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   Prudential Teleclass Notes

Gretchen Pearson
California Realty
Mark Jenkins
California Realty

Success in Recruiting Starts at the
Top of Every Organization and Every Office
Carol Johnson
Gretchen Pearson
Mark Jenkins
Carol Johnson I would like you to meet two very successful people running two very unique companies with the same name: Prudential California.  They are Gretchen Pearson, Chief Operating Officer for Prudential California Realty and Mark Jenkins, President of another Prudential California Realty.

Gretchen, you are responsible for a ten billion dollar company that spans three states.  Would you tell the Prudential brokers here about yourself, your company and your professional background?  What is your role in the recruiting process for your company?
Gretchen Pearson

We look at ourselves as a network across the three states: California, Nevada and most recently Texas.  The network is made up of company-owned offices.  We have approximately  fifty-four company-owned real estate operations or branches.  In total, the network is about 124.  It changes daily.  That is a good thing.

I am a realtor.  The two owners of the company, David Covo and Ed Krafchow, were realtors as well.  They went from realtors to branch managers to regional managers and enjoy the business of real estate.

I started at Century 21 as a sales associate and moved my way up through branch management.  I joined Dave and Ed about nine years ago.

Carol Johnson Mark, you also operate a very successful company named Prudential California Realty, but it is completely different in size and scope.  Many of the brokers listening today run offices that are very much like yours with about 100 people, but very few of them have been able to triple there size in a few years like you have done.  Tell us about your real estate background, your company, and explain your market area in relation to Gretchen's.
Mark Jenkins I got my start in real estate in 1986 as a loan officer.  I was a loan officer for seven years.  I became a realtor at one of our competitor companies in 1992.  By January 1993, I became an owner with a partner by buying a franchise.  That company converted into a Prudential franchise in 1996.   We are in the North LA county about thirty miles north of Los Angeles.
Carol Johnson Gretchen, you have set some huge recruiting goals for your company this year.  Your goals are one third of the overall Prudential goals.  Please share with us how you set these goals and what systems and procedures are in place to assure that you are going to meet the goals.
Gretchen Pearson

Each one of our managers needs to be clear as to what recruiting goals look like for them.  It's the Covey principle and the principle of accounting.  It's working toward holding the managers accountable as to what their individual branch looks like.  We have front-loaded our managers at the beginning of the fiscal year: October 1st.  We work with the managers at the end of fall and see what their next step is and what their picture looks like for their office.

Through the monthly managers' meetings we do an accountability board.  The accountability board is just like a sales board.  We look at how many folks are they going to hire and how many did they get the last month.  We post it for all of the managers to see.  We applaud the results and acknowledge folks who are getting the job done.

For many years, we have supported and grown a real estate school for new licenses.  We currently have a very active one in northern California. The school supports the pipeline considerably. We have a school and a relationship in Nevada. In Sacramento, we have a relationship with an existing school, and we plan to have our own school in Texas.

Carol Johnson When you hold the managers accountable, are you holding them accountable for the productivity level of the people that they recruit?
Gretchen Pearson I prefer to have my managers concentrate on the top of the funnel rather than the per person productivity.  You do not want a body shop.  It falls on us to support the managers in hiring folks with clear expectations so that they will be productive.  I've been recruiting for fifteen years, and I still cannot tell you who is going to make it and who is not.  I have not cracked the code nor have I found anyone in this industry who can crack the code and say absolutely, for sure, who is going to come through and be fabulously successful in this business.

That is one of the great things about this business.  All types of people can come through and have a fabulously successful career.  We try to support the managers toward the "top of the funnel".  How many of the folks are they going to invite in, enlist into their vision and into the journey of their office/environment?   If you hold that environment steady, the nonproductive folks will fall away as long as you are bringing enough in the top. You will continue to have a net population growth.
Carol Johnson How do you relate that company vision to your management team so that they are hiring the kind of people that you are looking for?
Gretchen Pearson The company is very rich in vision. Part of that vision is listing us as a human resource company.  It is our experience that we need to trust the individual managers absolutely.  If we put that much trust and development into the branch manager, they can development their picture/vision.  We have fifty-four offices that all look and operate entirely different.  It is based on the philosophy of the individual manager's vision.  If they can make it clear and be supported in developing it, it will have a much more magical effect.

The opposite is having something more stifling and everything the same.  Our experience is that real estate is still very local.  For me, in northern California, to have any kind of pretence as to what Arlington, Texas needs, that is not going to work.  That would stifle the overall growth.
Carol Johnson One thing that Prudential California does really well is manage those expectations.  You do extensive role-playing, and you prepare your management team for the interview process.  Can you give us an example of the dialogue that you use to establish those expectations for your management team?
Gretchen Pearson

The first step is the manager being clear and able to articulate what kind of experience they will have.  It is our belief that sales associates do not join you for the "stuff".  They are joining because you have a really nifty ad.  They will leave when they feel that you no longer have a nifty ad.  They are joining for commissions and they will leave you for commissions.  We believe that the sales associates want to align and join toward the experience.  Each manager needs to be clear on what it is going to feel like in his or her environment.  What is the environment that they are going to cultivate and then articulate?

We have done different things in the recruiting interview.   The manger has an opportunity to role-play the articulation of their vision.  Each individual, whether it's the folks in the current office or the sales associates joining it, need to mix and blend and align to where it's going.  There will be expectations set out that the managers need to articulate right at the recruiting interview.  It is less of "we do this and that".  The expectation is that you will contribute.  A definition of contributing is:

1. Production - There is not a set timeframe but you will be producing for this office.
2. Give back - You need to give back to a new sales associate or a fellow sales associate without return.  You need to continue to evolve each individual experience.

Carol Johnson Coaching and peer-driven work groups are part of your company culture. Tell us how they are set-up and managed and what results they deliver to your recruiting efforts.
Gretchen Pearson The workout model was in place prior to me coming into the organization.  There are workout groups where you put like managers in a group together, and you put newer managers together.  You don't put a 20-year veteran with someone who has been in the business for just over one year.  They agree to a foundation.  The foundation is a set of written rules as to how they are going to work together regarding attendance and other commitments that they make to each other.  They are set up for about ten to twelve weeks together before we take a break.

We put a facilitator, another manager, in to run the workout group.  Part of it is training or technical skills that help develop the picture toward their vision, or it may be an exchange of things that are working.  We have 54 branches that are run entirely differently.  If we don't pass on the lessons learned, we will not hit the magical point.  Fifty percent of their time is spent on the commitments and the accountability process.  Did they reach the commitments that they made?  Typically it will be two business commitments, one personal commitment and one health related commitment.
Carol Johnson Is the facilitator part of the group or someone from outside?
Gretchen Pearson The ability to facilitate does take some work and skill.  The facilitator is usually an experienced manager.  You can't have a facilitator that is vested to the results.  A lot of the times, a manger is vested to their office, so you will see managers switch to facilitate in an office other than their own.
Carol Johnson Once you hire new associates, what do you do in terms of training, and what do you do to get them up to production speed?
Gretchen Pearson We have a two week formalized training program for the new associates that my management team volunteers and teaches.  These classes are held at our headquarters.  "Live Wire" is the next training program.  It is a once a week class over a twelve-week period.  They develop skill sets through role-playing.  Once they learn what to say and they role-play, they have their commitments based on it.  The training goes on.  Being a human resource company, we need to have formalized training programs for every sales associate at every level of their career to support them.
Carol Johnson Do you know what sales associates have been at certain stages?  Do you know who has been trained in what?
Gretchen Pearson We have seen sales associates that skip Wire and just do the two-week training program, and then we see them back in a year or so to take the "Live Wire" training.
Carol Johnson Your web site has a cartoon likeness of you that encourages people to " Ask Gretchen". What kind of questions do you get, and who asks them?
Gretchen Pearson It's actually based on a book, so I'm not answering all of the questions.  It's Ray Brown who did the "dummy" book,  Real Estate for Dummies.  We've purchased the licensing rights.  It has made my life interesting in the last year. It is great training tool as well as consumer support.
Carol Johnson In a single office firm, it doesn't take long to figure out if the leader doesn't recruit, no one will. What systems do you have in place, and how do you discipline yourself to carve out the time to develop and maintain a consistent recruiting, training and retention program?
Mark Jenkins This problem has evolved from not having any recruiting efforts to trying to survive in the real estate economy as a small number four office in the neighborhood.  We have the largest single office: RE/MAX.  We also have the largest real estate executives outside the state of Arizona that has about 65-70 percent of the market.

In 1997, we were at a Mike Carry seminar, and we told him that we had this problem.  We were a small company, and we wanted to grow, but we also have two big companies, so what do we do?  He told us to go out, hire brand new sales associates, and train them.  Let them sell three or four houses before they move on to other realty.  We have since grown by hiring brand new sales associates.  All of our sales associates, except for one of our 51 sales associates, have gone through our training program.  That is our strategy.

Like Gretchen had said, we have a funnel.  We have a defined training program of three training classes a week for three months.  A good majority don't make it after one year.
Carol Johnson How do you get these folks in your office, and what do you say to them about being number four in the market and why they should be with you?
Mark Jenkins The RE/Max office refers them to us because they do not have a training program.  They don't want them to go to our competitors.   We also have a company that comes in and does a career night seminar.
Carol Johnson The real estate career nights -- do they do that for your competitors?  I have never heard of them.
Mark Jenkins They have a group of territories.  Their company is called United Educational in Redding, California.  Their other company is called Real Estate Careers.  They advertise in the local newspapers for us ten days prior to the seminar.  They advertise an 800 number and they take all of the calls.  We don't talk to any of them.  They will get 20-25 to RSVP and we will get 10-12 people.  There is a fifty percent fallout from the time the reservation is made.  They put together a presentation, and we put together a presentation.  It's great.  We just have to pay for the licensing.  It's $158.  It beats advertising and taking all of the phone calls.
Carol Johnson You pay United Educational the licensing fee?
Mark Jenkins We pay when the actual person gets their license and passes their test.  They bring all of the information to us and we submit it with $158 to the Department of Real Estate.  When the individual signs up for the program they pay $350 to Real Estate Careers United Educational.  After they get their license, we are obligated to pay the $158 for the new sales associate.  It's great for a small office, because United Educational does all of the work.
Carol Johnson Tell us about your company culture and management style. What sort of passion do you feel comes across in a productive way for your sales professionals and potential recruits?
Mark Jenkins We are passionate because we offer a lot of support and training.  We help every sales associate no matter what they need.  My partner and I are always available to help them.
Carol Johnson Describe the ideal sales associate you want to recruit and how you go about getting appointments.  Where do you find the leads, and what to you say to them when you call?
Mark Jenkins We do not use direct mail.  We have been using Real Estate Careers over the past six years.  We never can tell who is going to be a great sales associate.  We don't turn people away.  We sign them all up and put them through the process because we really don't know who will make it and who won't.  We have added Kim Addes' test to our website.
Carol Johnson How do you use the Prudential brand and products to package your company benefits and position yourself in the market place? What do you consider to be the strongest drawing point in your presentation?
Mark Jenkins I have used everything Prudential has to offer.  They have everything from discounts on Air Borne Express to 401K for a single individual.  I use all of the tools that are available to give the scope and the size of the Prudential network.
Carol Johnson I admire you for always trying to learn more about recruiting. I first met you in 2001 when you attended a Recruiting Network Conference and since then you have been a regular attendee at both the Recruiting Network and Prudential Recruiting Initiative teleclasses. Tell us what you have learned from listening to successful recruiters on a regular basis and how you choose the ideas you want to implement.
Mark Jenkins That was the best conference I have ever been to.  I got the most out of that conference.  The best benefit was sharing information with all of the real estate companies and talk about recruiting.
Carol Johnson Tell us what you learned from listening to successful recruiters on a regular basis and how you picked the ideas that you want to implement.
Mark Jenkins We need to keep focused on what we want to do.  Every real estate company can fix most of their problems by recruiting.  We need to keep reminding ourselves what we are supposed to be doing.  I tell people to call me before they take their test.
Carol Johnson How often do you call?
Mark Jenkins I call three days a week for two hours.  I schedule time to make calls and do recruiting.
Carol Johnson What day do you get the best response?  I think Thursday is the best day to recruit.
Mark Jenkins I call in the afternoons.  Actually, any time is a great time to call as long as you are calling.  I have my mornings scheduled.
Carol Johnson If you could give our members one piece of advice on recruiting and retention, what would that advice be?
Mark Jenkins Put together a plan.  Prudential is doing some great things through their recruiting initiative, and everyone should take advantage of that.
Carol Johnson Gretchen, if you could give our members one piece of advice on recruiting and retention, what would that advice be?
Gretchen Pearson Don't let anything get in your way of recruiting.  There is nothing that cannot get fixed in your office.  Recruiting will fix it.  If you have not done your recruiting calls, you are always going to have problems.

Questions & Answers


When your managers are calling other brokerages for recruiting purposes, what is the verbiage they use?
Gretchen Pearson We call and try to close for the appointment.  There is not much selling you can do over the phone.  Also ask, "How's it going?"  Ask them what they like about their environment or what they would change about their environment.
Question What percentage of the people that you interview do you hire?  What is the biggest reason that people do not come to work for you?
Mark Jenkins We don't know what the person is going to do until we hire them.  A lot of times, they won't even complete the program.
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The content of this web site is for the exclusive use of Recruiting Network Members and must be used according to the terms and conditions of membership.  This article was published by The Recruiting Network Inc., Schaumburg, IL 60168.  The rights to this article remain the exclusive property of the author, written permission is required for duplication.  For Recruiting Network Membership information Click "Join" at  � Copyright The Recruiting Network , Inc. 1990-2004

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