To Fish Or Not To Fish…That is the Question

by Peter Thomas Ricci


Craig Witt is the president of the North Central Division of EXIT Realty Corp, which includes Iowa, Missouri, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, Indiana and Ohio.

This holiday season, as I look toward a new year, I have to reflect on the past and analyze what I did well, what I need to improve, and what I want to accomplish next year. Positive growth is the most important factor in a real estate brokerage.

Get, Keep and Grow – What Makes Brokerages Successful

There are many components that make brokerages successful, but if the owner or manager is not growing by bringing in new talent, they will die. Three simple, powerful words: get, keep and grow. The owner that does this well will win; relentless prospecting, retention and training can solve a lot of problems in the office.

This methodology has meaning in all areas of real estate, especially at the agent level. We are in sales, first and foremost – we sell things. We sell ourselves in many ways and this is done in part by relationships. Real estate is and will always be a people business.

Many successful Realtors have built their business and continue to do so by networking, leveraging their sphere, and by and large, through building relationships in person, which leads me to one very important question: What is your position on lead generation?

Lead Generation – All it Takes?

I admit lead generation is important and our brand has invested heavily to provide good, qualified leads and tools to our agents to drive business and enhance our company footprint. But is that all it takes to be a Realtor today? In what some may call “the entitlement era,” do agents require leads to be successful? In other words, have we lost the need to learn prospecting and social interaction (and by social interaction, I don’t mean interacting online).

It reminds me of when the recession hit a few years back and so much business was being done that a lot of agents did not have to actively pursue business because the phone was ringing off the hook. Once the phone stopped ringing, many agents left the business because they did not know how to hunt for business. So, many turned to online lead generation to generate business.

Believe me, I’m in touch with what works and understand where our customers are coming from today. But what I struggle with is how basic real estate fundamentals get overlooked for the magic pill today.

I am a private pilot, and although I fly new Cessna aircraft with the latest technology, I still need to know how to read a chart and use dead reckoning skills in the event of an electrical failure or emergency. I hear so many brokers today talk about how they cannot recruit unless they offer leads to their agents to compete.

If that is all you have to offer, I don’t see the retention opportunity because agents will go wherever they get the most leads. My feeling is, teach the agent to fish and be self-supporting in your office with great training programs and leadership, and once they understand the fundamentals of real estate, show them the power of lead generation as a supplement to their business.

I wish you and your families a happy holiday season.

Craig Witt is the president of the North Central Division of EXIT Realty Corp, which includes Iowa, Missouri, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, Indiana and Ohio.

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