How to build a real estate agent pool with intention

Do you have an intentional recruiting plan? Do you have the data to identify who is missing from your agent pool? Building a real estate agent pool with intention is about more than choosing top producers and those who are a cultural fit. It’s about finding the right mix of new agents, mid-level producers and superstars that will drive profitability.

Four data and recruiting experts shared the stage at the RealTrends 2021 Gathering of Eagles conference in Colorado Springs. We caught up with one of them, Rob Keefe, founder and CEO of Relitix, to find how to use data to build an agent pool and recruit and retain agents who are culturally sound.

“Just like you create a business plan, brokers should have a recruiting plan,” says Keefe. No matter what business model you run — low-fee, traditional, etc. — the mass-marketed recruiting pitch doesn’t work. You want to target your recruiting plan.”

Keefe offers this sporting analogy. “If you’re assembling a football or baseball dynasty, you want a few all-stars, a lot of people there to support the all-stars and, then you want to find people who will help you build for the future.”

Identify the holes

The first step in this process is to identify the holes in your real estate agent pool. What is your mix of new agents who show a lot of promise? What about those middle producers who sustain the company dollar for progressive commission split companies. Or, says Keefe, “in the case of 100% companies, agents that fulfill that important role of either creating buyer leads or listings that then feed into ancillary services such as title and mortgage.”

He notes that you can look at your agent pool through a variety of different lenses, such as tenure or how production is distributed across that agent pool. You can also look at skill metrics to get an idea of who is performing and who needs to improve.

Ultimately, you want to specify, ‘I want 30% of our agents to be in that $5 to 9 million production window. I want a few superstars, etc.’ “Once you spot your holes, you might determine, for example, that you’re short some mid-producing agents in the $3 to $8 million range, so you can tailor your sales pitch to those producers,” he says. It also helps you identify the agents in the market who you want to go after, rather than sending out a generic recruiting message.

Once you identify them using data, you can identify their pain points and make a more targeted pitch. “For example,” says Keefe, ” if you notice there’s a mismatch between their production and the production in their office. They’re doing 15 sides and the average in the office is three. Or, they have a 20-mile drive to the office, and your office is just down the street.” These are all talking points when you meet with them.

Peak mobility years

“We profile over 500,000 agents from 41 different MLSs each month. Our research shows that a big factor in agents who leave a brokerage is the age of the agent. Agents hit peak mobility in their late 30s or early 40s. This is where they’re making things happen, branding themselves, etc.,” says Keefe. On the flip side, these are also great recruiting targets.

He notes that top-tier agents are not particularly mobile when compared to brand new agents. They are generally taken care of by their broker, but they would have to have a personality conflict or a big incentive to move. “If you’re watching them closely, you can anticipate when they’re going to make a move. Pay attention to your sixth sense as that gives you an opportunity to talk to them before they leave,” he says. After all, while data can help you spot trends, such as a top producer who isn’t taking as many listings as they usually do, a human touch is also important. Brokers who are paying attention can tell if something is wrong, even when the data isn’t showing any anomalies and should take appropriate action.

As for mid-level producers, they want to get help taking their businesses to the next level. If you can put together the right package, you can retain this agent and recruit this agent. That package must center around tools they can use to build their business. “You should have the data to look at where they’ve been and where they want to go, then show them how to get there,” he says.

Identifying production patterns

One broker who is intentional in his real estate agent pool recruiting and with his retention is RealTrends Game Changer, Greg Harrelson. Harrelson “looked at all the agents’ production levels and used that information as a strategy for growth. “I wrote down a number for every agent. So, let’s assume an agent was doing 15 transactions a year. If I coached that agent, what do I think would be realistic for them to be at next year?,” he says. “So, the 15 transaction agent could get to 45 transactions and the 20 transaction agent could get to 60.”

Then, he built a plan for each agent. “What could I do to help them get to that new number? It’s a lot easier to get someone from 15 transaction sides to 45 than it is to figure out how to recruit another agent and blend them into our systems,” says Harrelson. From that, he set up the coaching and accountability structure to support that type of growth internally. “I started promoting through video content. I created a lot of coaching content, put it on YouTube and distributed it to my marketplace,” he says.

Keefe notes that, “This is a business where we have a tremendous amount of data available, yet most agents don’t know where they line up against their peer group. Just think about how many agents market themselves as “No. 1″ and truly believe they are No. 1.” By helping them understand their production levels compared to others in their market, it serves as a level-setting.

But, in addition to building your recruiting pool, patterns in data can help you spot agents who may be in trouble or planning to leave. Have they taken fewer listing than normal? Is there a lull in their production? “It’s helpful to look at each agent’s production trend over time and develop consistency cycles. Many agents are on again, off again. They work really hard for a year, then slack off to recover from that hard work. Or, they list, list, list, then sell it all and have to start from scratch.”

Letting agents understand their habits and coaching them to be more consistent in their income-producing activities will give them a clear plan for success — and keep them with you longer since you’re giving them something of value.