STOP Using the Word Recruit

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

Recently Judy spent some time with a great team of brokers from EXIT Realty. So we thought this the perfect time to do re-share a great interview we had with Craig Witt, President of the U.S. Division of EXIT Realty. He is strong, impassioned, and has some incredible insights that brokers today really need to hear.

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 13 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.

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 to 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, there 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 keeps 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, connect at, or visit,

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.  

Join today and take advantage of our special offer of 35% off with the promo code PLAN35 any pro membership.  That’s 35% off everything you need to be in the right place at the right time when the agents you want are ready to make a move – including SEVEN HOURS of recruiting audio training!  What are you waiting for? When you join – you and up to 10 managers can access your account! Try it for a month and see what it can do for you.

How Not to Get Raided by Your Competition

And Stay on the Winning Side of the Agent Tug of WarBusinessman in tug of war concept

By Real Estate Recruiting Coach Judy LaDeur

I have had several requests to write an article about how to protect yourself against a raid from your competitors. Interestingly enough, my research has shown that if you consistently show your agents that they are valued and appreciated on a regular basis, and they know that they, and their needs, are your priority — you probably don’t have much to worry about. Let’s examine why an office becomes vulnerable.

Change is the #1 reason for vulnerability. When you implement change, there are a certain number of agents who will be unhappy with the change, and therefore you could lose a few. In addition, if you lose a good agent, you can easily lose another one in the next 10 days. If you lose 2-3 agents in a few weeks, you could be in trouble.  Why? The grass always looks greener on the other side… (But most agents forget that it is just as tough to mow!) You are most vulnerable if you lose an emotional agent. They usually leave if they are hurt or angry. Unfortunately, they will want their friends to follow them. You must always take proactive steps when an emotional agent leaves. You should have a one-on-one meeting with the agent who is leaving. If you can not correct the problem, or convince them to stay, let them know that they are always welcome if they want to return. Keep it businesslike and professional. Do not get angry with them. You would not believe some of the stories that I hear, such as the managers who threw the agents stuff into the parking lot while demanding that they leave in front of their peers.

Next, have one-on-one meetings with their close friends, and get their feedback as to why the agent left. Ask how you can create a more favorable environment for the agents who are there. If the agent who left insists on calling your other agents, confront the agent who left. Let them know that you were supportive of their decision to leave but you are hurt that they would intentionally try to harm or disrupt your office. Emotional agents usually back off if confronted.

Also, you need to remember that about 70% of all agents are emotional in nature, so they make emotional decisions. For Example: If you do something that they feel hurts them emotionally or betrays their trust, you can lose them. You can also lose them by not giving them the recognition they feel they deserve. The bottom line is this: If they are hurt, they might leave. The good news is that they usually do not leave for money.  They will say it is for more money, but that is rarely the case. Most agents do not worry about the money. They know that if they are happy, the money will be there. Here are a few tips:

With regard to change: It would be impossible to implement a change and have everyone happy with that change. When implementing change, try to involve your agents whenever possible.

Location: If you are changing locations, ask a few of your agents to help you locate a new location, then go out with them to scout out the options.  Let your agents sell the group on the new location.  You could also set up a committee to determine the new colors for the office and ideas for office design.

Compensation: If you are changing compensation, or implementing a new fee, try to time that change with the implementation of a new service. Such as: We are implementing a transaction fee of (dollar amount) but you will no longer be charged for (service). You can also “grandfather” the existing agents when you are changing the compensation.  Or, you can grandfather all agents whose production is above a certain amount. You could say, “If you are generating GCC of $90,000.00, you will be grandfathered with regard to the new changes.” You can also grandfather agents who have been with the company a long time.  For example, you can say, “If you have been with our firm for 10 years, or your production is (dollar amount), you will not be subject to the new changes.” Keep in mind that emotional agents will leave, not because of the money, but because they are hurt that after so many years, or at their level of production, that you would take money out of their pocket.

Management:  A management change is also risky. Whenever you change managers, you should consider the personality of the manager that is being replaced. If the manager that is being replaced was very friendly, emotional and well liked by the agents, you could be vulnerable if you put a logical manager in that office. Better to use an interim manager, or yourself, while they go through their mourning period over the loss of a manager they liked.  If you can keep the personality the same, that’s the best option.

My research has shown that 70% of agents are emotional in nature. What that means is that they need to feel appreciated, they need to like you, and also believe that you like them.  The competition is always “courting” the good agents. They enjoy the attention, but they like you best. If you suddenly get angry at them for talking to the competitor, you could lose them. When I knew that my agents were going to lunch with the competition, I would always say, “If you are not getting at least one call, letter or invitation each week from my competitors, then you need to look at your production. The best agents are always being courted!” I would then ask them where they were going to lunch. If it was not an expensive place, I would say, “Are you kidding? You are one of my best agents! Call them back and tell them to meet you at (fine restaurant name).  Order something expensive! You’re worth it.”  I knew that if I worried about them going to lunch, or became defensive or angry, I was far more likely to lose them.

Bottom Line: I have discovered over the years that what it takes to get them is what it takes to keep them. They just want to be appreciated and know that you care about them, and their success.

Start today by sending three notes a week to your agents. Think of something nice to say about them and let them know who much you appreciate them.  If you always practice retention, the competition will have a tough time raiding your office.

Continue to learn how to be the master recruiting skills and be the broker to join in your market.  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.  

Join today and take advantage of our special offer of 35% off with the promo code PLAN35 any pro membership.  That’s 35% off everything you need to be in the right place at the right time when the agents you want are ready to make a move – including SEVEN HOURS of recruiting audio training!  What are you waiting for? When you join – you and up to 10 managers can access your account! Try it for a month and see what it can do for you.

Implementing the Right Formula for an Effective Coaching Group

Enhance Training, Recruiting and Improve Retention and Profitability

By Real Estate Coach and Speaker Judy LaDeur

One of the best ways to ensure a newer agent’s success is through weekly coaching.  Not only does it help them reach their goals faster and with less stress, but top brokers know that it is part of a very strategic plan designed to complement recruiting efforts, increase retention and profitability while enhancing training programs.

Why is coaching such a hot subject today?  Because it works!  All across the globe, business professionals are hiring coaches to keep them on track and forming networking groups to share and exchange ideas.  We have combined these two ideas to make your job easier.

Let’s start with the issues facing managers and Brokers today:

  • It seems tougher to keep the ones you have.
  • Recruiting experienced agents seems to be a greater challenge today.
  • With increase splits and the cost of maintaining systems and an office that is “high-tech” and “leading edge”, profits are dwindling.
  • It takes six months of time and training to get a new agent to a productive state. And yet 50-70% of the new ones you hire will not make it and leave the business, or not make it and stay in your office.

My 35-year background in training, coaching and recruiting has taught me that any system that increases an agent’s production can be used to recruit other agents.  Plus, a system that increases an agent’s production helps retention and of course increased production results in increased profits.

As described in my plan to get new agents productive in under 30 days, the key components to increase production are:

  • High Accountability
  • High Expectations
  • Direction
  • A Proven Plan
  • Written Goals

I believe every agent who enters this business wants to be successful.  I also believe most of them just do not know how to operate as independent contractors.  That’s where coaching comes in!

Coaching groups meet on a regular basis.  They set goals and they have assignments.  There is an expectation of what they should do, and peer pressure if they don’t.

What do the agents like about coaching groups?  They get to share their ideas.  They learn from others who have already mastered techniques and dialog.  It gives them a sense of self-worth and it keeps them on track.

Why do Brokers and managers like coaching groups? Coaching groups save time.  You can effectively coach an entire group of agents for an investment of one hour per week.  Coaching groups save careers.  Some agents just need more time and more direction.  When they don’t get it, they don’t make it. Thousands of agents in every major marketplace are searching for someone who will take an interest in their success and their career.  If your group is successful, and you market those results to “those agents” who are searching for support and direction, they will seek you out.

Top Producers also need a forum where they too can exchange ideas and learn from others.  This is typically referred to as a Master Mind Group or Networking Exchange. There is very little preparation time needed on the broker’s part for this group.

The Formula

  1. Participation in the group should be voluntary, but if they sign up, they should commit to be there for each session.
  2. Choose a convenient time that will not conflict with their schedule.
  3. You may set up more than one group. Groups should be set up with agents of similar production and similar goals.
    • You could set up a group of agents in the business less than 1 year or less than $1,000,000.00 in production.  Their goal might be 2 units of production per month.
    • You could also have a group that currently averages 2 units of production per month, with a goal of 4 units per month.  The agents in the first group, the beginners, could graduate to the next level by maintaining their production of 2 units a month for a specific period of time, such as 4 months.
    • If you have a large group of top producers you could set up a coaching group for them as well. If you don’t have a lot of top producers yet, you will.
  4. Start with one group, and then 30-60 days later, start the second group.
  5. At the first meeting, discuss goals and give them the format as well as your expectations. Let them know that you will be asking them for their numbers every week, and they should come prepared.
  6. You act as a monitor, not a teacher. As a monitor, you will ask each agent to share an idea and will keep the discussion moving.  Only after the agents have shared their ideas, should you offer ideas of your own.  Let them be the stars.
  7. Select a topic and announce it in advance so they are prepared. It should be a very small, very specific topic that can be discussed in detail.  You can choose the first 4-6 topics and then let them begin to tell you what they need. Here are some examples:
    • How to overcome the objection of reducing your commission.
    • How to stage a home for sale.
    • What do you say when you call FSBO?
    • What do you do to set yourself apart from your competition?
  8. Everybody participates. Go around the group and ask each person what they do to (whatever the topic is).  Let others ask them questions, and then move onto the next agent.  Make sure they all take notes; however, you may want to take notes yourself and then have them typed and distributed to those in the group.  You can start your own notebook of proven training techniques and ideas to share with new agents in the future or perhaps it will be the agenda for one of your future sales meetings.
  9. Go around the group and ask each participant what their activity was and what their results were. If the goal is two units per month, they need one unit the first two weeks to be on track.
  10. Create fun incentives. Anyone “On Track” after the first quarter gets to participate in the On-Track Luncheon, your treat.  Or perhaps they get points for each month they are on track, points for activity, points for the idea that helped someone secure a transaction the next week, etc.  Then at the end of the year, the number of points they have determines the prize they win.  You could also lose points if you miss a meeting.  Give them four allowed misses per year to allow for vacations, holidays or sick days.

There are lots of variations on how to effectively coach your agents. Have fun with it, experiment and see what works best for you and your team.

Is recruiting a challenge for you?  We can help.  Join The Profitable Recruiter and gain access to 7+ hours of audio training via downloadable links, powerful recruiting letters and notes, emails, social media tips, over 30 webinars for recruiting and retention, and opportunities to network with the best of the best. Take advantage of our special offer and save 35% on YOUR New Pro Membership with Promo Code: PLAN35.

Not sure if this is the right thing for your company?  Watch this video on demand to learn why brokers across the country are making it their turn to way to stay positioned for recruiting success in today’s market — and putting the fun back into their recruiting.  (Which is way better than dread – right?) We’re taking the guesswork out of recruiting for brokers — and they are loving it.  We can do the same for you! Questions?  Email us today.  


The Power of an Accountability Partner

A Common Denominator for Staying ON-TRACK

By Real Estate Recruiting Coach Judy LaDeur

Here’s a big question for you:  Who is holding you accountable to your recruiting program? Do you have a coach, a support person within your organization or someone in your real estate network that you are answering to in terms of staying on track? As I look at many of the most successful recruiters and brokers around the world, the one thing that many of them have in common is “someone who holds them accountable.”

Top agents, top athletes and top brokers will all tell you the value of having that outside person or industry expert hold you accountable weekly.  Coaches hold us accountable to do what it is that we already know we should do, but don’t.  We are all guilty of putting off those tasks which are not quite as much fun. A coach is the person who will keep asking you, week after week, “Did you get (task) completed yet?”  They nudge us in the direction that we have said that we want to go. They listen, and give feedback, then remind you of the goal.  Coaching is not designed to be training.  Training teaches you what to do. Coaching gives you the support needed to stay on track and get it done.  Accountability is not a bad thing, but it can certainly cause you to feel the pressure as that accountability call approaches. Most brokers say that it is the most important piece of their success. Without it, it’s easy to come up with a bunch of creative reasons of why you didn’t get make the calls.  Didn’t set the appointments. Didn’t create the new hit list.  Didn’t do whatever you SAID you were going to do for the week.

Your coach or accountability partner is someone who you respect the opinion of, who you know will tell you truth when you’re on or off track. They are the person you can turn to who can review both successes and failures of each of your interviews. Coaches, especially can provide you with various ways to overcome objections and stalls. Knowing someone is going to hold you accountable for what you said you are going to do, is a powerful motivator. If what you want is to lead in your market, build the best possible team, and keep the great agents that you already have and you are serious about growing your company then I challenge you to do three things starting sooner rather than later.

  1. Commit to training.  To learning the skills you need to be at the top of your game. To investing the time, money and effort into learning the objection handling tools, the dialogues, scripts, interview and phone skills, and mindset to push past any fear or limitations you might currently feel to truly finish this year strong and set yourself up for an incredible new year.
  2. Commit to consistency.  That one and done marketing approach never works. You would say the same to your agents when they try it, so why would you attempt a shotgun approach to your recruiting?  Consistent, effective, powerful messaging and marketing every month is the key to building those relationships that will lead agents to your door.  If you’re not reaching out to your hit lists week after week with topical, timely content that doesn’t push but does present you as a trusted leader and resource you’re leaving opportunities to recruit and money on the table.
  3. Commit to an accountability partner.  Whether you are ready to hire a coach or know of an industry professional that you can partner with to keep each other on track, don’t go another week without putting this vital business component in place.  It’s a game-changer.

Fair warning, it’s not comfortable to be accountable for your actions if you’re not willing to commit. It’s not comfortable to have to say to a coach or partner, “I didn’t do what I said I was going to do.”  It’s not supposed to be. Here’s the flip side of that coin – when you DO what you commit to doing, boy does that feel great. You can’t WAIT for that call.  And once the habit takes hold and you are walking the walk not just talking the talk each month not only will you appreciate those calls that keep you on track, but your office will be thriving and you’ll be sharing this strategy with your agents.  Pretty soon you’ll have integrity partnerships all over your organization!  And when THAT happens – your business and theirs will grow exponentially.  Everyone wins.  What are you waiting for? Start today!

If you’re not sure how to be consistent and what messages and marketing you should be using to connect with your current agents and your prospects each month, then take a good long look at The Profitable Recruiter.  It has been a differentiator for brokers.  Why? Because it’s done for them, takes the guess work out of recruiting and they can put their marketing on auto-pilot and focus on follow up. Systems are powerful because they keep us from getting in our own way!  With your membership you get powerful, content-rich weekly emails to send to your agents and prospects.  It’s the perfect way to stay positioned and top of mind as the broker who cares and is committed to helping them create better lives and careers.  You also get seasonal letters and “lumpy letters” each month which are perfect for sending to your top-tier recruiting prospects. They get opened, get agent attention, and create quite the buzz in your market as agents tell their colleagues, “Did you see what I got from (your name)?”  You also get social media tips each month and weekly broker recruiting and retention plans. The icing on the cake is our training – each month we feature a top broker or industry expert from around the world to discuss what they are doing that is making an impact and allowing them to build their best team.  We also host an agent webinar that features a top agent – you should invite every member of your team to attend as well as your prospective agents.   And lastly, you’ll get seven hours of audio training that cover everything from scripting and dialogues to objection handling and interview skills.  All of that for just $197 per month. In fact, register today and take 35% off your order with promo code PLAN35 any 6-month or annual plan.  Our members are recruiting both new and experienced agents as well as entire teams using this system.  If you recruiting just ONE, you’d more than pay for the entire system for years!  Give it try.