Find Your Value Proposition
By Julie Escobar
What are YOU doing to recruit the team members you want? I sat down with long time friend and extraordinary recruiting expert Judy LaDeur. She’s been helping brokers grow their businesses, power up their production and recruit new team members for more years than we’re going to talk about here!
Here’s what she had to say!
Julie: Hey Judy! You’ve been busy these days (as always) helping real estate brokers build better, stronger, more productive teams. What are some of the most important things brokers should be doing to ensure a great end of the year and set themselves (and their companies) up for success?
Judy: Hey Julie – For most brokers, instead of jumping in and making calls, they should spend time getting themselves positioned to recruit the best agents, which is more than just making calls and booking interviews. We have spent most of this past year helping brokers understand what a “value proposition” is and what it is not! We have determined that 90% of brokers have no idea what their value proposition is – even though it is the most important element in their recruitment arsenal. The value proposition is NOT their tools. However their tools determine the value of their value proposition.
What we are teaching brokers to do is to identify their 12-20 most powerful tools and the results that each tool produces. You would be amazed how many brokers do not have a handle on this information. Knowing the results of the tools you have allows you to share them in a way that educates the agents in your market about the opportunities that you can provide to them as a member of your team. If you’re not sure where to start, poll your agents. Ask them the value of the tools that you provide as an organization. When the agents tell you what your systems mean to their real estate career–THAT is your value proposition to that agent. It is different for each agent, but these insights can give brokers what they need to figure out a minimum of 12 powerful tools with results that are unique in their market or things that they are doing that others are not doing. It can be a little tedious and it takes a while to complete but it’s well worth it.
Next, they need to create visuals for each one as well with the results on them. For any broker out there who wants a strong finish to this year and jump-start on next, this is a task that they should completed with a lot of thought. Then sharpen your phone and interview skills so you can hit the ground running.
Julie: Wow, Judy – that sounds comprehensive. When you say “tools”- can you give me an example?
Judy: Sure, when we bring brokers together for our retreats we ask them, “what are the 12 – 20 things you are doing–or doing better than you competition?” Surprisingly, many can’t answer that. Some will say “location,” or “a great broker like me!” That’s great – but really is not going to cut it in today’s world. Specifically, what is different about you? Think about it – if your answer is, “Great team” – what do you think your competition is saying? Theirs is a lousy team? You have to find the DIFFERENTIATORS. If you can’t quantify those things in terms of time, money, energy saved, production, etc.–then it goes off list. Here’s one, “We give agents leads.” Next we’ll say, “Ok – how many leads year to date have you given out per agent? What is the conversion rate? You have to have the ability to bring it down to the numbers. How about “Training program.” Ok – what kind of results did the agents get? Many simply say, “I don’t know.” And that’s fine – it gives them a starting point. Sometimes they have to go back and track results after the next training, talk to agents who’ve been through it and ask for their results so they can get those numbers. Sometimes a broker will tell us, “We have the best agents.” Then we’ll come back to them and ask them to quantify. For example, according to the MLS, our agents are doing an average of seven transactions more than our nearest competitor.
For a lot of brokers this exercise is a big eye opener. First it helps them identify more clearly where they are NOW. And secondly – it forces them to put themselves in the agents’ shoes — sometimes for the first time in years.
Julie: What’s new in terms of recruiting now that is significantly different than say, how brokers recruited even five years ago?
Judy: Social media is definitely the biggest change and is bringing great results and a whole new perspective to recruiting. It’s easier now than ever to build relationships and comfortably stay in touch with prospects as well as your own agents. It’s also much easier to ask for referrals by using social media. Tools like Facebook and LinkedIn are really helping to break down barriers. We’ve got some amazing webinars on demand in the system that share easy-to-implement social media strategies — that DON’T take up a lot of time. Members should watch those this week and put those into practice!
Of course in terms of the things brokers want to hear – value proposition may be number one – but social media is a close second! So many of them are still looking at social media as just a place to post when you’re having a coffee at Starbucks. For those brokers – it’s time to get on board. Social media is not going away – and for those that embrace it – it’s a terrific addition to their marketing. In fact – if you look at agents who are really using it – they are staying in touch with their clients and sphere far more effectively today than they ever have. Brokers can do the same via a company business page and their personal page.
Julie: Oh I can hear the groaning now – can’t you? Let people into their PERSONAL lives? I’m sure you’ve got some push back on that one-right?
Judy: Oh yeah! While I know it’s outside the comfort zone for a lot of brokers – truthfully, agents want to get to know you – the real you – before they are willing to consider your company as a place to hang their hat. In fact, Let’s face it – 70% of potential hires are emotional – that means they’ve got to like you! For the brokers that say “I don’t want to!” We say, “If you want to hire 40-80 agents next year – you’re going to have to step out of your comfort zone!” Let people in. Share a little about who you are – not just what you offer as a company. On your fan page you can share success stories about what your agents are accomplishing – spotlight their successes. You can talk about what’s happening in your market area.
On your page – share a great picture of a grandchild, post a little inspirational quote, share a great new restaurant you tried. We give great tips and tools in our weekly emails that our members share as a weekly agent tip as well. These forms of media allow you to reach people you never would have before – to break down barriers and ultimately recruit agents you never would have been able to hire in the past. What’s funny – is that once we teach brokers to embrace social media – it becomes their FAVORITE thing to do! Why? Because it means they don’t have to make the phone calls. We laugh, because we know they’re not going to make those calls anyway! They SHOULD be on phone daily – but many just don’t create that good habit. Listen, recruiting is a relationship business – so reaching out in EVERY way you can regularly is the way to build that relationship – and ultimately – build your business.
Julie: Great stuff Judy! What tools – both online or offline would you recommend that brokers put in their recruiting plan?
Judy: I would say a broker needs to add a system to stay positioned, lead generation tools, online marketing support and coaching. Most brokers today want to stick with technology – namely: email. But our ratios haven’t changed — we STILL say that only 25% of your recruiting marketing efforts should be email or online. It’s just too easy to get blocked or not read. Plus – many times the real nudge that helps bring a recruit in the door is when the spouse or significant other sees the recruiting materials coming in the mail! I know many brokers who will say it’s too expensive – but we fire back with one recruit will pay for a year of marketing. It’s time to look at the budgets and make some adjustments.
It’s also important to know what agents are looking for. A NAR survey four years ago said that agents didn’t care about leads – they were too busy. Now that’s the number one thing with affordable marketing tools coming in second. I say just start somewhere. Invest in our monthly service that offers training, tools and weekly emails that keep you positioned. Send the top 10-25 recruiting prospects “lumpy mail” (we’ve got a whole library – and boy does it get results!), and consider event marketing, which many of our members are doing with great success. They host a monthly meet and greet networking event that is fun, interactive, sometimes includes a training of some sort and ends with a dessert and Q and A. It’s a powerful way to connect with agents in a way that is engaging and different.
Julie: Best success stories that can inspire brokers to break out of old habits and grow their organizations?
Judy: Well I’ve got to say there are two things that are getting great results right now:
1. Contacting smaller independent brokers in your market and offering them a chance to roll their company into your company and go back to working as an agent.
2. Contacting agents who left you when times were good and tell them that you miss them and would love to talk to them again about rejoining your firm.
I mentioned before about knowing your results. I am coaching a broker whose market position increased this past year through recruiting experienced agents was greater than the entire production of any team in his marketplace for the entire year. When he discovered that, he was amazed. Arming himself with that knowledge has allowed him to hire many of the top producers in his market and he is acquiring another brokerage firm in the neighboring city.
Sharing results like that is a great way to get the attention of brokers and agents and get them on the phone which leads to an interview and potential hire. Another broker that I am coaching discovered that her agents had a $33 million dollar increase in their sales volume. By sharing this with other agents in the market, she has piqued the curiosity of area agents eager to know what she is doing to help her agents sell more real estate. Her office is now full and she is moving to a larger location to continue hiring the best agents she possibly can!
Julie: Thanks! Any last tips?
Judy: Recruiting needs to stay consistent all year long. The brokers who set apart a percentage of their day, every day, for recruiting activities are going to see the best long-term results. If you cannot or do not want to make recruiting part of your daily routine, then hire a full time recruiter to keep the message of what you bring to the table out there to the best agents in the market.
Also, just as professional athletes have training camps every year to get in shape for the new season, brokers should attend a training camp each year as well to keep their skills sharp. We have a great training camp to train and sharpen the skills of brokers and recruiters, but they can also attend their company conventions, network with other great recruiters or do anything on a regular basis to stay sharp in the game of recruiting. They tell their agents to go to training each year but many times forget to do it themselves!
Remember this – in any given marketplace there will be companies expanding and moving forward – and others that are other throwing in the towel. You just have to decide what side of that fence you want to be on!
Julie: Great strategies and ideas Judy – time for brokers to fire things up! Thanks!
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