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Commercial Real Estate Brokerage Management Challenge 1: Recruiting

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If you cannot grow your commercial real estate practice, it will die. After all, no matter how good you are at retaining your existing brokers/agents/property managers, you are going to lose some. Some will retire, some will move, and others will just decide to do something else. If you have a good recruiting program, it will do more than just replace lost personnel. It will bring new talent into your office while also letting your existing team see how people feel working with you, and them. Done right, recruiting can really step up your entire office’s morale.

A good recruiting program will bring in three different types of candidates: new to business, mid-career, and “whales.” You will need to do completely different things to recruit each of these pools, and you need to bring all of them in.

New Brokers. Most new brokers will be recent college graduates. They are energetic, hardworking, and (thanks to the proliferation of collegiate real estate programs) might be the most technically skilled people in your office. Get to know the people who run the Real Estate and Business programs at your local colleges and recruit from their pool. While you are doing this, web ads at the local college and at major job posting boards will also bring candidates to you. Think about sponsoring a local real estate licensing class, and in return secure a 3-minute pitch. If done correctly, several attendees will feel commercial real estate is worth pursuing.

“Newbies” are typically worried about one thing: can they succeed? To successfully recruit them, be ready to explain how you will be able to get them trained and supported for success. Most managers in your position either have a training program, or have team members that are looking to grow and to take on training duties.

Furthermore, you need to confirm (and then reconfirm) that these recruits can support themselves without compensation, for up to six months — more reasonably, one year. You must also reiterate your expectations, and team them up with a mentor so they can learn — while making limited mistakes.

Mid-Career. Mid-career professionals will usually come from your competitors, or from other industries. They should have some baseline knowledge of how to do the business, and are just looking for a better place to do it. The best way to find these candidates is to stay involved in the brokerage community. Go to events, speak on panels, get quoted in the local media — generally make sure that they know who you are. If you really want to get aggressive, pop them a friendly email or call every time that they close a deal.

Another absolute, is your current associates’ ability to articulate your company’s value proposition. It is one thing for them to share with recruits that you have a “great place to work”, but what you really want your team to do — is understand why others may be looking to make a change and communicating with them why your firm is the best platform for them to succeed.

Whales. You certainly know who the largest (and most active) brokers, mortgage brokers, and property managers in your market are. Imagine if one of them joined your team. You’d get a big revenue boost while you send a strong message to every other CRE professional that your office is THE place to be. Big prizes take big efforts.

While everything that you do to attract mid-career brokers is an important part of attracting whales, bringing in a major player will require you to go much further. Recruiting major brokers starts with getting to know them. If you can build a relationship with them and gradually demonstrate that you can add value to them, they will let you know when they are ready to make a move. This process can take years to unfold, but brings major benefits.

Most owners and manager simply assume they cannot land the whale. Like associates assuming they can’t get bigger listings. This is a huge mistake. Whether it is equity, team support, a personal coach, a new opportunity, or simply a change — whales have pains and gains that you can leverage.

Essential Point. Regardless of the level of professional you are targeting to recruit, you must have a recruiting process. Going with your gut is simply no better than winging it. At the Massimo Group, we screen every coaching candidate with online assessment tools that define their natural behaviors. As do our owner clients with their recruiting candidates. Your process should have several steps: team interviews, background checks, competency validation, etc. Recruiting a friend or someone who is “a nice guy”, is nothing more than applying a “mirror test” and hoping they have a breath. This is no way to build your practice. As the defector sales manager of your organization, you have one main objective — and that is to grow your sales team. If you recruit the right people, the other management challenges are greatly minimized.

In my next blog I will expand on the second major challenge, Managing Your Brokerage Staff.

In the interim, we’d like to hear what your top challenges are as a broker/owner/manager – so we can address those in future blogs. Please take our 1 question survey by clicking here.

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