GameChanger: Developing a one-on-one training program

Game Changers Jose Medina and Rich Cosgrove of Keller Williams Legacy Group achieved 435% growth between 2016 and 2020.

GameChanger Jose Medina’s recruiting strategy incorporates coaching for agents at all levels of experience.  “We don’t just bring in people and say, sink or swim,” says Medina, operating partner, Keller Williams Legacy Group Realty LLC, Canton Ohio. “We want to start newcomers on a path to success and help them grow with us along the way.” Thanks to the ability of his team to provide support, Medina and Keller Williams was named a 2021 Real Trends GameChanger with 435% growth in the past five years.

Along with growing from 60 agents in 2016, to more than 240 agents today, the KW firm has opened new offices and now has three locations in northern Ohio. “We’ve been able to take market share, recruit producing agents at those offices and keep growing our team,” says Medina, a 19-year-real estate veteran.  “While we wouldn’t rule out future acquisition opportunities, our growth so far has been 100% organic.”

Rich Cosgrove, principal broker, primarily handles recruiting, along with the Keller Williams team leaders and a productivity coach. “We have created a culture that promotes accessibility, as well as agent involvement,” he says. “When agents come into the office, they see other successful agents and work hard to achieve their own goals.”

A productivity coach

Medina says launching a productivity coaching program has been an important factor in the company’s recruiting success and a big reason Keller Williams was named a GameChanger. “For several years there has been a high trajectory of agents getting into the business, so our coaching program has been invaluable for recruiting people and getting them into production.”

Three years ago, Medina recognized the potential of one of his sales leaders and gave her the role of productivity coach providing one-on-one training and support to roughly 60 agents. Last year, those new agents closed 175 to 200 transactions. “We teach beginning agents the systems they need and the importance of accountability,” he adds. “It gives them a sense of community in our office.”

Once agents gain some experience, they can enter a second phase of working with the productivity coach. “We have two different levels for agents depending on where they are in the business,” says Cosgrove, adding that the ongoing coaching program is a powerful recruiting tool.

More experienced agents also receive one-on-one coaching from Medina, Cosgrove and team leaders, supporting both recruitment and retention. They ask the agents about how things are going, offer suggestions and help them grow their businesses. “We want to make sure that all our people are getting value from the leadership team,” Medina says.

Medina and Cosgrove don’t limit their training offerings to current KW agents. They also hold mastermind classes for agents in our market area. “It’s a way to meet them and build a relationship. Medina adds the leadership team’s goal is to provide value to agents who might later decide to join the franchise,” Medina says. “If the timing is right, they will come over. It’s not a matter of hard selling our company. It’s just building relationships in the Realtor® community.” 

Advice for others

Flexibility, creativity and adaptability are three principles that help brokers in their recruiting and retention strategies, say the two franchise leaders. “We all need to learn as we go,” says Cosgrove. “Just because we’ve always done something on way, doesn’t mean you have to keep doing it.  Don’t be so quick to say no to new ideas.”

Cosgrove also emphasizes the importance of having a personal connection with the broker or team leader, as well as ongoing training that engages agents and keeps them on a path to success. “When it comes to retention, you need to have great staff as well,” he says. “We have been able to put the right people in the right places with a culture of collaboration.”

Brokers also need to monitor and measure the success of their recruiting, adds Medina. That means creating a system to provide accountability, and helps recruiters stay focused on bringing in the right agents. Noting the disruptions of the past few years, Medina adds that tomorrow’s leading brokers are going to be the ones who adapt to the needs of their agents, staff and consumers.

Medina’s last suggestion for recruiting is a simple one: Have a plan, and follow your plan. “That’s what we have done in terms of attracting talent and growing our company,” he says. “It’s not some super sexy, amazing strategy, but execution that counts. Just do the work and good things happen.”

Jose Medina, operating partner, Keller Williams Legacy Group Realty LLC, Canton Ohio, was named a Real Trends 2021 GameChanger. In the past five years, between 2016 and 2020, he achieved 435% growth.