2019: The New Market, Marketing Automation, and the Recruiting Conversation
An Imprevian dialogue on defining your recruiting strategies around service
Real estate agents have a wider variety of brokerage options than ever before. If they’re not happy, they don’t have to stay. When it comes to what you as a broker offer your agents, the status quo just doesn’t cut it in 2019.
“No brokerage—whether they have 10 agents or 10,000—can approach recruiting in 2019 the same way that they always have. Disrupters are entering the marketing left and right, and not everyone is going to win the money game,” warns Imprev Director of Marketing, Meghan Cheeney.
With over 1.3 million American real estate agents, according to NAR’s latest member statistics, and the impending promise of a market ‘cool-down,’ recruiting and retention will be the make-or-break for brokerages bottom dollar. The growing ‘pool’ of brokerage options for agents has created noise among recruiting and retention as different companies struggle to compete against the newer models. You’ll need to clearly identify your strengths and niches and be able to prove them to agents.
“If you’re not investing in technology – in automation specifically, then you’re quickly falling behind the pack.” Charlie Webb, Imprev Account Executive, reflects on why the status quo isn’t going to cut it in 2019.
2019 also brings change to business and branding models, whether brokers are ready or not. Venture capital funded, tech-based brokerages have shown their dominance in larger urban markets. Small, independent boutique brokerages have succeeded as of late due to hyper-local market knowledge and stagnation among older companies. The classics of American real estate find themselves rebranding their image and rebuilding their structure to keep pace with The New Market. All models are working to bring new technology into the fold as quickly as possible.
Each of these models will bring a compelling set of offerings to the table when recruiting and retaining – is your brokerage going to do the same?
The Recruiting Conversation
All successful brokerages have a recruiting strategy that rely on a compelling statement that shows how the brand will help an agent succeed in the local market. This year, brokers/recruiters/managers will need to revisit those statements and adjust them for the tides we see approaching our market. What are the most compelling considerations for an agent?
“The technology stack is definitely in the top 3 considerations when a recruit evaluates joining a brokerage. Commission — the money I can make, the strength of the brand I’m joining, and the tools and services I can leverage as being part of this community. “ – Bill Yaman, President and Chief Operating Officer
Money isn’t the Only Factor
Companies are ramping up recruiting efforts by offering better commission splits, sign-on bonuses, or varied fee structures in part due to VC or franchise funding. However, many established companies can’t afford to compete apples-to-apples over commission and fee structures. How do they stand a chance in The New Market?
“In my past life as a marketing consultant, I saw businesses experience the most success when they closely allied themselves with their sales team beyond just great commissions, from operations all the way to marketing. It’s no different for brokerages,” confides Meghan. “Cash will always be alluring and make the grass look greener to some agents, but if you can truly become the ally that supports agents with services and guides them with your expertise, you’ll make the majority of your producing agents wonder how they ever got along without your brand.”
Commission is a quick, simple way to be alluring to agents, but if your brokerage can demonstrate the powerful ways it supports and allies with its agents – then you’ll succeed in the recruiting conversation. What good is a better commission split if the agent never sells a house?
The Strength of a Brand
“Brokerages have always worked hard to create their own unique value proposition in order to differentiate themselves,” says Pete Weller, Senior Account Executive – and a multi-faceted journeyman of the real estate industry. “All full-service brokerages work on some mix of culture, assistance, education and their brand recognition in order to entice great agents to join their brokerage.”
This strength can be of just as much value to agents as commission structure. Each individual agent strikes out to cultivate their own business. They get into real estate because they can work for themselves – but the support of a proven name behind them can mean the difference in breaking-even and making a profit.
Community is Built on Service
A successful brokerage can be defined by the community of agents it serves. The reputation of success, proven dedication to agents, and continued innovation for the betterment of agent work – these are all services. We’ve spoken before about tool fatigue, and that you cannot just hand a person a bunch of tools and expect them to be an excellent carpenter. Service will set you apart from the competition. Service alleviates so many more pain points for agents than commission alone.
The Ultimate Service: Giving Time Back to Your Agents
Marketing Automation is an industry buzzword that has multiple meanings depending on the person you speak to. As Bill Yaman, President and Chief Operating Officer of Imprev, defines it, “Marketing Automation is broader than just what we (Imprev) do and has a lot of opportunity in the real estate industry. It’s taking the time-consuming, manual effort out of standard processes.” At its core, Marketing Automation is taking the mundane repeated tasks and automating them – so that our knights in shining armor – our agents – can use their time more effectively competing for and winning clients in The New Market.
“Marketing Automation is a huge time-saver which allows agents to continue focusing on what they should be doing… bringing in more business!” champions Jen Goodhue, Imprev Account Executive. “Efficient systems provide effortless user experiences, which leads to effective results.”
The power of automation has reached incredible proportions. In 2018, Imprev automated the creation of over 14 million marketing projects for homes across the United States and Canada. If we estimate that an agent taking the time to build these pieces for their listing could complete each item in 15 minutes, automation has saved over 3 million hours of effort for the industry. (It roughly translates to over 1,700 years worth of continued effort).
“Agents are worried about the ten billion things they have to do to keep their business afloat,” reminds Meghan. The modern agent not only is responsible for sales, but for marketing, advertising, lead generation, lead nurturing, staying up-to-date on housing legalese, contract management, and more, “things that many of you probably experienced if you started off as an agent!” But service allows brokers to support agents by taking manual work out of the equation and making them more efficient.
Your New Market Recruiting Conversation
Remember. Above all, moving forward in 2019, the key to your recruiting conversation is service.
“Instead of telling your seasoned agents that you’ve added a shiny new tool that they have to take time to learn and understand, you’re going to tell your agents that you’ll DO work for them. It’s the sophisticated, robust technology that every brokerage needs on the back end, but with an almost magical, don’t-have-to-lift-a-finger front end. You can’t afford to NOT consider marketing automation as must-have instead of a nice-to-have.” Meghan Cheeney
“No really, we will make all your marketing pieces and deliver them to your inbox without you lifting a finger. That is our commitment to your success as an agent!” adds Pete Weller.
“In the past, the recruiting conversation was focused on robust toolkits,” reflects Bill, “but 2019 and beyond is concentrated on service.”
Brokers, have you changed the way you speak with potential recruits? Agents, what drives your decisions to choose a brokerage?