those three are still my main sources.

Shaun: Cool. And were you making a lot of cold calls before we got involved? Were you finding that easy or hard?

Lee: What’s a lot? (Laughs) I’m sitting on over 40 appointments per month. That’s a minimum standard, not a goal. So am I making a lot? I’m making as many as I have to in order to meet the standards.  Cold calling is a necessity.

Shaun: And how were you enjoying doing the cold calling?

Lee: I mean look… “enjoying it” as a relative word. (laughs) I have a vision of what my income and my passive income should be. When I sold real estate I cold-called expired listings and built a highly successful business that is still successful today.

And I’m still doing cold calling. But in the last few months we’re averaging at least eight in-office appointments (per month) who are from SmartSetter introductions, which has eased the load.  Nobody enjoys cold calling but it’s part of the process.  You guys have helped with that.

Shoot a quick text over and introduce yourself, and reinforce that you’re looking forward to the appointment

Shaun: Right. OK. So let’s talk about your specific processes for real estate agent recruiting.  What do you usually say when you’re talking to people on the phone for the first call appointment?

Lee: Yeah. Good question. So SmartSetter is simply setting up for me an agent who is open to an opportunity outside of their current brokerage.  I would basically call that a lead.  And then it’s my job to pique enough interest for them to meet in person.

But what I found to be very successful is, as soon as the appointment is set by SmartSetter, I shoot a quick text over and introduce myself, and reinforce that I’m looking forward to calling them at the appointment time.

At that first conversation I usually start the dialogue with “what would make this a great call for you?” and most of the time they say “I want you to tell me what you can do for me.” And then I go from there.

I usually start the dialogue with “what would make this a great call for you?”

Shaun: OK. And so then the person agrees to come down and speak with you. I’m guessing by your numbers that about half of them are coming down to visit you after intro call – which is a really good ratio.

What’s your goal then?  And what are you doing on that first meeting when they come?  Are you meeting them at the office?

Lee: Yes. I only meet people at the office, and I usually do a “needs analysis.” It’s not about focusing our company, it never is. It’s always about focusing on the agent, where they are in their business and how we can help grow their business.

The reason someone would leave where they currently work is because they can’t help them get where they want to go. And we can help them get there faster.  The only way to resolve that is to know where they now, are and where they want to go, so that’s resolved through a “needs analysis.”

No two appointments are ever the same.

Shaun: Can you describe some of the benefits that you’ve seen from SmartSetter Recruiters helping with your real estate agent recruiting process?

Lee: Yes. The value is definitely there because I’m getting so many easy meetings.  It (normally) takes me 30 to 45 minutes of cold calling (on my own) to find someone who wants to meet with me. But through SmartSetter, I don’t have to go through hours of people to be able to engage with someone and set an appointment.

Now we’ve got a chance, because we’ve begun with someone who’s interested.

Shaun: Sweet. Yeah, we like to say we’re the “needle finder.” We’re finding the needles in the haystack.

Who do you feel would be the biggest beneficiaries of our service?  Are there specific types of brokers where you think would benefit?

Lee:  Most brokers.  Most people want it to be simplified, and (recruiting) definitely isn’t easy. But SmartSetter gives me an opportunity to have a conversation with somebody who might be interested.  I would say any broker or recruiter who’s looking to build their organization.  What SmartSetter is doing is finding, like you said, a needle in a haystack.  Now we’ve got a chance, because we’ve begun with someone who’s interested.

Shaun: OK. And if you could give us your best jewel of wisdom, what are the one or two top keys to success in real estate agent recruiting?

Lee: Persevere and stick to the plan, and always try to have a message. Have a vision as to why you’re doing this, and truly care about changing people’s lives and helping them achieve their goals. It’s about bringing tremendous value. The agent will always see the value, and as long as you can provide that, then you will grow.

Shaun: Do you place a lot of value on following-up after your calls and meetings?

Lee:  You absolutely have to. Most agents aren’t going to drop what they’re doing to join your company, no matter how good your first appointment was, because agents fear change. So at the end of the day you have to follow up. Over 80 percent of my appointments and agents that join are from longer-term follow up.

Shaun: Awesome.  Do you follow up forever until the person says “stop contacting me?”

Lee: That’s exactly it. (Laughs) If there’s an agent who I believe is a great match for my company and they have room in their business for more growth, then I’m doing them an injustice by not following-up with them.

Most agents aren’t going to just drop what that they’re doing because agents fear change

Shaun: And what do you do for follow-up? Do you do email drips, do you do a telephone sequence?

Lee: We touch them with e-mail but really it’s more often phone. I’ll give you the example of an agent I was chasing for two and a half years. He joined our organization five months ago and his last two months have been the best he’s ever had. He said to me the other day, “thank you for changing my life.” That’s what this is all about for me.

Shaun: That’s awesome. And how many phone conversations do you normally have to go through to get them signed?

Lee: As many as it takes.

Shaun: OK cool. And the last question here. What do you think is the most difficult part for most people in the real estate agent recruiting process? Where do most people fail?

Lee:  Not speaking to enough people, not sitting on enough appointments.  It’s all a volume game.

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