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   ARTICLE   |   From Scotsman Guide Residential Edition   |   November 2014

Pick Up the Phone

The key to recruiting superstar producers lies in the oldest device on your desk

With college football season in full swing, the comparison between mortgage branch managers and college football coaches comes easily to mind. Both must perform many roles to achieve success, but no matter how good they are at planning, organizing, motivating or marketing, neither can succeed without good recruiting

Many managers search for “the trick” to recruiting, but in truth there is no such thing. There is no magic phrase, no scripted e-mail and no special time of the day that works best. It’s not free cocktails, fancy flyers or anything that can be generated with a few clicks of the mouse. Much like signing prized high-school football recruits, the key to recruiting mortgage professionals is — and always has been — the oldest device on your desk: the telephone.

No substitute

It is necessary to have a good product line, competitive rates, excellent service and a great compensation plan. You are probably fighting a losing battle without these perks, but your competitors all have the same tools. Having something to offer potential recruits only levels the playing field.

Big-time football programs all have fancy stadiums, cafeterias that serve great food and locker-room amenities that rival high-priced spas. Great coaches know that the real way to lure the best players is to get to know them. They call their recruits. In fact, they call them a lot.

There is simply no substitute for picking up the phone. Even if you haven’t met a prospective recruit or had a one-on-one conversation, give that person a call. Of course, if that person is a good producer — and why would you be calling otherwise? — the chances are strong that your call will go to voicemail. Leave a message and call again in a week. Obviously, you shouldn’t constantly bombard a recruit with phone calls, but on the other hand, you shouldn’t call once, leave a message and never follow up.

Your message should be short and to the point. Tell recruits that you are hiring. Let them know that you have heard they are great producers and that Realtors love them. Tell them you want to meet. If they don’t call back, call again in a week, and then again two weeks later, and then every two weeks until you get told “no.”

Why the phone?

Unlike a LinkedIn message, Facebook invite or another passive approach, a phone call shows that you are as aggressive as your recruit when it comes to business. It also shows that you care. Most importantly, recruiting is often about timing, and phone calls can frequently work to your advantage in that regard.

Key Points

How to recruit superstar producers

  • Level the playing field
  • Call recruits often
  • Tell recruits why you want to hire them
  • Make a personal connection
  • Remember their special days
  • Keep calling until they say, “no”

When candidates decide to switch jobs, they usually decide between several places.

The companies they list among their top choices are often those that contacted them when they decided to explore other options. You always want to at least be considered.

It can be frustrating when you have tried to recruit a candidate and discover that person has already switched jobs. Chances are, you either called after the recruit had narrowed down the choices to a small group of companies, or you quit calling too soon. Frequent phone calls will increase your odds of getting on the consideration list and thus landing your prized recruit.

The personal touch

Although you should always tell candidates that you are calling to recruit them, the reason for your calls can change. If you see on Facebook or LinkedIn that it is a candidate’s birthday or anniversary, call that person and send your best wishes. It’s old fashioned, but in a world of texts and e-mails, it can be nice to hear a voice wishing you well on a special day.

This personal touch also sets you apart from the dozens of other companies that send e-mails with yet another attachment touting their greatness — all the while never even realizing that it was a special day for their recipient. A phone call shows that you want them badly enough to take time out of your day for them. A call wishing them happy birthday or anything else personal shows that you care.

•  •  •

Although it’s easier to write an e-mail to multiple recipients, send a LinkedIn message to every originator on your contact list or post an ad online, there is just no substitute for a phone call. Good producers already know that they have options. Much like a college football coach, you have to let recruits know why your team is the best place for them to be.

When high-school recruits explain why they made a commitment to one school over the many other offers they had, they often say things like, “I felt most comfortable there,” or, “I had the best connection with the coaches.” In an industry where many companies have similar benefits to offer, that same feeling of a personal connection can ultimately sway the next great superstar your way. 


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