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Leadership Starts with a Vision

Kathy Ollerton
Director of Training
KO Productions

 Leadership Tips from the Experts
Featured on


Kathy Ollerton
Carol Johnson

�Whenever agents leave your organization, they made the decision six months prior to you ever having any idea, and once they made the decision, they created evidence to back their decision to leave,� says Kathy Ollerton, director of training at KO Productions in Alamo, Calif., who joined recruiting expert Carol Johnson in a teleclass sponsored by

�You�ve got to see it coming because by the time agents tell you, it�s six months old, and there�s not much you can about it. If you can learn to recognize it early on, pull them in, let them know you care, that you believe in them, that you back them, that whatever it is, you can work it out together, they�ll stay.�
Johnson, president of The Recruiting Network based in Schaumburg, IL., which offers monthly teleclasses to help brokers make smart management decisions, recommends one-on-one quarterly reviews to flush out agents� concerns before they decide to leave.
If agents do leave, says Ollerton, �they�re communicating something into the organization, and you need to understand what that is. So take the time to really look at why agents are quitting.� The best way to do that, she says, is through an exit interview. �Stay with them until you understand why, but there�s usually a disconnect there.

Most of the time, agents leave because they�ve lost connection with management or there�s a leadership issue. They might say it�s about money, time, or something else, but it�s not. It�s not ever about money,
and it�s never about time. Agents have either outgrown the environment and need to go somewhere else to get stimulated, or they�re quitting. Their vision is complete.�
For instance, in one exit interview, the agent said, �I just came to work to get my kids in college, and they�ve all graduated and have their degrees. I�m done. I just don�t want to work any more.� That agent had completed her vision, says Ollerton.

Ollerton and Johnson offered even more tips for recruiting and retaining agents:

� Understand the developmental stages of managers, says Ollerton. Many managers begin as entrepreneurs, then manage their company as a family, grow into management governed by standards, continue to evolve by managing through a company culture, and finally manage to create a legacy �You can�t develop managers unless you know the stages, can identify where the managers are, and move them to their next stage,� she says. Johnson adds that you can also use these stages to identify where your competitors� managers are in the development stages and use that knowledge to better manage company acquisitions.

� Remember that you attract people like yourself, says Ollerton. �You�re going to attract people like you not on the outside but on the inside. If you struggle in real estate, you attract people who struggle. If you�re not committed, you�ll attract people who aren�t committed. If you�re not sure you�re a good manager, you�ll bring in people who aren�t sure they�re good agents. If you have a fear of recruiting, you�ll bring in people who fear prospecting. It�s what�s going on with you that you�re putting out there, and people come to you.� Johnson agrees: �I always say water seeks its own level because you see the same type of people flocking together.�

� To become a leader, first create a vision. �Write it in the present tense, as if it were so right now,� says Ollerton. �You wouldn�t say, �I�m planning for my office to blah, blah, blah.� You say, �My office is�� All the words have to be what we call transformational. It�s the law of attraction. You�re going to attract that, so you have to go word by word and make sure each is transformational.�

� Once your vision is complete, declutter your office and create powerful sales meetings. �Your sales meetings are where you communicate your vision and build your culture. You need to plan and have really great ideas in them. It�s not where you handle problems, admonish anybody, or go through the daily or weekly stats. They�ve got to have certain elements where agents really leave excited.� Johnson says managers are sitting on great sales meeting ideas without realizing it. �I find that when I�m consulting, a lot of companies have acres of diamonds,� she says. �So frequently managers sit at their desk late the night before trying to figure what they�re going to do the next day when they�re sitting on acres of diamonds.

There�s somebody who got a listing doing something really unusual. If you went through your shelves as you�re decluttering and there were 25 brochures, take all the brochures off the shelf, put them in a stack, and say, �OK, here�s brochure number one. Tell me who uses this on a listing or a sale and how you use it. Do we keep it or toss it?� Somebody will come up and say, �Oh, don�t toss that. I got three listings from it.��

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