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REAL Trending Special Edition: Recruiting

Oct 2, 2020 6:00:00 AM

Specializing in helping brokers and team leaders build systems to recruit, Ben is on the cutting edge of trends in this COVID-19 recovery market. Find out his keys to successful recruiting and retention in this informative podcast.

 

Want to learn from the brightest minds in real estate? Then you'll love our REAL Trending special edition podcasts. Editor-in-chief of content, Tracy Velt interviews brokerage leaders, top agents and teams and industry experts on leadership, recruiting, marketing, and more. Subscribe today at REALTrendsInc.podbean.com.

Tracey Velt:

This is your host Tracy Velt, editor-in-chief of content for REAL Trends. Today, we're talking all about recruiting with Ben Hess. Ben is a serial entrepreneur writer and coach who has helped hundreds of real estate companies, teams and managers excel at recruiting.

Tracey Velt:

In 2007, he co-founded ThirdPool Recruiting, a new agent recruiting marketing and software company that operates in more than 60 metro areas in the United States. He also co-founded CoRecruit, which is a coaching and training company specializing in experienced agent recruiting, so welcome Ben.

Ben Hess:

Hey Tracy, it's a pleasure to talk with you and connect with the REAL Trends listeners today.

Tracey Velt:

Yeah. Great. So we're going to get right into it. So obviously you have a lot of experience helping brokers and teams and managers recruit agents. Obviously today's market is just a little different with all the changes surrounding COVID-19. So how do you think that's changed recruiting in general?

Ben Hess:

Well, I think in one sense, it hasn't changed recruiting and I think that, certainly back in March and April, there was certainly a shock that happened when the COVID thing started and everyone was trying to figure out how this was going to play out.

There was a definitely a focus on let's take care of our own, make sure that our agents are okay, but surprisingly, it didn't take long at all before recruiting started to re-emerge as hang on a second there's opportunities here, there's some things, and these are brokers and hiring managers that were thinking this way.

Ben Hess:

There are some new agent things I think that have changed, that are pretty significant. There is a huge influx of new high quality agents that are entering the business. I think COVID initially caused a bunch of mass layoffs and furloughs and those kinds of things and some of those people of course took opportunities to start a real estate business, but more, I think where even the higher quality people are coming from is COVID has really caused them to rethink their life and saying am I doing the right thing? Am I doing the thing that I really find fulfillment around, and there's some great people that are coming in to the industry because of that.

Ben Hess:

But also as experienced agents, there is some changes I think that are happening. I think more than ever before, agents are starting to really ask the question, "What value am I getting from my broker?"

When all of these familiar sort of structures start to change, going into the office, having sales meetings, those kinds of things, it just causes people to ask questions, and when people start asking questions, then recruiting opportunities emerge and those brokers who were able to hear that, to pivot, to be able to adjust, to do a better job of answering those questions are probably going to have a recruiting advantage.

Ben Hess:

So in some senses, a lot has changed and in some senses, things haven't changed.

Tracey Velt:

Yeah. That's interesting. It's a great perspective too. So, things are obviously opening back up, but there are still people out there who aren't comfortable making big changes or meeting one-on-one.

What are some strategies that you're seeing out there that brokers and managers can use to recruit in this type of market?

Ben Hess:

Well, we've worked with some of the best hiring managers and recruiters in the country over the last decade and I think for these individuals, the move to virtual has really not been that big of change.

The idea of doing Zoom interviews, the ideas of using digital tools and being able to connect with people in those ways is really not something new so it's just added to what they were already doing.

Ben Hess:

So most people, most of the recruiters, I'm not saying the agents and everyone are in the same boat, but for most recruiters, this has not been a huge change. Certainly meeting face-to-face and those kinds of things, there's some changes around that, that are happening.

Ben Hess:

What is changing, I think are definitely retention strategies. I think that most of your listeners know that that retention is the key component to recruiting. That's a key feature that you need. If you have people trying to recruit on one side and all your agents are going out the other end, it's really difficult to make that happen.

So I do see teams and companies and individual offices really struggling to come up with really good ideas of how to connect with their agents, how to maintain their cultures, and so around there I do see some pretty innovative things happening, certainly for the next couple of months, while the weather's kind of nice, there's going to be continued to have some opportunities for outdoor events and things like that.

Ben Hess:

I think those strategies getting people together as much as you can, is super important, but also a refocus on service oriented events. I think things like helping charities and those kinds of things.

Retention is super important right now and I think that's the thing that's probably that's changed the most and that brokers in offices and teams are struggling with.

Tracey Velt:

Yeah. You can't talk about recruiting without talking about retention and-

Ben Hess:

Absolutely.

Tracey Velt:

Yeah. So on that note, both recruiting and retention, what do you see brokers doing right, and what do you find that they need to work on?

Ben Hess:

Well, I think there's some really super focused and innovative recruiters and hiring managers that are in our industry. I think some of the smartest people and the most motivated people tend to be focused on recruiting. So, that's kind of the cream of the crop, I think, so it's not surprising that they are doing a lot of things right and they're going to continue to innovate along these areas.

Ben Hess:

But with that said, I think recruiting really boils down to a simple formula and it's leads, having some sort of leads and then having some sort of system to convert those leads into actual recruiting.

So we talk about, or look at it from the experienced agent perspective. I think there's a lot of managers right now that are struggling to generate enough leads when it comes to experienced agent recruiting and when we see recruiters or hiring managers fail, it's typically because they don't have enough leads into their system.

Ben Hess:

So to be able to generate those leads through agent referrals, which is super important, but also through what we call influencers. These are ancillary people around your businesses, mortgage reps, title reps, insurance, appraisers, attorneys, those types of people, to be able to work with those, network, with those people, to get referrals from those people. To use co-op agents, contact co-op agents on these deals so that you can have a consistent way of doing that.

Ben Hess:

So what we see doing right, is executing the basics, is generating leads very consistently, and then having some sort of system of converting those leads into hires, and that starts with some sort of basic recruiting CRM so you can keep track of follow-up.

But the real differentiator, and I think what causes some recruiters and some hiring managers to do a better job and have more success than others is really the content and what happens during that follow-up process.

Ben Hess:

So the people that are successful are the ones that understand the prospect's unique goals and aspirations, are the ones that kind of identify the true pain and obstacles that people are experiencing and then they're able to personalize those solutions that they provide to the needs of those prospects.

Ben Hess:

It's always been that way, meaning that the ones that are most successful tend to have the best skills and the best capacities to do this type of work, and of course that produces results.

Tracey Velt:

Now let's take a quick break to hear some exciting news from REAL Trends and our sponsors.

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Tracey Velt:

Now back to our podcast. So let's talk about that a little bit. If you can give me more specifics, is there, and I don't necessarily need the name of the broker or manager, but is there someone in particular that you feel is doing something really innovative and what is that?

Ben Hess:

I think in recruiting the innovation happens in the execution and so I think the ones that are executing most successfully, so they have good accountability systems, they have good ways of generating leads, they have good techniques and good follow up that's happening in those areas.

There's not like one magic bullet that solves recruiting, or there's not some magic thing that people are doing out there that, "Oh, if we did it that way, it would all be better." It's in the minutiae of who's executing the best and who's following through on that leads plus a system sort of framework.

Tracey Velt:

Okay. So I want to look at the industry as a whole and tell me what trends you're seeing in the next, maybe six months that might have an impact on how brokers and managers recruit or retain agents.

Ben Hess:

Well, we talked a little about new agent trends, meaning that there's an influx of people coming in. I think that that's going to continue in the next six months.

From an experienced agent perspective I think the fourth quarter and the first quarter are traditionally the times where more movement happens. The summertime's over and people are kind of refocusing on what's happening.

Ben Hess:

So I think that's going to intensify this year, because I think a lot of people are looking back over the last six months and saying, "as my broker there for me? Is this working out like I think is going to? What is 2021 looking like?" And those are just really important questions that are on the minds of many, many brokers and hiring managers.

Ben Hess:

So the trend I see the underneath of that is that I think you're going to see a lot of agents that are really more than ever focused on a value based relationship with their broker.

They're going to be asking what am I getting for those fees that I pay the broker, are the benefits that are being offered are they personally valuable to me and in that scenario the cheapest option doesn't always win and I think that's important to recognize that people want value.

Ben Hess:

If you think about how they buy cars, for example, you know, the Toyota Camry is the best-selling car in the U.S. It's not the cheapest car in the U.S. It's the one that has all the features and the value that people see in it.

So it isn't that agents aren't willing to pay. They are. They are willing to pay if the services that are provided are able to reciprocate that value relationship.

Ben Hess:

And I think a lot of brokers are not good at this and that's where they're going to struggle because either they're trying to be everything to every agent, which of course creates a lot of scalability problems, or they tend to want to offer something generic and it's just get as many agents as possible to buy in.

And so the trend I see are the agents that are able to say, "Hey, I'm going to claim a niche. I'm going to be the best service offering for this type of agent and then excel in those areas," are the ones that are probably going to have the advantage.

Tracey Velt:

Yeah. And it is, it's funny the pandemic has caused everyone to kind of rethink what they're doing and how they're doing it and I think it will result in a better agent and a better broker all the way around. Finally, we're going to talk a little bit about opportunities. So where do you see opportunity for brokers in the coming year or so?

Ben Hess:

I think that the most opportunity that's going to be for brokers are there are going to be in the area of those that can execute and accomplish recruiting execution better than the competitors. What I mean by that is this idea that I'm going to need to offer value. I'm going to be able to need a strategy that I can be comfortable with.

This involves things like I said earlier, claiming a niche, I'm going to focus on a certain type of agent or helping a certain type of agent. I'm willing to very clearly identify a ideal recruiting prospect. I'm going to create a unique value proposition for that particular agent so that what I'm offering is very specific to them.

Ben Hess:

So I think having a very solid strategy around that is going to cause some recruiters and hiring managers just to be more successful than others, but then boiling that down to some sort of execution that's very, very predictable.

So having a lead generation system that allows you to generate leads very consistently, to have a recruiting routine that causes you to be dedicated to doing the work, all that boring and a lot of minutiae that's involved with doing recruiting on a day in and day out basis, and then having tactics around lead conversion and bringing people across the finish line at the end.

Ben Hess:

And all of that needs to be wrapped up in some sort of mindset that allows people to stick to this work and that's where I see a lot of people who are recruiting execution really fails is they don't have that farming mindset of, you know, this is a long-term process.

This is something that requires me to be on the job every day and do a high repetition of tasks that have low, positive feedback. I don't get hires very often, but I have to do a lot of work to get them.

Ben Hess:

So that mindset issue is super important as well, but it's really an overall package of recruiting execution. It's a lot what the agents are doing right now. Those that are executing well, they're just more successful than those that aren't, and I think as brokers and hiring managers and recruiters, that's where the focus needs to be.

Tracey Velt:

Yeah. And it's interesting, you mentioned really focusing in on the agent you want and I think that gets lost a lot. You see some high producer who might be interested and that person might not actually fit your culture or do well with your company, but you can't quite let them go. So, yeah.

Ben Hess:

Yeah. It's so hard, and it's such hard work with low feedback that we get a little bit lazy there. It's like, hey, I'm going to do what I always did and not try to change things and then that's where people are willing to pivot and change and grow and are the ones that are going to capture the opportunities.

Tracey Velt:

Yeah. Well, Ben, thank you so much for joining the REAL Trends podcast. It was very interesting. A lot of what you had to say about recruiting and some of the trends. So, thanks for enlightening us.

Ben Hess:

Well, certainly my pleasure and I look forward to connecting again soon.

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