Recruiting is not rocket science, but it is a science. It involves both Cognitive and Physical processes. There are basic laws of supply and demand, cause and effect, attraction and rejection that govern the recruiting process. Anyone can recruit, but the hard part is to hire people with the ability to list and sell houses. The science comes in the analysis of market trends as well as the human factors that equate to hiring agents and managers with the skills and temperament needed to keep pace with the ever-changing demands of the economy and the profession. The science of recruiting is defined as �the broker�s ability to maintain a consistent quality and quantity of agents who can competitively list, sell, and influence the use of ancillary services.�
In most markets, an honest evaluation of MLS statistics will reveal the industry�s growing crisis� agents are fleeing in record amounts. Offices are staffed with sales professionals who are not earning a living wage. Chairs are often filled with �licensees� who would earn more as a greeter at Wal-Mart. The widely-held theory that 20% of the agents are doing 80% of the business is ancient history. In some markets, 10% of the agents have been doing 90% of the business for several years. The truth is that the bulk of the agents holding a real estate license haven�t sold a house in a year� or maybe ever.
Now that the flood of agents who jumped on the real estate bandwagon to flip proprieties or to simply buy and sell for their own accounts are leaving the industry, we are hearing a giant sucking noise. Non-productive veteran agents, who were displaced when the easy pickings were distributed to a wider range of wannabees, are being sucked out of the business as board and MLS fees come due. Agents, old and new to the business, who lack the skill sets, systems, or courage required to compete in a down market are looking for new opportunities. Some are simply keeping their chairs warm as the competitive job market gets cold.
The gap in productivity will continue to expand until brokers get more serious about the skills and aptitude of the people they hire. Hiring for body count is counter productive in this economy. Monitoring individual agent productivity and recruited volume should be done weekly. Businesses must hire fewer people capable of doing greater production. Agents are leaving because they can't pay their bills or because they lack confidence in their current leadership and training.
Brokers can stay ahead of the hiring curve by providing qualified agents with well-planned development and management business systems that keep up with advancing technology. If you don�t know what those systems are, find the top producers in your market and see what they are using. Top producers and new to the business rising stars are traditionally the early adapters. They instinctively look for products and services that save them time and money. They make a science of creating efficient production systems.
Traditional brokerage operations will need to respond to competitive pressure by changing their recruiting, training, and agent service models. Agents who have been provided with the tools they need to run their business aren�t easily attracted to firms with nothing that compares. On the other hand, agents who aren�t satisfied with their personal production or what their commission dollars are buying, are targets for recruiters with something better to offer. It is highly probable that agents will be attracted to the newest bandwagon to roll into town or enticed by the next smoke and mirrors concept to launch a recruiting blitz. Some will join the migration to paid employee operations in order to gain security and decrease risk. Others will grasp at whatever they can find before getting sucked out of the industry for good.
The science of recruiting comes from understanding that the laws of attraction are both mental and physical. The difference between the cognitive form of recruiting and the physical manifestation of a recruiting program is the actual implementation of systems and accountability. Many firms invest thousands of dollars getting ready to recruit. They parade speakers, trainers, and management gurus through their organizations year after year, but there is never a change in their overall systems and accountability.
Cognitive Recruiting involves planning, strategy, meetings, training, database development, marketing concepts, and more. It is just what the name implies. It is thinking about recruiting. It is not actually getting out into the marketplace and physically getting the job done. It fails to adequately launch, conquer procrastination, overcome call reluctance, and establish accountability. Selling a management team on a cognitive recruiting program is an easy sell. Everyone wants to postpone the possible rejection that goes with face-to-face contact by signing on for one more training session, looking for one more magic feather.It�s easy to get management teams to convince themselves that they are working on their recruiting programs with their butts in a chair and their eyes glued to a PowerPoint! That's not science. The science of recruiting is more than experimenting with new ideas, it's recording activity and documenting results. Recruitment training is a key component, but there must be accountability for implementation when that training is complete.
Physical Recruiting consists of implementing the recruiting plan created from the cognitive process. Specifically, it holds management accountable for consistent recruiting activity and results: setting up systems, advertising, marketing, holding recruiting events, analyzing and targeting specific agents, documenting prospecting, making follow-up calls, writing personal notes, setting appointments, meeting face-to-face, and establishing accountability for results (measured in recruited volume).
Physical recruiting is a much tougher sell than the �get ready to get ready� cognitive process. Management at every level is more comfortable recruiting at the cognitive level versus recruiting at the physical level. This is where excuses meet procrastination, lack of commitment, and lack of accountability. If there is no immediate recruiting pressure in a marketplace, things can stay the same for decades. The science of recruiting allows management to change a marketplace before competitors can transition from a cognitive to a physical recruiting process. Once top agents start migrating to or from a company, it is very difficult to turn the tide. Effective physical recruiting programs anticipate and/or initiate agent migration, predict market share changes, and identify management strengths and weaknesses.
Albert Einstein�s Theory of Relativity changed the way scientists looked at the universe, challenging thinking at the highest level and forever influencing the theories on space-time.
Nothing in the universe stays the same. Einstein maintained that the speed of light remained constant, but recently, his famous theory was challenged by a team of Australian scientists who discovered that there is evidence that the speed of light might be slowing down. If the speed of light can change, it stands to reason that recruiting, retention, and agent productivity will change in size, shape, and velocity.
As a student of the science of recruiting, I propose we quantify the process and take a fresh look at the recruiting, training, retention, demographics, and political structure of the real estate industry as it applies to the cognitive and physical aspects of recruiting.
I�m not Einstein, so I challenge the serious intellects and practitioners of the real estate industry to debate the process and find flaws in their own and their competitors� systems. The information will propel their organizations light years ahead of the competition!