Having more agents does not mean more profit, but having the right agents can.
The problem lies with how most brokerages hire agents. In nearly every other industry the company evaluates the candidate. You know… a “job interview”. The potential employee goes from interview to interview until they find a company who is willing to hire them. In the real estate business, it’s nearly always the opposite. The agent chooses which brokerages they are interested in, they meet with each prospective company, and then choose the one where they feel that they’re going to get the best deal.
An outsider would be reasonable to assume that brokerages evaluate prospective agents in much the same manner as any other employer would by reviewing their past client reviews, certifications, MLS production numbers, education and skill set. Unfortunately, that’s not usually the case. If they check anything, it’s most often only production numbers in the local MLS. Nearly any agent with a license is welcomed at just about any brokerage. Why? Because most brokerages aim for quantity over quality. The perception is that having more agents is better for business. More agents must lead to more sales, more fee income, and therefore a better bottom line.
We beg to differ.
We have brought on a lot of agents over the last few years. A LOT. We’ve more than doubled our agent headcount to just under 200 agents. But… we are not heavily recruiting, and not every agent that walks in the door at BloomTree is hired here. Whether they’re brand new agents just out of licensing school or experienced agents with years in the business, they have to be a fit to join us. The right “DNA” nearly always translates to success for the agent, great service to the client, and profitability and growth for our company.
The right DNA nearly always translates to success for the agent, great service to the client, and profitability and growth for our company.
One great agent is worth three mediocre ones. When the fit is right, seasoned agents see a significant increase in their production and new agents get up and running quickly. When it’s not a fit, they don’t. We know that agents who excel with us have several things in common:
Mindset: They are honest and hard-working, value what’s best for their clients over the bottom line, are collaborative and social “people people”, and show high EQ.
Desire: They want to grow, are courageous and curious, love to learn, have an innate need to deliver and want to innovate.
Results: They build strong relationships, they follow through and the numbers work for us and for them.
Background: They are business minded and forward thinking, have a strong history of achieving results and are respected in the community.
It’s not uncommon to see a dramatic improvement in the numbers when a veteran agent joins us from another company. Case and point is Trish Miller. She had been in real estate for over a decade before she joined BloomTree and had built a solid business. In the year since coming on board, Trish nearly doubled her sales volume, closing over 30 sides. She has been an eager adopter of our technology, has been through TOTALagent® training several times, and has become a leader in our collaborative “tribe”. She is competitive but in a positive and peer oriented way. She has an upbeat mindset, is incredibly caring, and she’s a big picture strategic thinker. Trish sees the heroism in the little things, in empowering people, in a positive word, and in breaking the mold. Ironically, these are traits that are highly valued in an entrepreneur and yet are often quashed at a more traditional brokerage.
We can teach skills and workflow but we can’t teach mindset.
New agents typically have an uphill climb. It can often take a year or more for a new agent to build enough business to be able to sustain themselves. That’s not only a challenge for the agent, but for the brokerage as well. Until the agent’s business becomes profitable they are not contributing to the brokerage’s bottom line. The sooner they build a solid income stream, the better for both. At BloomTree we do everything we can to ensure that our agents become profitable as soon as possible by offering ongoing training and collaborative support. Lynn Kent joined us as a new agent fresh out of licensing school in the spring of 2016. In the last 12 months she has closed 19 sides with nearly $5M in production, earned the Rookie of the Year award for 2016, and has recently started her own team. Unlike most new agents in the real estate business who struggle their first year, Lynn took off like a rocket. She has already achieved a level of business on par with agents who have been selling for years. We can teach skills and workflow but we can’t teach mindset. Even without prior experience in the real estate business, Lynn is a perfect match for BloomTree. She has strong relationships, genuinely cares for clients, takes great pride in service, naturally connects with her peers, and she is always looking ahead. We hire many new agents at BloomTree and while Lynn’s story is amazing, it’s not unique.
The common denominator is that they fit.
The common denominator with agents like Trish, Lynn, and many others who have grown with us is that they fit. We strongly believe that one of the biggest challenges we face is hiring agents and employees whose values are in sync with ours. They are caring and dedicated to their clients, love learning and teaching, are collaborative and seek out others for advice or to lend a hand. They think “out of the box” and they have an incredibly strong desire to do great things.
We strongly believe that one of the biggest challenges we face is hiring agents and employees whose values are in sync with ours.
The Math Works
Numbers can be deceiving, but they don’t lie. In a market where home values have increased by around 7%, our larger competitors have shown an increase in volume of about 14%. BloomTree has grown over 38% year over year in sales volume. Growing revenue by 100% from one deal to two deals is easy. Growing by 38% at the top of the market is not. We have solidified our position as the top company in our core market area by achieving nearly $400M in sales volume and over $10M in GCI.
BloomTree has over grown over 38% year over year in sales volume and beat our profitability projections by over $100k
BloomTree operates in the black and we beat our profitability projections by over $100k. BloomTree has experienced rapid growth in the past few years. We have expanded our Agent Happiness Team and company leadership, added platforms to our agent tech package, invested in new back-end systems and infrastructure to support this growth, and have opened new locations. None of that would have been possible without the financial strength that has come with our agent development approach.
Growth sucks cash and manpower. It’s as inevitable as the law of gravity. The more rapid the growth, the more cash and manpower are required to sustain it. Focusing on growth through size and volume overlooks the needs to be scalable and sustainable. Hiring agents for only headcount or production means ignoring half of the problem. Hiring isn’t just a people strategy, it’s a scalability and sustainability strategy. By seeking out those agents who “get us”, we’re able to streamline the support required, standardize our systems, and reduce the burden on staff of pounding square pegs into round holes.
Hiring right isn’t just a people strategy, it’s a scalability and sustainability strategy.
Hiring the wrong people solely for sales volume would not help our bottom line. Instead, it would add work load to staff, increase the demand on our Broker team, dilute our culture, lower the level of service to clients, and it could create a rift between our other agents. What our numbers show is that by seeking out the agents who are a cultural fit and who have the acumen to do great things, hiring for the right fit can do amazing things to our balance sheet and for the business of each agent that we hire.
Get to know Trish and Lynn:
Trish Miller came to us from one of the other large companies in Prescott, leads the Trish Miller Team, and helps us manage our Prescott Valley location. She is bubbly and incredibly sharp and had been in the business for nearly 12 years before joining us. She sought us out because she felt like her previous company just didn’t have any stimulation or energy. “It’s the tribe and it’s the warmth and generosity at BloomTree that made the difference for me. We have an energy in this company that is unsurpassed. It feels more like working at Google than a real estate brokerage. We’re all competitive but in a really positive way and we all help each other.” She met with our broker when she joined BloomTree and set a goal of $100,000 in income but has nearly doubled that, coming in just under $200,000. When I asked her how she did it she said, “I’ve worked at nearly every other major company in town and they all want agents to do more business. At BloomTree you help us, tell us what we need to do, coach us, and you cheer us on.”
You can find Trish on Facebook here
Lynn Kent joined BloomTree as a fresh graduate of real estate school in early 2016 after many years with the US Postal Service. Like our other new agents, Lynn was connected with a Mentor and relied on our other seasoned agent for additional support. “Experienced agents helped get me started with leads and guidance. My first two leads came from Jinger Cutting. There was just so much help whenever I needed it. Every time I came up against something I didn’t know, there was someone there to help. I got a lot of training, but the people were the biggest part”. After having a great first year she’s set her goals even higher for 2017 and she’s on track to achieve them. Lynn looks at starting a new team as an opportunity to pay it forward. “I’m able to do the same thing for new agents coming up after me. I’ve told a lot of agents that if you want to be happy in your work, you need to work at BloomTree”. Lynn is warm and approachable but razor sharp in her thinking, and she absorbs the knowledge shared by her peers and adapts it to her advantage. We can’t wait to watch her do amazing things.
You can find Lynn on Facebook here