by Craig Witt
I was talking to a well-respected Realtor in Michigan this past week and was asking her opinion on various issues. I was curious what was going on in her market with other offices and agents, and in particular, who may be some prospects I should go after to consider for our brand. While talking with her, she was telling me why she decides to stay at her company after 16 years. By the way, this was not a recruiting call for me, it was an informational call; I do not compromise my relationships by forcing our brand on them, and as a result they talk openly to me because they know I respect their opinion.
I have studied Realtors over the years and their behavior but I was interested in her opinion in today’s market conditions. I asked her what makes a real estate agent join an office, what makes them move, and what are agents really looking for. She began to tell me about herself and what she considers. She hates change, and doesn’t even like to move her office from one office within the building to another – a move to another brand is almost inconceivable. However, she would move without any question if she ever lost respect for her broker/owner, or became uncomfortable in her office. She made it very clear that leadership is what attracts agents and keeps them, first and foremost.
I asked her about compensation plans and recruiting efforts from competing brands. She said she gets solicited often to switch to another company. They use tools, training, profit sharing and other gimmicks that may appeal to her. She told me “forget about all the stuff and just help me sell real estate, I don’t want to own part of your company, just show me how you are going to help me sell more real estate.” Cutting edge technology, she pointed out, is part of this process of selling more. However, she said we can all get caught up in the “fluff” and forget about the basics of what it really takes to create relationships, build long-term clients, and service buyers better.
Interestingly enough, we all try our best to promote the value of our brand and what makes us different. Instead of asking effective questions about what is most important to the agent, we do a product “dump.” You see, although each brand may have something special to differentiate them, it always comes down to leadership. You need to believe in the company behind your brand, and the motive behind your leadership; if you are convinced they care about you, you will stay, and this is the key to retention. However, just like marriage it takes two and your leadership counts on you as well. Your positive attitude and contribution to your office is expected and appreciated.
After selling a successful excavation and construction company in Michigan in 2004, Craig Witt became a licensed Realtor and formed a land development and consulting company. As an entrepreneur and recognizing the value proposition in EXIT Realty, he purchased a Northern Michigan Franchise Territory. After opening and operating two additional offices in 2005 and 2006, Witt sold his offices and acquired the Subfranchise rights for EXIT Realty Michigan. He currently acts as president for EXIT Realty Michigan and Illinois, and focuses full-time on franchise sales and Regional growth efforts.