It's the end of the year. It's a time when agents and brokers begin considering the year to come. Some do business planning. Some set goals. Some consider joining a different company. It's almost like there's some sort of trading deadline for talent. Lately, when I talk with brokers and agents who are considering making a move to another company, I'm fascinated by the stories they tell me about Hawaii Life! Of course, it's nothing new. I've heard a pretty wide variety of gossip about us... but I guess I'm still in denial about how pervasive it is.
So, I thought I'd share:
"They're just building up the company so they can sell it."
This one is classic, because its so ironic. We wouldn't know how to build a company to sell it. That's not what we do. We're real estate brokers. Salespeople. Marketers. Designers. Tech enthusiasts.
There's no exit strategy, other than staying in business.
"Hawaii Life nickels and dimes the agents"
I don't know where to start here. This one is also from Opposite-ville. We're vigilant (maybe to a fault) about not treating the brokers and agents who work with us as profit centers. Everything we do, from our CRM software, to Docusign, to our E&O Insurance, is billed exactly at cost. We don't pad it. We don't make money just by hiring real estate agents. That's not our gig.
What we do is provide a ton of value, for free. Design work. Search Engine Exposure. (Pretty cool) office spaces all around Hawaii. Incredible marketing collateral. Paper. Ink. All free. No nickels. No dimes.
"The lead distribution is unfair"
I guess this one is a good problem to have. I'd start by saying, "At least we have leads". I'll confess, we've found the traffic to our website and the resulting number of inquiries to be nothing short of overwhelming. But we've done a pretty good job at learning how to handle it. It's been a process. We're a new company. We're still finding our way. We've learned how to work with our customers a lot better, and how to provide relevant information (instead of spam) so that we can match the right customer with the right broker or agent.
And, we expect a lot out of the brokers and agents that we send business to. A lot. It's a job, and we take it very seriously. We're committed to providing the absolute best customer service we can. We realize how significant of undertaking that is. So, recently, we've hired customer service specialists to work with inquiries online and in person. We've hired "Broker Concierges" whose sole role is to assist our top-selling brokers and agents in the field. We've managed to generate hundreds of sales from online inquiries, so we're definitely doing something right.
"They're too high tech"
If you believe that you should come and watch some of the top-selling agents in our company attempt to type. Seriously. Part of the very reason that Hawaii Life even exists is because real estate is too high tech. And it doesn't need to be. Real estate is still a relationship business, and that's exactly what brokers and agents should be doing: relating. We shouldn't be coding websites, learning about the latest trends in search optimization, or even deciding what font should be on our flyers. Sure, there's a million real estate agents who will tell you that they're experts at technology, but my point is that they don't have to be. Our job is to take that stuff off the table. We're the easy button.
"Teams are mandatory"
I know where this one comes from. There was a period we went through on Kauai, just after we acquired Koa Properties, where I tried to get the salespeople to team up with each other. I was inspired by Gary Keller's books, and the obvious success that real estate teams are having throughout the country.
It didn't work. It was too forced. So, we canned it as a requirement. We still provide coaching for real estate teams, and we strongly encourage brokers and agents to team up and work together, but we don't mandate it.
"They're Wet Behind the Ears"
Ok, that one was from one of our very first Yelp reviews. It definitely had a competitive ring to it, but who knows? If it's a reference to being "too" young. I'll take it. Of course, if one were to tally up the average number of years our brokers have been in real estate... you'd think that we're were an organization for seniors. But hey, at least they're willing to roll the dice with such a "young" company.
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I say it all the time: We're not a big recruitment company. We turn way more people away than we hire. We want to work with the very best. We want to learn from the brokers and agents who work with us. We want the brightest people we can find. So, if the best and brightest are considering a move, of course I want to talk with them. I find it fascinating, and I learn a lot from it.
Most people don't stop to consider the source, or what motivation someone might have to tell them these stories about Hawaii Life. (At the end of the day, it's as much propaganda as this post is.) ;-)