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Hiring a recruiter as a brand ambassador

Today, real estate brokers are hiring recruiter or business development positions. Here are some tips to guide you in your decision.

Back in the day, almost every medium- to large-sized broker had recruiters on staff. When the market took a hit in the 90s and then again in the 2000s, a lot of those positions fell by the way side.

Enter Compass with many polished, tech-savvy recruiters who know how to articulate their programs, technology and services with precision, and they have money to back them up. Most of their recruiters don’t even come from a real estate background. They come from tech or other industries, but they have all the right skills and tools. You may think you don’t have the budget for a recruiter or a vice president of business development, but I think you can’t afford not to do it. And when I say budget, I don’t mean an open checkbook to lure agents over.

Many would say that recruiting is the branch managers job, but they often don’t have the time or they are unwilling or unable to use systems to automate and track their recruiting activities. They also aren’t always comfortable articulating the value of the available technology and services. They need to focus on the supporting the existing agents.

Hiring a brand ambassador

When considering adding a recruiter, why not make it a combo position? This works particularly well in mid-sized to smaller firms. That person becomes a brand ambassador who can speak to whatever audience they are targeting. Why can’t the same person recruit agents, seek out M&A and walkover opportunities, as well as find corporate relocation opportunities?

It makes sense that, by hiring a recruiter, that person could also handle business development for the relocation department by networking with economic development councils, local corporations and organizations to deliver valuable referrals to the company. Often times the relocation director is buried with the day-to-day operations and managing the national relocation company accounts, so having someone to help with local corporate calling gives a full time focus that may otherwise be neglected.

Skill sets

A real estate recruiter doesn’t need to have real estate experience, but they do need a particular skill set. They need to be comfortable creating videos and communicating via whatever medium works for the target audience. They should have a great personality, like being with people, understand the available products and company culture and have a systematized follow-up process. Hiring a recruiter is about ensuring the cultural fit is there.

Understanding the unique brand promise and selling proposition of the firm they represent is key. They should be able to easily identify if the target is a cultural fit. They have their ear to the ground about activity in the market whether it is an agent thinking of making a move or a company thinking of making a relocation. They can be trained to specifically sell to each audience.

The key is to hire a recruiter who can patiently zero in on agents’ pain points. What would it take to get them to make a change? Money? A concierge-type experience when they need tech or marketing help? more acknowledgments? Everyone has a price or reason. It’s getting them to realize what it is. It goes the same for local companies and organizations who need help with relocation or entities wanting to offer real estate affinity services to their local employees or members. How can your company solve their problem? Do the corporations need help recruiting executive staff?

Structuring the position

Consider that a brand ambassador could also onboard agents and hand them off to the branch manager once they are completely trained on all company programs and technology. This creates a consistency that carries throughout your company. By doing that, there are no different versions of how they use your available tools. By having recruiters who also understand the type of agents who gravitate to relocation, they can use that knowledge to expand the corporate client base and the relocation agent base.  

The broker-owner and leadership should still be engaged in recruiting when the time is right. It shows the recruit that it is a top-down effort. Having recruiters on a salary makes sense since it may take a significant amount of time for them to have their first success story. Creating a revenue share based on the production of the recruited agent or the volume a company generates makes sense too, but they have to pay their bills while they are getting to that point. A decent salary allows them to focus on the job at hand as the company ambassador.

If you think you can’t afford a salaried recruiter, think about the amount of money you spend on marketing and technology and then take a look at your agent adoption rates. If you could improve your adoption rates of products, programs and ancillary services, how much more revenue could your company generate? If you hire new agents and train them from the ground up using your company technology, how much more productive would they be? if your recruiter helps land one big corporate relocation, they have paid for themselves for a year.

While the recruiting frenzy may have cooled down slightly for the moment, every broker should consider having someone who is solely focused being your brand ambassador and bringing in agents, companies and referrals that add to the bottom line. That way if someone plucks one of your top producers, you have more talent and referrals coming in at all times to fill the void.

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