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Why Can’t I Consistently Hire And Keep Better REALTORS®?
real estate postcards, realtor postcards, just listed postcards by: Linda Brakeall

Realtors tend to wash out. Up to 70% the first year.  20% per year after that. There are at least 3 premises that need to be explored in order to under-stand why this happens.

1.     Many Realtors come into real estate in personal crisis.

2.     Too many real estate companies simply don't know how to make new Realtors understand and DO the job.

3.        Realtors are not hired to build a business.

Let’s take them in order:

1.      Many Realtors come into real estate in personal crisis.

Who grows up dreaming of being a Realtor?  So how do they intentionally wind their way into real estate?

All too often, they get there by default.  I surveyed about 3000 Realtors over 13 years in real estate. I asked them about company training, previous professional experience, educational background and how and WHY they got into real estate.

A common profile emerged:

  • Training:  Less than 50% had more than one week of ANY KIND OF TRAINING! Many showed their first customers houses with no more knowledge than the buyer!
  • Previous experience:  From truck driving to university teaching. One famous “star’s” background was in baton twirling!
  • Education:  About 75% had more than 2 years of college but didn't graduate. (Lots had 3.5 years!
  • Why real estate: 

“I could make a lot of money without a de-degree!” 

“I just lost my job and didn't know what else I could do.”

“I just came through an ugly divorce and needed a new career.”

“I followed my spouse to this city and had to start all over again.”

“I wanted a job where I didn't have to sit in an office all day long.”

2.      Most real estate companies simply don't know how to make new Realtors understand and DO the job.

While shrinking profit margins require doing more business to make the same money, some companies who previously had amazing training departments have reduced staff or eliminated them entirely.  That's good news / bad news.

The good news is that the industry track record for training "for production" is less than stellar so perhaps that part is not a major loss.

The bad news is new Realtors are floundering even more than before!  And even those companies that have “good” training, seldom build accountability into the program.  If you give people the option to fail, they usually pick up the option!

And my own personal favorite is number 3.

3.          Realtors are not hired to build a business.

They are hired to be salespeople and the product they have to sell is real estate.  Because they are independent contractors, no one tells them how to build a business.

Independent contractors are basically entrepreneurs working within a company, not for a company.  A company is not permitted to dictate their behavior so long as they do what they agreed to do.  Realtors are supposed to know what to do and how to do it. They don’t.

IC’s CAN be told what to do. You can monitor their activity, their behavior can be modified and if they don't live up to expectations, they can be released to be successful some-where else.

This is my own personal soap-box. Good salespeople are an equation.  It’s a combination of:

  • The individual
  • The circumstances
  • The timing
  • The manager
  • The company

I have seen poor salespeople who could sell well for one certain manager and for no one else.  I’ve seen salespeople who sold huge volume at for a year or two under personal financial pressure and never again sold at that level. Some sold well for one company and sold nothing for another.

Why? I’ve come to believe that it is an equation and if the equation is not working for that person, at that time, with that company and with that manager, something has to change!

Maybe a transfer to another office within your company or maybe you have to set them free to try again somewhere else.  If it is not working with you, now, and hasn’t for more than 3 months, it’s not likely to change.  Do everyone a favor and set them free!

The real estate industry has to find a way to teach Real-Realtors to become savvy business people.  HOW?

It starts with the hiring process.

Why are new Realtors permitted to come on board when they are not financially solid?

Why are they not told that it may well be 6 months be-fore they have a dependable income stream?

Why is no one testing them for:

  • Financial acumen
  • People skills
  • Problem solving

BEFORE they are hired?

Then they come on Board and the Failure Trolley starts rolling!

How come every new Realtor is not required to read the E-Myth Revisited by Gerber, before they can start work? (The best perspective on running a business I’ve ever read!)

Why is no one monitoring how they set up their business and maintain their territory?

How will they collect a database and keep in touch with that database?

How will they find and develop a living, breathing business?

  • Where is the system?
  • Where is the follow-up?
  • Where is the routine?
  • Where is the accountability?

Even the best classroom training in the world does not prepare Realtors for reality:

  • The longs days - and nights
  • The indecisive buyers
  • The uncooperative sellers
  • The unreachable loan officers
  • The pager going off incessantly and at - shall we say – inconvenient times?
  • The personal stress
  • The family stress

The real estate system, (or lack thereof), encourages - even condones turnover.  And what does that do to the company's reputation?  Nothing good! So the Rookies eventually flunk out and management says: NO LOSS.  But it is a loss!

First, the time of the Rookie  (who, contrary to common wisdom, IS a human being) has been wasted.  When a Rookie is hired and it becomes apparent that it isn't going to work, that Rookie has to be released.  Immediately. They must be released to be a success somewhere else.  Any-thing else is dishonest!

Secondly, you risk losing your "stars".  There is nothing more horrendous and embarrassing to a high producing Realtor than sharing an office with an incompetent; whether it is a Realtor, office clerical help, or a manager!

And when a manager permits incompetence to exist in his or her office, that is not sending a positive message about the manger to the rest of the staff and sales force.  If I were a "star", I would not stay in that atmosphere.

Would you?

Selling real estates is a business!

Let me repeat that slowly:

Selling real estates is a b u s i n e s s! Not a sales job, not a clerical job, not an "Oh, I really like helping people" job.  It’s not about “showing houses.”

Selling real estates is a business! Radical concept!  If selling real estate is indeed a business, how can the industry permit these practices to continue?

Many managers are afraid that if their salespeople learn too much about running a business, they will leave a traditional company and go to a rent-a-desk office.

They seldom leave because they are good business people.  They usually leave because they cannot easily run an efficient and lucrative business within the confines of a traditional company.

All too often the really good ones leave BECAUSE they know how to run a business better than the office manager does.

What needs to be done?  Let’s return to those basic premises one by one.

1. Many Realtors come into real estate in personal crisis. 

  • Hire with clarity, not with charity!
  • Create a firm picture of who you want and what you ex-pact.
  • Settle for nothing less!

2. Most real estate companies simply don't know how to make new Realtors understand and DO the job.

You think you can’t afford to have a professional trainer.

You can’t afford NOT to.  As long as your managers are still maintaining personal production as salespeople, you can’t expect them to take on a third full time job. 

That is neither realistic nor cost efficient!  It will cost more annually in lost production from the manager, from de-pressed sales teams  (because it is a gut-level grief experience for the whole office every time someone fails) than you will ever put out in cash for someone who really knows how to kick-start a Rookie Realtor and create accountability for results.

And the trainer has to have enough authority and muscle to demand accountability.

3. Realtors are not hired to build a business.

New Realtors think they work for a company when the truth is that they must build their own business within a company and be responsible for the planning, the marketing, the follow-up-low-up, and the results.

We have to change the mind-set, of both those who do the hiring and those we bring into our organizations. We have to change the premises of all involved if we want to change the results.         

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