Come for the Leads, Stay for the Culture: Building a Better Team, Today

Hogan_MikeIn the following interview, Mike Hogan, CEO of Keller Williams Realty – Richmond West in Richmond, Va., discusses generating leads, operations, recruitment and more.

Region Served: Richmond, Va., with expansion teams in Fairfax, Williamsburg, Fredericksburg, Charlottesville and Farmville, Wilmington and Raleigh, N.C.
Years in Real Estate: 17
Number of Offices: 4
Number of Agents: 32

Your team appears to be in growth mode. What factors contribute to a healthy team that picks up marketshare?
No. 1, by far, is the talent we’ve hired. Not only are our agents the top performers in their respective markets, but also, they have grit and an incredible work ethic. We also have the absolute best support staff a team could want in place to support our agents.

No. 2 is a predictable supply of leads from multiple platforms that allows our team to focus on those prospects that have raised their hand to ask about buying or selling real estate, and No. 3 is our team structure. Our team is designed so that all components of the transaction process are completed by specialists. We supply transaction coordination, listing coordination, marketing support, etc., which frees our agents to focus 100 percent on building relationships and converting leads to buyers. Everyone has a job to do, and they all do those jobs incredibly well. We are, in essence, that well-oiled sales machine.

What do you look for when bringing team members on board?
First and foremost, they must fit our culture. We have a great team environment, and I’ve learned the hard way that one person with a crappy attitude can spoil it all. Anyone we hire must fit with our team. Secondly, I’m looking for someone that can blend into any situation and build relationships across multiple backgrounds. And that doesn’t just mean someone that can talk a good game. It means hiring people that genuinely care about what they’re doing and who they’re helping. I also look for individuals that are driven, which is often tough to determine during an interview. In fact, the biggest mistakes I’ve made when hiring agents in the past centers around this lack of drive. An agent that fits our culture, can develop relationships and is driven is what we want. Our most successful agents fit that description perfectly.

What are team members looking for when they decide to join your team?
Leads are always the big draw. Lead generation is one of the hardest things to do in any sales position, so having a solid flow of leads is a big draw for us. To go along with leads, however, is coaching and accountability. Agents want guidance and training to help them succeed. And last, but not least, we make selling real estate fun. Leads bring agents to our team, but culture makes them stay.

How important are online leads to your value proposition to your existing agents and recruits?
Online leads are vital to our organization’s recruiting. We’ve figured out how to convert online leads where others struggle with it. Offering leads and a proven system for converting those leads is the biggest value-add we can offer.

That being said, the science behind online leads is to have the right mix to make sure we’re optimizing our lead flow. While we work with a few different lead sources, the need to diversify our lead generation platforms is what ultimately led us to realtor.com®.

When a team gets involved with online leads, what can make or break their success?
Systems, systems, systems. That’s it. They must have systems for upfront management of leads to make sure leads are distributed to agents quickly. Speed to lead isn’t just a cool catchphrase, so it’s critical that the system include auto-response mechanisms. The system must also allow for action plans to start drip campaigns automatically and remind agents when to follow up with leads that don’t respond immediately. In addition, there has to be a system for agents to respond to leads in as close to real-time as possible, as well as a system for long-term nurturing of leads.

How difficult is it to begin bringing in leads for your agents? Do you get support from realtor.com® after the sale?
It’s super easy to get started. Once your systems are in place, you can call your realtor.com® rep or simply inquire on their website. Agents must be prepared to talk about the zip codes that interest them, in addition to being open to other zip codes should any of the ones they’re interested in be sold out. Agents also need to understand that the prime zip code they’re targeting may not be the one that brings them the highest ROI, so it’s important that they be flexible and willing to go into other areas they may not have originally considered. You also need to be prepared to go big, as a couple hundred dollars in ad spend a month isn’t going to generate the kind of lead flow it takes to make a team sustainable. My realtor.com® rep is always available. While I’ve never had a service issue, if I have a question—and I have many—I can always get someone to help me.

For more information, please visit www.realtor.com/brokerwin.

Eisenberg_Zoe_60x60Zoe Eisenberg is RISMedia’s senior content editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at zoe@rismedia.com.

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