STOP Using the Word Recruit

Four Powerful Insights from the Talented Craig Wittportraits for EXIT realty conference May 2008

By Julie Escobar

When I first went to interview Craig Witt, Divisional President for the North Central Division of the US for EXIT Realty, I could tell right away that he was going to share the kind of strong, impassioned, and to the point insights that brokers today really need to hear.  I think you’ll feel the same!

Here’s what we learned…

Q:  Hi Craig – thanks so much for joining our Broker Success Series of articles!  Can you start by telling us a little about yourself? 

A: I currently serve as a Divisional President for the North Central Division of the United States for EXIT Realty. I have been with EXIT for over 10 years; first starting as a franchisee in Northern Michigan, then purchasing the Regional rights for Michigan, and ultimately becoming a Divisional President. My background is quite entrepreneurial as I have owned several companies prior to EXIT, mostly in the land development and construction industry. I am married, have one daughter that is 24 and a 3-1/2 year old grandson.

Q:  What trends are you seeing in our industry right now that you think brokers should really get in front of BEFORE the beginning of the new year and why? 

A: In my opinion, and fortunately for our industry, Real Estate is largely and will continue to be a people business. As such, so is brokerage. Real Estate agents should be treated as the assets of the corporation and it all begins with strong leadership. In order to thrive in brokerage today, attracting the best talent with the right attitude, welding them into your office through a retention mechanism, then training them to be successful is key. The idea of a “body shop” mentality and more is better in my opinion really affects our industry in that many good agents slip through the cracks, burnout, and experience failure. By creating an environment where agents want to work, get the attention and the systems they need, and are making a great living in an industry they are proud of is key to a successful brokerage. Quite simply, brokers should focus on getting, keeping and growing great agents.

Q:  Brokers come in all shapes and sizes — so we know there aren’t any one-size-fits-all solutions, but there are some tried-and-true strategies for building a great team, can you share your top few with us?

A: There are in fact several ways to build a strong team but it all starts with the ultimate goal of the agent interested in forming one. Why? Why do you want a team, can you lead other people, and ultimately, what is your goal? By answering the tough questions in the beginning and setting a plan in place, you will either choose to build or stay on your own with perhaps a licensed assistant. Leverage is the key to creating wealth and if agents desire to have flexibility in their schedule, growth opportunity, unlimited earning potential and ultimately an exit strategy to their careers, a properly structured team can provide much of that. I see a lot of really good agents that are strong in sales and weak in admin or marketing so by picking good talent and plugging them into these areas can help them focus on their strength. Pay structure is always an interesting component, and if not handled properly, agents will outgrow the team and either leave to go on their own or be hired away by a competitor. My advice is start with the end in mind; make a plan, do a SWOT analysis on yourself, pick the right talent with personality then skill (you can teach skill), then pay them well and review the team structure annually.

Q:  What would be your best advice to a brand new recruiter?  

A: This is easy for me.  First off, we should stop using the word recruit; it can have a negative connotation and I believe we have evolved away from that term. No one wants to be recruited, but we all want to be invited and welcomed. In my opinion, you cannot sell until you have been sold. What I mean is if you are going to have a recruiter represent you, it is imperative you get them passionate about your company vision and goals. At EXIT, we share our story and the impact our model can have to improve others’ lives and their own; we paint the picture for them where they can see they can be part of something bigger. First impressions mean everything and nobody wants to be sold…or recruited, they want to be exposed to something better for themselves and their family. Changing companies is extremely personal and emotional and often takes time to build the relationship. Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care. This person is a direct reflection of your company when they are talking to others. Role play with them so you are confident you know what they are saying on the phone. Also, ensure they understand what you are trying to build in your office with regards to personality and culture, and make sure they are paid well. You don’t want a recruiter recruiting out of desperation, just as we don’t want our agents selling out of desperation. Keep them focused on the mission of the office and building a great place to work with great talent, and the money will come. Good recruiters are hard to find and harder to keep, weld them in and don’t be cheap.

Q:  I love that line! Best advice to those who’ve ‘been around the block’ but aren’t quite at the level they want yet?  

A: Re-evaluate your career, where you work and your life. Are you where you want to be? Sometimes great agents are working somewhere that is preventing them from excelling. I believe agents can be a product of the environment where they work. For example, lack of leadership, training or sense of belonging can affect the performance of most agents. At EXIT, our model provides an “arm in arm” culture where we work collectively to get the most and the best out of each other, like a good family would. By providing the right leadership and culture, agents feel like they belong. A little peer pressure goes a long way as well within an office; not ego and strong competition but peer pressure.

I am a firm believer in hiring a coach, not a friend, a coach. Someone that is removed from you personally and emotionally. In order for a coach-student relationship to work their needs to be accountability and mutual respect. Most people don’t want a coach because they don’t want to be told what to do. This is a major mistake in that coaches don’t necessarily tell you what to do, they hold you accountable to what you told them you were going to do. Effective coaching is helping you determine where you want to go, then guiding you to accomplish these goals through consistent and sometimes painful accountability. Broker/owners of offices are not exempt here; in order to build and sustain a successful brokerage, owners should have a coach as well or at a minimum a focus group that can help identify concerns and trends, and keep them being a focused leader for the agents. Oh, and don’t be cheap, a good coach will increase your production and make you more effective.

Q:  Thanks so much again for your insights.  If readers want to connect with you or learn more about your organization – where is the best place to find you?  

A: To connect with me or for more information about EXIT Realty, you can email me at cwitt@exitrealty.com, connect at www.craigwitt.com, or visit www.exitrealty.com,

If you’re ready to move your team or organization in a new direction, put systems in place that position you to build the team you really want, or learn more strategies for working smarter, not harder, bookmark our blog, and join The Profitable Recruiter today.  We have a full spectrum of membership benefits with all the tools, strategies and solutions you need to position yourself to win this year and every year. Our goal is for you to become the “turn-to” broker in your area for every agent.  

Getting the 4-1-1 for Effective Recruiting

Insights and Solutions from Top Broker Nick Libert
TPR Nick Libert

As we head into the fourth quarter, we wanted to learn some insights on some of the SYSTEMS brokers put in place to help them stay ON TRACK for the long haul, even when days get busy and life gets hectic.  We got some wonderful ideas from top broker Nick Libert last week who was kind enough to share his thoughts, experience, and what’s working for his organization!

Here’s what we learned:

Q:  First, thank you for participating!  Can you tell our readers a little about yourself so they get to know you and your business!

A:  Sure!  I have been in the business 16 years, 13 of those as a broker/owner.  My business is downtown Chicago and all suburbs of Chicago.  I started in the business at Coldwell Banker, and after 3 years as a top producer left to start my own company.  In 2005, I was bought out by Keller Williams and took over as managing broker of one of their offices in downtown Chicago, growing it from 30 agents to over 140.  In 2008, I took the leap to Exit Realty.

At Exit, I first came on board as an agent to ensure I liked it before I bought a franchise.  After a year and a half, in October 2009, I purchased my franchise.  We started with 8 agents, and today have over 115.  Our next step is to begin servicing NW Indiana as well as our current domain in Northern Illinois.

We are the largest and most productive franchise of Exit in Illinois, and I still maintain a healthy sales volume personally, being the #1 agent for Exit Realty in Illinois for 2014.

Q:  Brokers and recruiters juggle many hats each week — can you tell us how you prioritize your activity and a tip for our readers on how to best manage their time (especially during a busy recruiting season)?  

A:  I time block my days from start to finish–I wake up at 6 am most weekday mornings and get my “big rocks” out of the way…my workout puts me in the right mood, and then it’s my social media, prospecting, and appointment setting for agent interviews.

I use a 4-1-1 Goal Setting and Accountability flowchart to ensure I am on track for my weekly, monthly, and yearly goals–I share this with my agents so they know what I am up to and so that I can lead by example.

I get our monthly training calendar done in advance, so I can plan my daily recruiting appointments around that.  I use google calendar to share with my staff so they can assist in my scheduling.  I have a recruiter who does much of my heavy lifting in terms of appointment setting, so that I can spend more time in the actual interviews themselves.  Finally, I ensure that I spend time weekly offering 1 on 1 coaching for my agents, so they feel connected even if it’s been a hectic week overall.

Q:  How do you help your agents get on track and stay there so they are more likely to hit their goals? 

I encourage my agents to use the 4-1-1, a time-blocked calendar, and a business plan outline and require it for their coaching sessions to be the most effective.  I also send out their production to them monthly breaking down income, listings and sales for the month and YTD.

Q:  How much training and coaching do you provide to your agents and how important do you feel that is to your recruiting efforts?

A:  Training and coaching are vital to creating a healthy ‘ecosystem’ within an office.  A beautiful office space with no culture or support is dead space–the agents must feel like the broker is there to help them build their business, not take from them.  We have a monthly training calendar packed with events, along with 1 on 1 opportunities to coach with me.  We also ask our top agents to train and share.

Q:  What do you think sets you apart in your market in terms of positioning yourself as the turn-to broker for those agents who are looking to make a move? 

A:  First off, experience.  Agents know I have been in the industry as a top producer for many years, and in diverse parts of the market.  If I don’t have the answer, I can find a resource quickly.  Secondly, accessibility.  I pride myself on having an open door and an open phone line–in particular, my smart phone is on me 24/7 and my agents know I am there for them.  Finally, the Exit formula allows for splits above 100% through the power of residual income–a true 3rd income stream beyond listings and sales. I believe that gives us an advantage.

Q:  If you had one piece of FAVORITE advice you could give a fellow recruiter – what would it be? 

A:  Your goal should not be to recruit, but build a vision so that from day one you are actually RETAINING. Encourage agents to help the company grow, and it becomes a family.  Empower their business!

Q:  If our readers would like to connect with you – do you have a url or social media address where they can find you? 

A:  Absolutely!  I’m active on all social media @NickLibert

Awesome stuff Nick – thanks SO much for sharing your vision, insights, and ideas with our readers! 

Do you want to learn more about staying FOCUSED and building a successful, growing office? Bookmark our blog, and join The Profitable Recruiter today.  We have a full spectrum of membership benefits with all the tools, strategies and solutions you need to position yourself to win this year and every year. Our goal is for you to become the “turn-to” broker in your area for every agent.  

Two Pieces of Advice

For Recruiting in Today’s MarketExpert advice

By Julie Escobar

I’ll bet some of you didn’t know that WAY back in the day, Judy LaDeur and Floyd Wickman worked together bring smart tools to agents and brokers alike.  When looking for some dynamite ideas to share with today’s recruiters, I came across two amazing pieces of LEADERSHIP advice from these two real estate rock stars!

Floyd Wickman: My best advice for management today? Start with accountability. If there’s ever been a time to raise standards, it’s now. If there’s ever been a time when an owner should say, “In order to work on our team, in our family, we have basic requirements,” it’s now. I’m reminded of a broker who once said, “My people wouldn’t live up to my standards, so I lowered them.” That’s the opposite of what needs to be done.

Second, insist that your people do the basics. Any broker who does a quick analysis of his or her agents by asking, “How many prospective buyers, sellers or lookers have you been face-to-face with in the past two weeks?” will likely be shocked at the answer. Agents say they’re hungry, but are they doing what they need to do to move ahead? The solution is to get face-to-face with their customers. So many are face-to-face with the mirror, each other and their families right now—but the real answer is to see the people and get out there with customers.

Next, work as a team. “Teamwork makes the dream work,” as they say. It creates synergy, and if there was ever a time when we needed synergy, it’s now. I’m on a quest to show brokers how to convert their office of individuals into ONE TEAM. We’re seeing some pretty powerful results because of it, so we know that it works.

Judy LaDeur: It all starts at the top. Your agents will follow your example, so find something positive to feed them each week. Show the productive ones that they are in the top 10% of agents nationwide, or whatever the correct number would be for your staff. Right now, 80% of agents are doing very little or no business, which means that the productive ones are among the top percentile of agents in the nation.  Be forward thinking — and forward acting — to ensure that your team knows that you are there – and that you care.  Give them the training and the tools to consistently rise to that top percentile.  Motivate them weekly to aspire to  greatness. Create a great press release for agents to share, or a recommendation letter they can send to their sphere of influence. Acknowledge the great producers and the consistent producers on your social media platforms.  Give them a recommendation on LinkedIn.  Invite them to lunch to say thank you.   Bottom line: If your agents are discouraged and worried, take a look in the mirror, do a check-up from the neck up, and see if there is something that you could be doing to change the attitude and motivation in your office.

Thanks to you both for the incredible food for thought!  Do you want to learn more about managing change and maintaining a successful, growing office? Bookmark our blog, and join The Profitable Recruiter today.  We have a full spectrum of membership benefits with all the tools, strategies and solutions you need to position yourself to win this year and every year. Our goal is for you to  become the “turn-to” broker in your area for every  agent.