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  Prudential Teleclass Notes
Alex Vidal
Prudential Florida WCI Realty

How to PICK the Right People

Carol Johnson
Alex Vidal
Carol Johnson I always say that your reputation gets there before you do and that was certainly the case when I met Alex.  His name came to my attention when he was 21 years old.  He was the recruiter for the Keyes Company in Miami, Florida.  With no training or real estate experience, he was recruiting 15 or 20 newly licensed sales professionals per month.  Then the Prudential Systems in California recruited Alex.  He ended up back in Florida with Prudential Florida WCI.  Alex was selected as the 2001 "Recruiter of the Year" for the Recruiting Network.  Will you give your fellow PREA managers a brief overview of how you got started recruiting?
Alex Vidal I was hired on as the assistant to the President of the Keyes Company.  During the ten months that I was his assistant, I started recruiting for him on a part-time basis -- not doing interviews but sending mailings and making phone calls.  That went well for me so I asked him to let me go to a recruiting conference.  I was promoted to their recruiting director.  I did that for about one year and realized that I wanted to move up to bigger and better things.  That is when I had the opportunity to work with Rich Cosner in Southern California.  After a year in California I had a family matter that brought me back to Florida.  I was fortunate that Rich had introduced me to Roger Herman who is the President of Prudential Florida WCI.  Now I head up the recruiting department for my Prudential franchise hear in Florida.
Carol Johnson Alex please tell us how Prudential Florida WCI has grown so fast and a little bit about your market.
Alex Vidal Our company started in July 1999.  We had three offices and 70 sales professionals.  Three years later, we have 25 offices and 1,200 sales professionals.  Our first full year in the business we made the Top 100 companies in the nation, which is published by the National Association of Realtors (NAR).  Our growth was 1,666.67% in terms of transactions and in terms of sales volume; we had a growth of 1,650.75%.  Last year, we actually jumped from Number 91 of the list of top 100 companies to 63.  Last year we were the sixth fastest growing real estate company in the nation.  A lot of it has to do with the Prudential brand.  There was a Prudential company before us and when they decided to switch names, it was the best thing that could have happened to our company because when we took on the Prudential name, our business skyrocketed.
Carol Johnson

The former Prudential Company that you are talking about was formerly then Arvida and then acquired by Coldwell Banker NRT.

Alex, tell us how the recruiting process is structured for your company?

Alex Vidal Our managers are all non-competing managers.  They only have two responsibilities; the production of their sales professionals, and to grow their office.  The reason I was brought in was to recruit additional people on top of what they were already doing.  I interview as much as possible so the managers can focus on the production of their sales professionals.  But of course all of our managers recruit in addition to what I do.  It is really a team atmosphere.  I don�t hire someone on my own, I go through the interview process but it is ultimately the manager�s decision to hire him or her.  I may like someone but the manager may not or vice versa.  We are so aggressive about recruiting that I would say 95 percent of the things we talk about have to do with recruiting.  It starts at the top all the way down to our secretaries.   Everybody in our office recruits. 
Carol Johnson What kind of systems do you have in place to help the recruiting process?
Alex Vidal The best way to get appointments is to make phone calls.  Each person has their own system for recruiting, but we share ideas and methods that may become integrated into their systems. 
Carol Johnson What is the best way to get an appointment?
Alex Vidal My recruiting system can be broken down into three different steps:  prospect, interview and close.  If I am prospecting a brand new licensee, it will be a simple call like, "Hey Carol, this is Alex Vidal with Prudential Florida WCI Realty, how are your doing today?"  "Carol I know that you are in the process of getting your real estate license and I wonder how it is going for you?"  I ask if they are planning on working full or part-time right away because we are not interested in part time sales professionals.  If it is an experienced sales professional and they were referred by one of our managers I will call and say, "Hey Carol, this is Alex Vidal with Prudential Florida WCI Realty.  Our branch manger referred me to you.  We were wondering if you would be open to the opportunity of learning more about our company and how we can support you as a sales professional?"
Carol Johnson How do you decide whom you will call with that message?
Alex Vidal I call everybody.  My lists come from several sources -- either a list from the state telling me who has applied for a license, or it could be from ads.  If it is an experienced sales professional I pull it up from the MLS.  Anybody who has a name and a phone number that is in the market that I want to target is going to get a phone call from me.
Carol Johnson You have been very successful recruiting rookies.  How do you recruit these types?
Alex Vidal If they are brand new, I will position it as if you are going with another company.  For example, this is what you are going to have to compete against.  I tell them that everybody knows Prudential.  At 98 percent consumer recognition, we have done business with 1 out of every 5 homes.  We have the highest average sales price among the national companies so I talk about what we have done locally.  They end up wanting to be a part of our company.
Carol Johnson

Alex has taken not only included the local in his value package, but he has incorporated them with the National Prudential picture. 

How do you compete with the huge newly merged Coldwell Banker?

Alex Vidal It is actually to my benefit that they are big.  We don�t saturate the market where we have ten offices in one city and 1,000 sales professionals.  I approach it like this:  Coldwell Banker is a great company but every time someone is looking to sell their home, they are not going to interview five different sales professionals from Coldwell Banker.  They are going to interview one.  So if they have interviewed one, then they have interviewed the entire company.  What are your chances of getting that one appointment?  Where at Prudential, we don�t saturate the market.  Our sales professionals rarely come across each other in the market.  You have a better chance of getting that interview.  I understand how Coldwell Banker does business so I point out the differences that can benefit our company.
Carol Johnson Knowing the competition and knowing their strategy and then developing your strategy so that it puts everything you have in the best light.

How do you help your managers develop that dialogue?
Alex Vidal The managers have been in the business a long time and they know what they are doing.  We sit in interviews together and listen to each other talk about the company and learn from that.
Carol Johnson How many interviews to you have in a week?
Alex Vidal

I try to have 10 to 15 appointments per week.  I work my interviews with the following points:

I start with the history of the parent company.  Sales professionals want to be with an established company.  I talk about our parent company and all the stats I mentioned previously.  I even mention that Prudential spends $100,000 a month to put the Prudential rock in the middle of Times Square.

Then I talk about the history of our company -- the impressive growth figures, etc.
I talk about mortgage and title.  Our sales professionals use whomever they wish to use.
I talk about relocation.  We have the power of the Prudential network, which is the second largest relocation network in the nation.

If it is a new sales professional, I go into our training program. I talk about technology. I talk about virtual tours and how we do it.  Our sales professionals don�t pay for a virtual tour until the property closes and then it�s $25.00.  If it doesn�t close, the company pays for it. Then I talk about marketing.  I talk about our "Fine Homes" program. 

I sum it up to the potential recruit that if you are with ABC Realty and you offer a potential listing with whatever you have from ABC Realty and I walk in and pitch the Prudential name, my technology, local advertising, and fine homes advertising.  Who do you think will get that listing? 

Carol Johnson I like how you are not only selling the company but you are also selling their ability to get the listings.

What are your numbers?  How many interviews does it take to get a "yes"?
Alex Vidal One out of three.  I don�t really track it -- I just do it.  The time I spend trying to figure out my ratio, I could have spent interviewing someone else.
Carol Johnson How do you use the Prudential materials or products in your recruiting process?
Alex Vidal I show them the Wall Street Journal ad that we have.  I use some of the flyers from the Prudential Pro kit.  I have a picture of the Prudential rock in Times Square.  I have my own style. I have learned that you can�t adopt another person�s system.  I have tried to take a little of different people�s best qualities and put it together.  You have to do what you feel comfortable with and adopt one or two things from other people.
Carol Johnson

We had Jacqi Giordano on our last Teleclass and she recruits only from farming her sales professionals.  She recruits during breakfast meetings, lunch, on the golf course -- a totally different style, but it works for her.  Find out what your style is because then your personality comes through. 

How are your interviews organized, do you interview first and then the managers?

Alex Vidal

Usually I do the first interview.  I am the "broad-brush" of the company.  I explain everything about the company and then the manager sits down and gets into the details of what they expect of the sales professional, and find out what the sales professional expects from the manager. 

If it is a big sales professional, the owners want to be involved.  The other day we were meeting with a $25 million-dollar producer and I try and flatter the person and I will say, "I am just the recruiter, you are way above my head so you will have to speak with the president of the company."   Our President takes the time to say "Hi" to everybody in the office, congratulates him or her on doing well.  He has sat down with new sales professionals.  Our president and vice-president are very involved.  It starts at the top and goes all the way down.

Carol Johnson

I firmly believe that recruiting starts at the top.  Prudential is unique with the way Earl Lee and Bob Watson and others who make sure that recruiting gets down to wherever it is needed.  There are so many companies that don�t do that.  One of the things that we are trying to accomplish with these Teleclasses is that you get to know each other. We hope to open up the lines of communication and use each other as a network.

Alex, what advice do you have that they may be able to take home and start their recruiting program as if they were starting new today?

Alex Vidal

First, you must have a goal.  Second, you must be dedicated enough to get to that goal, and third, never take it personal and don�t be scared. 

I would like to give out my phone number for anybody who has a specific question for me:  (954) 693-0129.  My email is  (Note to our members:  Alex Vidal was a guest on the Recruiting Network in April 2002).

Questions & Answers
Question We don�t have some of the major benefits like your office, what do you suggest?
Alex Vidal I would look at what your company offers and use the value of the Prudential name.  It doesn�t matter the size of the company, but what you offer to your sales professionals does matter.  You have to put your company in a position that separates it from the competition.
Carol Johnson Go through the list of your competitors and find what they do best.  Then find how the reverse is an advantage.  Just as Alex took something like the size of Coldwell Banker and turned it into a disadvantage for them.  Many times you will find the small companies are able to navigate better than the big companies over certain local issues. 
Question Is your management team compensated for recruiting?
Alex Vidal Yes, they are.  I cannot get into specifics.  However, it is based upon bringing someone on board and if they do well.  It is not just bringing in a body.
Carol Johnson That is a good point.  Too often brokers try and recruit a certain number of people rather than recruiting a certain dollar amount for a period of time.  You may reach this goal by recruiting one rookie sales professional and one experienced sales professional, etc.  You need to anticipate what the recruited volume is not the number of bodies that come in.
Question How do you build your annual recruiting objective?
Alex Vidal

I take it on a month-by-month basis.  I try to recruit 10 to 15 sales professionals a month (mostly experienced). 

This month I am going to end up with about 12 hires.  This has been my average for the past four months.

Question I have a list of all new sales professionals from 2001 to current, do you have a suggestion for verbiage I should use when I call them?
Alex Vidal If you have no clue of who they are, they are probably middle-range sales professionals.  I would say, "I know you joined six months ago, are you making the kind of money you expected?"
Carol Johnson You will notice when going through the list that some managers are good at bringing sales professionals into their office but they can�t help them be productive.  You will start to target those managers and they will soon be your happy hunting grounds.
Question What is the source of your sales professional list?
Alex Vidal New licensees from the state, and for experienced sales professionals; we use the MLS, as well as web sites.
Question How often do you follow-up with sales professionals who are not willing to commit one way or the other?
Alex Vidal I have a daily sheet which tells me everybody that I have interviewed and then it is broken down into categories:  people whom I am working on - I might call every week or 10 days; coming on sales professionals - I call them every 3 or 4 days; then I have the amount of hires I had for the month prior, and under that is the amount I have for this current month.  My daily sheet is a great tool for me, I don�t need my computer on, and I can take it on the road with me.
Question Our market is predominately 100 percent market with only a few traditional companies (Coldwell Banker and Prudential being the largest).  We are really recruiting against the 100% companies.
Alex Vidal You should recruit against Coldwell Banker.  Maybe you don�t target the Top Producer, but you really make your money off the middle-split sales professionals that give you some market share and give you great company dollar. 
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Carol Johnson is President of The Recruiting Network and Publisher of The Recruiting Pipeline web site, the real estate industry's leading source for strategic recruiting resources. She is the author of The Recruiting Revolution in Real Estate and a leading authority on recruiting systems, products and services.  Her monthly Teleclasses attract some of the most influential brokers and recruiters in the industry. Her coaching has increased individual manager�s recruited volume with astounding results.  For information on Carol Johnson's coaching and consulting programs call: 847-524-8487.PD