Real Estate Agent Recruitment Explained
In any industry, finding the right people is one of the most important keys to success. People always quit and attrition is a fact of life. In real estate, signing top-producers to your real estate brokerage or team is one of the most important factors to sustained long-term growth.
Why? Because only the best agents are committed to building a healthy pipeline, closing transactions, and maintaining a robust network of happy clients.
That level of commitment is likely why top-producing agents earn more than four times what their more novice peers bring in. Even more, top-performing agents offer specialized knowledge and extensive experience that enables them to create the conditions necessary for hassle-free closings, valuable referrals, and repeat clients.
Without these top-producers and their extensive professional experience, companies may find themselves struggling to keep production high and their clients satisfied.
This guide will help you understand why recruiting real estate agents should be a long-term top priority and how you can recruit (and retain) the very best agents.
Recruiting Real Estate Agents is an Ongoing Process
But just like winning clients or closing a deal, attracting the best real estate agents requires thoughtful strategic planning. Commission splits, tiers, and plans aren’t everything. Top-performing agents are increasingly motivated by flexibility, mobility, prestige and opportunities for professional development.
In response, any successful recruiting strategy must be able to fulfill these expectations to attract and retain the best talent in the real estate industry.
Recruit real estate agents even before they start looking.
The best agents are always employable because they bring success with them wherever they go. In response, the best real estate agents are rarely in between jobs.
Unfortunately, many agencies keep recruitment on the back-burner when instead, they should make it a priority to ensure they maintain the funnel filled with desirable leads.
In other words, the right time to start recruiting is now, and the right time to stop recruiting is never. That means you’ll be actively recruiting agents working for a competitor, but it also means you’ll be top-of-mind when they make the switch elsewhere.
Keep an eye out as well for new real estate agents at competing brokerages and agencies who are making a quick name for themselves. Often, you can cultivate that relationship and offer even more in terms of support, coaching, and opportunity—especially if they’ve signed up under less than favorable commission terms.
Continually invest in your company’s brand.
It’s much easier to recruit real estate agents when you’re a market leader and not a market-challenger. Sure, there are benefits to both, but being the market leader with brand recognition comes with some great perks. Prospects recognize your company name, logo, brand—and with it, they quickly understand a strong value proposition.
Consider investing in paid ad campaigns, social media marketing, and search engine optimization (SEO) tactics that will help evaluate your company name. The results of these efforts extend beyond gaining new clients—it garners the attention of the area’s top producing agents and agent teams.
Know what other team leaders and agencies offer.
The most successful agencies will be actively recruit real estate agents before they’re even looking. These agents are one of two types of job-seekers: Active and Passive job-seekers. Knowing what to pitch and how to negotiate with an agent is critical to nurture ideal prospects.
The primary reason that passive job-seekers switch companies is for more money. In other words, for those agents who aren’t looking for a new agency, they’re likely happy and content, but making more money under the same conditions is certainly favourable. However, for agents actively looking for a new agency, they often want better opportunities or a healthy work-life balance. For these career seekers, consider offering a different way of working (the remote culture), or better ways for them to improve their skills and grow their income.
Diversify your recruitment pipeline.
Use social media to extend your company’s reach beyond a website or word of mouth. While these are often critical, there are other great ways to promote your real estate business and offer.
Use your brand channels, including ads, SEO, and video-based marketing efforts, or consider bonuses for agents who refer a new agent that signs up with the agency.
Whether it’s within real estate or most other industries, people get excited about working for a company that they’re familiar with. Consider hosting events that seek to build these types of relationships.
Opportunities to hear from veteran agents about their journey to success or talks from accountants about how to maximize income and lower taxes are great topics that generate new real estate agent leads.
The more an agent enjoys these types of events, the more often they may attend—giving you a chance to build long-term relationships and consistently demonstrate the value of your company.
Find new ways to retain top producers.
Business owners know that it’s cheaper to maintain customers than it is to acquire new ones.
The same rule holds true for recruitment as well. In fact, not only is keeping your real estate agents more cost effective than investing in finding more, but they can also help you find new agents at a cheaper cost.
Empower your current agents to help recruit. Invite them into the process as a decision-maker, and you’ll often find that they will find new ways to improve the process and close the deal on the best new talent.
Additionally, keeping your top producers with your company enables you to highlight more stories of success, growth, and accomplishment—almost free social proof initiatives for marketing and brand awareness.
12 General Principles to Recruit Real Estate Agents
1. Offer a simple transaction process.
Top-producing agents love tools that are simple because they don’t require hours to learn, use, or maintain. Whether it’s your agency transaction management software, intranet system, CRM, form tools, or anything else—top real estate agents want to get in and get out in as little time as possible.
Your agents likely don’t want to spend time entering data into a system. Instead, they want to use a system that quickly helps them stay on track. Top agents love simple tools because they are easy to learn and easy to use, and fewer “moving parts” make simple tools more reliable than complicated ones.
Imagine meeting with one of the top agents in your area and telling them that, if they come to work with your agency, they have to learn an entirely new process and give up the tools and workflows that have made them successful.
Worse, tools that need 24/7 technical support force agents to stop and delay work until issues are resolved or force them to stay sitting and waiting for a support member to help them. For many team leaders, those types of issues are not going to help close the deal.
2. Offer adaptable technology.
When you recruit a new real estate agent, especially one that’s a top producer, it means that you’re bringing on more than a person.
Top real estate agents come with a set of tools, processes, and systems that they’ve used and that have directly contributed to their success.
Unfortunately, many brokerages and agencies require real estate agents to use their own tools or software because they pay for all-in-one solutions or because they want all leads collected by the company.
Instead, offer technology solutions that allow realtors to continue working in their specific way.
Some top producers work exclusively with clientele who prefer pen and paper—it’s essential to enable them to continue supporting their clients in the best way.
Other agents come with an extensive list of leads and clients that they don’t want to share out, so ensuring they can continue using their tools is imperative.
Additionally, top agencies know that recruiting and supporting brand new agents is an entirely different task than recruiting top talent.
The difference requires a versatile system that can adapt to each agent type and need.
New real estate agents require hand-holding, more intense coaching, and greater oversight. The workflow required of them should not impact your top agents.
Those top agents don’t want to spend time learning an over-engineered process when they’ve been using a system that works well for them.
3. Offer tools that help agents become even more productive.
While many real estate agents have a workflow that works well for them, others may need technology tools in place that can help them increase their productivity.
For these agents, it’s important to offer tools that are simple and can help keep them on track.
Consider implementing transaction management systems that are easy to learn and just as easy to use.
A versatile system that allows real estate agents to submit paperwork by email, upload, or scan ensures that no matter who you recruit, they will have a seamless way to submit documents to the agency.
Additionally, you can utilize tools that offer automated task reminders based on the most critical transaction milestones—such as acceptance, close date, loan approval date, or the option period.
Even better, make sure your systems can automatically sync with your new agents’ calendars.
4. Offer technology that works with other tools.
In addition to providing software tools that are adaptable to different workflows and enable agents to become even more productive, it’s important to offer options.
For many agencies, agents are still independent contractors, and as such they often cannot be required to use your tools.
Make sure that your transaction management system allows agents to use their favourite other apps.
Some real estate agents prefer the tools provided with their association membership or by the state, while others prefer their systems for collecting signatures and processing forms.
Forcing them to navigate yet another tool that they don’t need or want is the quickest way to frustrate current and new real estate agents and over-complicate the process.
5. Provide insightful production reports on-demand.
Every top real estate agent has their style, but one thing is often similar: the need for consistent and insightful production data.
Offer agents the ability to quickly view their production and hone in on deals that are missing critical documents or that require attention.
Allow agents to quickly find client contact or transaction information from any of their previous deals.
Ensure that they can view these reports, filter and sort results, and see precisely what they need as they need it.
Doing so will ensure that new real estate agents are confident they won’t have to waste time driving into the office or spending time with a third-party support team.
6. Give access to income statements in real-time.
When it comes to the end of the year, team leaders aren’t the only ones rushing to get ready for tax season. Agents feel the same pressure and want their financial information quickly and on time.
Consider providing automated monthly financial reports with the previous month and year-to-date information on gross and net income from the commissions they’ve generated.
Take it a step further and make it clear to new prospects that they can also view all of their financial information in real-time.
This will save time for everyone, and for new agents looking to work with your agency it’s a great way to provide a clear and consistent picture of their earnings.
7. Offer commission structures that motivate.
Agencies generally offer some pretty standard commission structures to agents: splits or a flat fee.
It’s essential to consider your commission structure and evaluate whether it motivates agents to perform.
For example, higher than typical traditional commission splits can encourage agents to continue investing in finding new clients as every sale will grow their income.
For top agents with deep client bases and long rosters of experience, flat fees can be even more motivating because your agents will keep nearly the full commission earned on every transaction.
Keep in mind that when recruiting new real estate agents, the flat fee is less appealing because the fixed cost is a certainty, while production is not.
8. Offer attainable commission plan incentives.
A great way to help recruit top agents who are seeking ways to increase their earnings is to offer commission plans with more incentive. For example, some Agencies will offer different splits based on the lead source—something that top agents love.
Another tactic, whether you offer splits or a flat fee, is to provide a commission cap where the agent will earn 100% of the total commission or where the fee is waived.
This also works well for high-producing teams because you can offer the team lead 100%, while other agents remain on a commission plan that splits the commission with your company.
9. Highlight and recognize your real estate agents’ success
Consistent recognition of great work is another way to build an influential company culture that new agents and top talent want to work for.
Consider shout-outs on social media, annual events to highlight the top producers, and rewards for productivity.
Do the same for the new real estate agents who are quickly making a name for themselves or who have shown meaningful initiatives to get better.
You may also consider changing the relationship with agents deserving of recognition. Give them a leadership role in the office, ask them to help direct and coach new agents, or pay for learning opportunities outside the agency.
10. Support Your Agents
Becoming a successful real estate agent, team leader, or team is a challenging process. There’s a ton of competition, and many of those competing agents have years of experience or a strong brand behind them.
One of the best ways to improve your company culture is to establish a process to support all of your agents—no matter how experienced or new they are.
Meet with them to discuss their needs, what’s working, and what’s challenging. Help them improve what they do well and overcome the challenges they encounter.
Genuine and authentic help says a lot about your company, and it’s one of the most powerful ways to increase word-of-mouth referrals.
In addition to personal support, consider offering tools, software, and reports that can further enable and support agents’ success.
11. Coach Agents to Where They Want to Go
Coaching isn’t always effective, and good coaching is rarely cheap. Offer new agents access to high-quality coaching and consistent mentorship.
These types of opportunities are rare—many agencies believe that coaching should come from real estate veterans, rather than from professional coaching.
Great coaches are often companies, not individuals, and not someone in the office that takes the role of the “part-time coach.”
These types of companies provide effective services and proven results because they develop accountability and motivation for agents, as well as the team leaders and teams, too.
12. Support Team Opportunities
Top agents are often ambitious and are continually looking to the future. Many don’t believe they’ll remain an agent throughout their entire career and instead have their sights set on building their own agencies or team.
Unfortunately for agencies with owner-producers, this can feel like an unhealthy relationship. Leads are held close and not shared, and top agents will passively be looking for the next opportunity.
Make a point to support your agents and their goals. Help them develop top-producing teams that can take your agency to the next level.
As with any employee, they may eventually leave, but a genuine interest in helping them succeed will ensure that your pipeline of prospects never runs dry.
Often, new and talented agents alike will be eager to work with a agencies that can support them.
How to Identify the Ideal Real Estate Agents to Recruit
Before you make a recruiting call or send an email, identify what type of agents you are prepared to support in your organization. Agents in different phases of their careers have different needs. If you can’t support them, you can’t recruit them, and you certainly can’t retain them.
Finding & Recruiting New (or Newer) Real Estate Agents
There are two types of new agents: prelicensed candidates interested in getting their real estate license and current students or recent graduates of real estate school who are interviewing agencies.
You can collect prelicensed and in-school leads by placing ads on employment websites like ZipRecruiter, Indeed, Career Builder, and My Careers Future. You can direct high-funnel candidates to a real estate licensing school (like Real Estate Express or Kaplan in North America or Hastors in Singapore) when they reach out. Keep in touch, so they are sure to interview with you once they receive their license.
You can find lower-funnel leads by contacting local real estate schools and asking them if you can present your team or agency to their classes. They may ask you to bring lunch or snacks for the students in exchange for a 15-minute presentation.
How to Support New Agents
If you plan to recruit brand new agents or ones who have only sold a few homes in the past year, be prepared to spend a lot of time training them in marketing, buyer and seller presentations, managing a database, and writing and negotiating contracts.
If you choose to hire more than a few new agents at a time, you’ll need a designated mentor or trainer and a detailed educational program at your brokerage. Otherwise, their needs will impact your personal real estate production. In short, if you don’t have the resources to train new agents, don’t recruit them.
Fortunately, we provide plenty of training resources for new agents at YKC.
Finding & Recruiting Producing Real Estate Agents
If you’re recruiting producing agents, you need an idea of their production and contact information. You can find it manually through CEA's Public Register in Singapore or your Multiple Listing Service (MLS) in North America. Most MLS offer the ability to search closed transactions.
Begin with a search of recently sold homes in your target territory. Download the list and sort by the listing agent’s name, which shows how many closings each agent has had in your area.
In a sample search of 1,500 closed transactions, I identified more than 100 producing agents—great potential leads who sold two or more properties in my territory in the past six months.
How to Support Producing Agents
Producing agents have basic needs that include a good website, an excellent customer relationship management (CRM) tool, lead generation support, and a sense of community. They are the easiest agents to manage but also the easiest to overlook—which makes them susceptible to getting poached by other agencies.
Creating a strong sense of community in your team or brokerage is key. Conduct regular team meetings, group lead generation activities, and mobilize around a common vision or cause to ensure everyone feels seen, appreciated, and supported.
The Secret to Attracting, Recruiting & Retaining Top-producing Real Estate Agents
Recruiting top-producing real estate agents (typically, those who sell more than 30 homes a year) is all about knowing what they’re looking for: opportunities, recognition for their efforts, and/or a better compensation plan.
For top producers, opportunity could mean a leadership role, impressive title, learning something new, or accessing better training or mentors.
Some top producers thrive on the approval of others (like me!). And believe it or not, many companies aren’t good at giving credit or recognition. Top producers typically invest more time and money into their businesses than other agents, helping to grow your brokerage brand.
For this reason, I believe they deserve special treatment. You don’t need to kiss their butt; they just need to feel appreciated. Create unique, exclusive experiences like inviting them to special events.
Many top producers negotiated their compensation plan long before becoming top producers. They’re now paying an unfair share of their commissions to their brokerage and are looking for a better compensation plan. Nonetheless, changing your compensation model to accommodate a top producer could lead to resentment among other agents on your team and divide your brokerage.
Instead, build your team or brokerage compensation plan to attract financially conscious top producers. If you already have an established compensation model, consider offering an upfront signing bonus.
The Best Scripts for Recruiting Real Estate Agents
If you only learn one thing about recruiting scripts from this article, it should be this: The best script is the truth. So get very clear about who you are and are not.
If you are a top-producing team that wants to build your brokerage brand, make that clear in your script. You might not appeal to a top producer who wants to grow their own personal brand, but you will attract mid-level agents who want to be part of something exciting and who aren’t concerned about being the “Top Dog.”
The key to recruiting success is to find the right candidates to join your organization, and not to get appointments with everyone with a real estate license. Think of your scripts as a means of weeding out the agents who don’t fit with your goals and culture. With this in mind, here are the four most effective scripts I have used to recruit producing agents for my coaching clients.
The Best ‘New to the Area’ Recruiting Script
This is a great script if you or your brokerage are new to the area. Once you’ve gathered a list of recruiting leads using the MLS or CEA's Public Register, use the following script to contact them. The secret to success with this script is to start with a tone of curiosity in your voice.
This is [Your Name] with [Team, Brokerage or Agency].
I see that you have recently sold [#] homes in the [specific location] area.
Do you specialize in [that specific location]?
Are you looking to do more business in [that specific location]?
[If they say YES … shift your voice to excitement!]
Great! The reason for my call today is because we recently opened a new office in [location], and we are looking to invest in a few agents to help them grow their business in [specific location].
Would you like to have a conversation about that?
Are you available ______ at [time/day]?
Many recruiters would scoff and say that this script is too direct because many companies reward recruiters for the number of appointments they set and not the quality of the lead or appointment.
Another concern I hear with this script is with the word invest. Recruiters say things like “I don’t have money to give them” or “We don’t BUY agents.” However, you can devote your time to mentoring them, provide extra leads, or invest financially. However you choose to invest is up to you.
But remember, if you don’t plan on investing in agents in some way, you are going to have a hard time recruiting talented agents and retaining the ones you already have right now.
The Most Effective Mid-level Agent Recruiting Script
Use this script with agents working in a specific community, neighbourhood, or town. Begin by paying attention to their advertising on Facebook, newspapers, and listing signs. When you see an agent who is marketing a unique message or new listing, contact them with the following script.
This is [Your Name] with [Team, Brokerage or Agency].
The reason I am calling is I saw your [advertisement or marketing campaign] and I was impressed by [the message, quality, or professionalism].
I see you have a listing in [specific location]. Do you sell most of your homes in [specific location]?
Are you interested in getting more listings in [specific location]?
We are also looking to grow in [specific location], and we are looking to invest in a few agents to help them grow their business there.
Would you like to have a conversation about that?
Are you available ______ at [time/day]?
This is one of my favourite recruiting scripts because it works on Facebook Messenger, text, and even on WhatsApp, as long as you are honest and transparent.
The Best Events & Seminar Agent Recruiting Scripts
Holding events and seminars is an outstanding way to attract learning-based agents. These agents are likely newer to the business or mid-level seasoned agents looking for new ideas.
Keep it a small event, and don’t hold it in your office. Agents will be too intimidated to come into the lion’s den.
It’s a best practice if you present the information or host the panel, which positions you as the expert … everyone wants to know the expert.
Trendy topics work best, like social media (especially TikTok) strategies, paid Facebook Ads, business planning, and cryptocurrency.
Here is the exact script I use to get real estate agents to my events:
This is [Your Name] with [Team, Brokerage or Agency].
The reason for my call is [vendor] and [team or brokerage] are holding an event for real estate agents called [event name], where we will go into detail about how to [specific goal].
Are you interested in attending?
[If they are interested, they will ask what day and time the event is.]
The event is on 2023 at [location]. It is limited to [five to 25] agents. Can I mark you down to hold your seat?
The secret to successfully recruiting at events is conversion. Think of your event like a lead magnet on your website. You need to offer something attendees want, but your end goal should be to convert them into recruitment leads.
The event is mainly for you to build trust through familiarity. They see you at an event, then later see you at an association meeting, and when you later call them to have coffee, they are more likely to listen to your recruitment pitch.
Try the Columbo Script
You may remember the TV detective series “Columbo,” where the main character would say, “Just one more thing” before revealing the secret that solves the mystery. At some point during an event, make the big reveal:
I am hosting this event because I am looking to grow my real estate agency / brokerage in [location] and want to [result you want to achieve]. I am looking for agents who are looking to [result you want to achieve] too.
Just one more thing … If you want to be more effective with [the event topic], then approach me after for [something of value, like a script, an example, or a worksheet]. This will help you achieve [the result you want to achieve] faster.
The Best Script for Recruiting Top-producing Agents
A recruiter’s greatest challenge is signing top-producing agents because their usual techniques often don’t resonate with successful agents who already have their own processes, systems and teams, a great personal brand, and tons of business.
Top producers are attracted to three things: opportunities, recognition, and compensation. As such, the secret to recruiting them is providing the special treatment they’ve earned. Be direct, clear, and concise. Either pick up the phone or walk into their office. An email, SMS or WhatsApp doesn’t work for this script.
This is [Your Name] with [Team, Brokerage or Agency]. You may not have heard of me, but I sure have heard of you.
The reason I am calling you today is to invite you to an opportunity that is only available to a select few top-producing agents like yourself. Are you available 2023?
[Pause. They will ask what the opportunity is.]
This is an exclusive opportunity, and due to privacy, I can’t share with you specifically what it is. But I can tell you that it’s limited, it’s real estate-related, and it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Can you make it on 2023?
[At this point, they will reluctantly agree to meet or politely reject your offer.]
I am sure you are wondering what the opportunity is, right? That’s completely up to you to decide. Offer the opportunity to meet someone influential in the industry or join your organization on the ground floor before it reaches the next level. Whatever you decide, this script will help get them in the door.
Recruiting Real Estate Agents: How to Handle Common Objections
No ultimate guide to recruiting housing agents would be complete without addressing the common objections that real estate agents present, and how to counter them. Remember, you’re playing the long game. It’s important not to burn relationships by being too pushy. If you overuse objection handlers, you can come across as insensitive.
The Most Common Objections You’ll Hear & How to Respond to Them
"I don’t want to move at this time. (Too busy.)"
Honestly, as a successful, busy agent, there is never a good time to make a move. The good news is we can help make the transition easier. The sooner you can make the move, the sooner we can implement your new plan.
"I am loyal to my Leader/Agency. (I’m happy where I am.)"
I respect the fact that you are loyal. In fact, that is exactly why I am interested in working with you. Let’s be honest, if you were getting the support you needed, would you even be talking with me right now?
"I don’t want to leave my friends."
If I could demonstrate that we are not only a good fit for you, but it would also be good for them, how would you feel about bringing them by to meet me?
"I don’t want to deal with the hassle of changing companies."
I understand completely. Many busy agents who have already joined us had the same concern. That is why we help you with the transition. Let’s go over a transition plan.
"I don’t know how I can support myself without leads. (My broker gives me leads.)"
What percentage of your leads are coming from your company? What is your split on those leads? If I can show you how to generate more income without having to be handed leads, would you look at joining my team?
"Your company costs more than I pay now. (I don’t want to pay ______.)"
To make more money, you must increase revenue, not simply cut your expenses. It doesn’t matter if your expenses are $0 if you’re not generating enough income. I will show you how to make enough money that the additional expense won’t matter.
"I think I could sell more homes if I were with a better-known company."
NAR/CEA statistics show that consumers choose an agent by the company only 5% of the time. So if we can show you how to increase your business by 20%, would you be OK with a lesser-known company?
Key Takeaways: Recruiting Real Estate Agents to Your Team or Brokerage
All teams, brokerages and agencies face attrition. Losing agents over time means you’ll need a plan for recruiting real estate agents to maintain market share. Ultimately, your success lies in your ability to clearly communicate the services your team or brokerage provides to the right type of agents.
Your script is the first step in narrowing the field of agents in your territory. A good script is direct and to the point. It attracts or repels, allowing you to quickly sort the agents who are a good fit from the agents who are not.
How AgentLEADS Can Help You Recruit Top Real Estate Agents
For more than 1k real estate professionals, AgentLEADS is the software of choice for real estate transaction management because it’s purpose-built software with one goal in mind: To help the top real estate companies close more deals and grow.
- AgentLEADS is simple. It doesn’t require a technical support team that needs to be available 24/7 to use it.
- AgentLEADS is versatile. It doesn’t force admins and agents to learn an entirely new process from the ground up.
- AgentLEADS is adaptable. It doesn’t compromise the closing of any of your active transactions.
With a proven blend of mobility, simplicity, and sophisticated technology, AgentLEADS is perfect for drawing top-producing agents to your company and keeping them there! Try it today, without a credit card or commitment, and see for yourself why the country’s top agencies trust AgentLEADS to help them recruit and retain the best real estate agents.
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Yasser Khan earned less than $1,000 in his first year as a full time property agent. With no money for the $2 train fare to his Broker's office, he was forced to walk 25 kilometers on foot. Worse, he got evicted at midnight with his wife and baby son by the roadside. Desperate, he bought a $16 Sales book and took massive action. That single investment in himself gave him an OBSCENE ROI of $160,000 in just 11 months. Today, Yasser is on a mission to make the real estate great career again and helps ambitious agents quadruple their commission income within 90 days.
Yasser Khan is a real estate coach and trainer at YasserKhan.SG and the author of Property Agent Secrets Book who teaches Realtors how to make more Money, have more Time and enjoy more Freedom without all the B.S.
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