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You Want What?! A related concern is that the bigger the company, the more

Some demands simply go too far. Here are some of the

rules there are that will stifle salespeople’s creativity. Kane’s

more outlandish expectations for which there is usually

response is to show salespeople the ways they can tailor her

no response but a polite yet firm no.

company’s marketing templates for things like a website while knowing they’re complying with state rules and regulations. Brokers with both small and large companies hear a similar objection: “Your salespeople are so successful, I’d feel totally intimidated.” The response from Pauline Bennett, branch man-

“I’ve been asked for a car,” recalls Keith Robinson, chief operating officer at Better Homes and Gardens Mason-McDuffie Real Estate in Pleasanton, Calif. “I’ve also been asked for my office.” He rejected both requests. In other cases, Robinson has been asked for signing

ager at Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate in Sarasota, Fla.:

bonuses and marketing allowances. He agrees to those

“My office has salespeople at every level. No matter where you

rarely and only if they make economic sense—such as

are in the spectrum, if you do a solid 10 transactions a year and

when he’s convinced he’ll recoup the cost (and then

do a solid job for your customers, you’ll fit into our office.”

some).“I don’t want to compete on price,” says Robinson. “I have a commission schedule, and unless there’s a really



“I can’t go without a regular paycheck.”

extreme situation, we stick to it.” That’s also Sue Cartun’s policy. “There’s always the

Recruits who’d have to change careers often raise this concern.

salesperson who wants to create his own special deal,”

“This should be a business planning discussion you have with

says the designated broker, operations manager, and

every brand-new licensee. Ask, ‘How long can you go without a

partner at Keller Williams Southern Arizona, based in

paycheck?’ ” Robinson says. “If the answer is two weeks, they’ll

Tucson. “That usually comes from strong, business-

really struggle in residential real estate. The dialogue really

minded salespeople who excel at negotiation. They

should be, ‘How much do you need to make so you can stop

essentially say, ‘I’m a top producer, and whatever your

doing what you’re doing and start doing real estate full time?’ ”

split is, I want more.’ The answer is no. But you have to

If recruits say they need to make, say, $20,000, the discussion shifts. “Then it’s a classic screening interview as opposed to a recruitment interview,” says Robinson. “I’ll say, ‘In this

couple it with a strong value proposition. Then it’s not a stumbling block.” The most off-the-wall statements from recruits? The

market, that’s three transactions. You’re agreeing that when you

brokers at Benoit Mizner Simon & Co. in Wellesley and

do three transactions, you’ll stop doing what you’re doing and

Weston, Mass.—Debi Benoit and Amy Mizner—recall

come to us full time?’ We don’t take on part-time salespeople.

these gems: “Your office is so Armani. I’m much more

But we do allow recruits to transition from another career.”

of a Lilly Pulitzer gal” and “While I have a lot to offer your

Getting that commitment is critical. “We know if new salespeople do what we teach them, they’ll be successful,” says

company, I’m not really great at sales.” And then there’s the one you’ve probably heard

Robinson. “So we create a condition where they’ll opt in or out.

many times: “ ‘I don’t want to work as hard as you,’ ” says

If they opt out, that’s fine. What I won’t allow is no choice.”

Pauline Bennett, branch manager at Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate in Sarasota, Fla. “I hear that a lot.”



“I’ll make more money at another company than yours.”

When potential recruits balk because another brokerage offers more generous commission splits, Bennett advises

market share are also important.” The key to every recruiting interview, Robinson says, is to be

them to take a hard look at what they’re giving up in exchange

genuinely interested in the recruit’s future and honest if your

for the higher split. “It’s important to ask what they’re looking

company’s not a good fit. “I know it sounds corny, but I anchor

for in a broker,” she says. “I find what’s most important with

into two things—curiosity and love,” he says. “If I can be truly

new licensees is training because they know there’s going to

curious—not manipulatively curious—and care about recruits

be no paycheck on Friday. I tell them, ‘If you can’t build a solid

enough to tell them the truth about whether they should come

foundation, it doesn’t matter what your commission split is

to my company, recruiting isn’t complicated. When it’s done

because you’re not going to be growing a business.’ Don’t get

best, you’re completely detached from the outcome. You care,

me wrong. Money’s always a conversation with new recruits.

but only about the right thing for recruits.”

But training; tools and technology; marketing; and company


By G.M. Filisko



RealtorMag May/June  
RealtorMag May/June