Recruiting & Lead Follow-Up Systems | #REalAdvice 17 w/ Kyle Whissel

Many agents start building a team with anyone who will join, but that will not help your team grow! But that’s not any way to set up your team for long-term success.

By digging deep into knowing the culture you want to be infused in your team, and having a strategy to grow and train that team, you can see amazing results.

Kyle Whissel gives us his advice on recruiting and follow-up strategies. Kyle is the broker-owner of Whissel Realty Group powered by EXP, which was just ranked as The #1 Team in San Diego County.

Guest Introduction:

This episode’s guest on the #REalAdvice podcast is Kyle Whissel. He and his family live in San Diego, California, on a small ranch where they raise rescued pot-bellied pigs. He started his own team and grew a group of 30 people who do more than 300 deals a year.

Highlights of this episode: 

  • Kyle recommends bringing in team members two at a time, with a max of four at a time. They end up going through the onboarding process together, learning together and often become accountability partners.

  • By having a team with a system, you’re better able to serve your clients. Taking turns manning the lead generator, whether it be the phone line and the front desk helps you get the best service.

  • It used to be that you had 5 minutes to follow up with a lead, now you have SECONDS.

  • Have a recruiting plan in place for the team: every part of your interaction with this person is part of the interview. Do they introduce themselves to others, and are they excited to be there? They will be great at networking!

  • You want someone who is going to be coachable, and super excited to connect with others!

  • Make sure you teach folks up front what to expect as part of your team: that way they know how to be successful!

  • A five-minute offense is better than a 30-minute defense: be prepared! 

  • Your team will be the people you love working with. Don’t start a team just because you think you need to start a team; do it because you are passionate about leading other people.

  • If you only learn one thing from this episode, know that the team culture is the most important part, and that anyone that you bring on to be part of the team needs to fit in that culture. 

Special shout out to Kyle for being this episode’s guest for #REalAdvice! You can connect with him here:

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Audio Version Below:

Full Transcript

00:00 And now I'm going to take this lead. And you know sometimes this happens at a restaurant. You're out with your husband, your wife, whatever. This lead comes in, you see you, you get up from the table so you're being rude to whoever you're at the table with. That's problem one. Problem two. Now you're standing in the hallway and this person's asking about one, two, three main street. Well, you need to understand it. They've researched the hell out of one, two, three main street. They didn't look at it for a second, fill out the form and ask for somebody to call them. They've researched everything. They know. They've looked at every photo probably 20 times. They know the schools, they know the restaurants, they know the crime ratings. They know if there's a sex vendor in the neighborhood, they know the price history. They probably know the owners. They've literally researched everything. So they've spent 2030 minutes researching this property and now here you are standing in the hallway of a restaurant trying to have a conversation with them. They're asking you these questions about one, two, three main street. You don't know anything about it. Your dumb ass is putting your phone on speaker phone while you're in the restaurant. There's all kinds of noise around you. They're asking you questions, you can't answer them. You're going to lose that opportunity.

00:59 What's up everyone? Today we're going over recruiting and followup strategies with Kyle whistle, broker of whistle realty group powered by Exp, who was just ranked the number one team in all of San Diego County.

01:11 And I think it's huge that even you talking about, Hey, x amount of leads is, you know, 30 leads or 40 leads. Make sure that you're converting some of those first because I think that too many people are generating leads, um, or they don't even realize that they have leads right in front of them. That's because they're only focused on generating leads, only focused on more and more and more. But then they don't reply to people. They don't make phone calls, they don't follow up, they don't do anything because they're only focused on generating leads. Have you had that issue? Yeah, I mean that's, that's where it goes back to that the structure, you know, you've got an agents do this all the time. They get mad at a buyer who calls and is like, Hey, I want to go see one, two, three main street.

01:47 It's listed for 1 million bucks. Cool. Have you had an opportunity to connect with a lender? No. We'll want to go see a house first. Then we'll talk to a lender. Well, as an agent, you get pissed, right? You're like, I don't want to go show you a house if I don't know that you can actually afford the house. But then that same agent is generating a lead but doesn't have a plan of what to do with that lead like me, when I started out, right, I was just, I had all these leads and I was like, well, I guess I'll just send them over here and see what happens. Like, you better know what happens with those leads. I mean, we literally have a flowchart built out. Um, if you guys want it, you can message me on Instagram at Kyle whistle. I'll send it to you.

02:21 Um, but it's literally our entire process. So lead comes in and they get wore down, which is three dials in a row. Then they get a text, then they get an email, then we go and we qualify them. If they're hot, this happens. If their nurture, this happens. If they're watched, this happens in, there's a whole chart of exactly what happens with the leads. You've got to have a follow up plan and a structure in place of what to do before you go generate the lead and you've got to role play what you're going to say to that lead before you generate the lead. You've got to role play the actual presentation before you go and sit down and give a presentation to that lead. So if you don't have all that in place, your that buyer who wants to see the million dollar home without the preapproval letter, and that's not, that's not a, that's not who you want to be.

03:02 Especially when you're looking at them. And again, you definitely don't want to, you don't, you don't want to show them that house. There's people that are listening right now that go, you know, that's great. You know, 30 agents doing video, it's super easy. He's the only one doing it. So they, you know, they give them all this business, you know, must must've been so easy building a team. Um, you're, you're talking about different mistakes that you've made. You're talking to that, hey, it's not easy and no, nobody's gonna listen to this. And if they're not selling any houses, more than likely they're not gonna sell 300 by tomorrow. So what are some of the good things that you've done that you would recommend other people to do when building a team? Yeah. So this is, uh, so now we can get into what to do, right?

03:43 We've done about like how to, how to screw it up. Now we'll talk about like how to do it right. Um, one of the things that we're really big on now is, um, really having a solid recruiting plan in place. And so for us, it's all structured. We know exactly what's going to happen. So when somebody comes in, they're going to watch multiple videos first and then after they've watched those videos, we'll have an opportunity to schedule a phone screen with my sales manager. It's all linked up and Calendly. So they watched the two videos, gives them kind of a little bit of an overview of how we roll. Then they'll schedule that phone screen. I'm still, they'll hop on with my sales manager for 15 minutes and he's going to kind of make a judgment call based off that 15 minutes. If he likes them, he's going to invite them to come into an office meeting and when they come in the office meeting, we want to see how do they interact with people.

04:28 Like we know on a disc profile. The one thing that's a nonnegotiable to be a good agent is a high eye. If you don't have a high eye, you're probably am not going to say never, but probably not going to be a very good agent. You've gotta be a high, I've gotta be able to talk to people. You've gotta be able to be thrown into an environment with 30 people and actually have some conversations. Um, we had a guy recently show up at one. He walked in the door to the office and just sat down at the chair at the front and started playing on his phone all day. Didn't like come, didn't talk to anybody. Like, hi, I'm here for the meeting. I'm here to see Mike or nothing. Just walked in and sat down and I'm like watching him cause this guy going to come see anything.

05:03 And then he doesn't. I'm like, all right, I'll just go over there and then, you know, extend an olive branch. I'm like, Hey, come on in man. Grab a seat. Comes in, sits down, head down on his phone, doesn't talk to a single person like I want to see how are you gonna act in that environment. I want somebody who comes in, it's like super excited. Hey, I'm Jonathan. I'm excited to me. Like, thanks so much for having me at the meeting and walks into the meeting and starts introducing himself to everybody. Like, I want to see if they're going to be social in that environment, that they don't realize it, but they're, they're being tested at that point. I've got to see, do you have a personality? Can I throw you in a room and have you interact with people because that's what's going to happen if I throw you in an open house.

05:38 Well, if that's what you do when you come to my office, I mean, that's what you're going to do in an open house. That's not a fit. So, uh, we want them to come to the ops meeting, want to see how they do. I'm going to make them stand up and speak to, I want to see if they, you know, how they carry themselves when they have to speak publicly in front of 30 people. They don't know. Um, and so that's part two. Part three is then they'll sit down with my sales manager and my operations manager, um, and they'll do an interview with them. And then the next step is they'll do a role play with my sales manager as well over the phone. And so this is the one we learned from Mark Rowe wrote sales acceleration formula and we'll give them a script and my sales manager role play with them.

06:14 And we don't care how bad they do on that first one. It could be terrible. That's fine. We're not expecting anything of you on that first one. But what we're expecting is now my sales manager is going to give you some feedback after that role plays done and you're going to role play it a second time. And now we're going to see if you implemented that feedback because it's all a test and coachability. And so if we give you feedback and then we do the role play again and you completely ignore the feedback you just told the, you just told us what your level of coachability is. So it's everything. There's very little tests that are happening throughout this process and so all of that stuff has to happen first. Then I'll sit down with them and at that point we do what we call an expectations interview.

06:56 And I think that is, this is really important, and I'll give credit to Keller Williams because I learned this from you guys. Um, never been with kw, but they got great initials. Um, and so the expectations interview is let's put all the cards on the table upfront, what's expected of each other. Um, so that there's no confusion once we get into business with each other. So we'll talk about if a sensitive issue should arise, how do you want me to approach you and how do I want you to approach me? How do I win with you? How do I lose with you? How do you win with me? How do you lose with me? We put all that stuff out there up front. How do you like to be held accountable? Um, are you motivated by the carrot or the stick? Right? Do I need to push you from behind or dangle a carrot from the front?

07:33 What's gonna work for you? So we like to figure all that stuff out up front so we know how to work with people. How do I want to set myself up to win with that agent? I want to set myself up to motivate them the way that they're motivated. Like I'm a stick person. I'd rather you push me from behind, then pull me along from the front with the carrot. That's just how I am. So it's important to understand how people work. Um, we'll also lay out the expectations and this is really important is you got to tell your team this is what we're looking for from you on a regular basis. And it's very important to call them expectations. Especially in California. We don't require anything cause these are agents that are 10 99, but we'll put out there, we're looking for you to be on the roleplay calls four times a week.

08:09 We're looking for you to power hour four times a week. We're looking for you to um, be on our huddle four times a week. Three open houses a month, three office meetings a month, three roleplays in the office a month. Um, I think I said three open houses. So we put all that stuff out there up front so they know what's expected of them. That's so damn important. Put that out there up front. So now once you guys get into a relationship together, you're working together. They can't come back and say, well I didn't know I had to do this. I wouldn't have joined the team if I knew I had to do that. Like put the cards on the table up front and both of you sign this agreement so that there's no confusion over what the expectation is. And also outline, make sure they understand how their split works.

08:50 Show them a sample split. Um, sometimes they're like, I didn't know I was only gonna make that much money. Like do it up front. Just do a sample transaction for them. Make sure they understand exactly what the agreement is cause you don't want to get into business and then start fighting over commission. Put the cards on the table up front and it's going to save you so much time on the back end. A buddy of mine at exp came up with a slogan of five minute offense, they'll prevent a 30 minute defense. So that expectations interview that's here and now it's not exactly five minutes, but proportionally that little bit of time you spend up front during that expectation's interview will save you so much time on the back end. So what you're saying is you don't have a plan for recruiting? No, not at all.

09:29 So somebody can just walk into the office and go, hey, we're thinking about, hey, this is real estate. Yeah, you guys obviously are looking for realtors. Right? Mean I just got my license. Uh, and I think that it's, it's key that anybody that's listening that wants to join a, a team, uh, you should also be looking at it from your perspective too. When you walk into a brokerage and they just instantly sign you, okay, well what are they going to be giving you? What are they going to be, you know, holding you accountable. Are they really going to help you get more business? And from the team leaders aspect, if you're just allowing anybody to walk through the front doors, you know, to use that metaphor, then um, you know, you really don't have an excuse and you really can't say anything when you, when you run into confrontations, when you have arguments, when you do all these different things that you could have avoided upfront by just going through this process and sticking to the process and knowing that, hey, at the end of the day, look at the people around here.

10:20 These are the people that I love working with. They love working with us and that's who you want to be on your team anyway. So I think that that is huge. What would be another piece of advice that, um, you would give to somebody because it's something that you've done well, you talked about the recruiting aspect, uh, as you know, having that a streamlined process, what's another thing that you guys are doing as it ties into those expectations that we just outlined? Right? You do this this many times, this many times, so you've got to have a system to track that. A, we use C Su s ISU. Um, that's the system we're using to track our whole business now. We'd love it. Um, so now we try to figure out what's the best way to distribute leads. We've gone through all the different ways out there. We've tried a round Robin where, all right, Jonathan gets this lead, Kyle gets the next lead and this person gets the next lead, right?

11:08 Um, there's a lot of flaws with that. We've tried the shark tank, which is really popular right now. I think that's actually creates a ton of problems. There's really three to four problems depending on how you look at it. Let's say literally right this second we're shooting this podcast. A lead comes in. I've got a few options, right? Option one, I could be an asshole and be like, Hey Jonathan, I gotta grab this lead, Bro. Hold on, hold. We'll be right back. Um, and now I'm being an asshole to you, right? And now I'm going to take this lead. And you know, sometimes this happens at a restaurant. You're out with your husband and your wife. Whatever. This lead comes in, you see you, you get up from the table, so you're being rude to whoever you're at the table with. That's problem one. Problem two.

11:44 Now you're standing in the hallway and this person's asking about one to three main street. Well, you need to understand they've researched the hell out of one, two, three main street. They didn't at it for a second. Fill out the form and ask for somebody to call them. They've researched everything. They know. They've looked at every photo probably 20 times. They know the schools, they know the restaurants, they know the crime ratings. They know if there's a sex vendor in the neighborhood, they know the price history. They probably know the owners. They've literally researched everything. So they've spent 2030 minutes of researching this property and now here you are standing in the hallway of a restaurant trying to have a conversation with them. They're asking these questions about one, two, three main street. You don't know anything about it. Your dumb ass is putting your phone on speaker phone while you're in the restaurant.

12:23 There's all kinds of noise around you. They're asking you questions, you can't answer them. You're gonna lose that opportunity. So there's technically two problems there. Uh, the next problem is that lead comes in and I'm like, Ooh, that's $1 million one. I'm gonna take it and I'm gonna pretend to call it, but I'm not really gonna call. I'll just call it like when this podcast is done, then I'll then I'll call that lead. Love it or not team leaders, your agents are doing that, right? They're gonna do it. Um, that's not okay. Right. That creates a problem. Cause we all know speed to lead. Can, we were saying earlier, it's, you've got to follow up within seconds right now. It's not even minutes anymore. It's seconds. That little LRM, that lead response management study that MIT did look at the date on that. People, that thing is like over 10 years old now.

13:04 Like that's worthless. The one that says you gotta follow up in five minutes. This is 2019. I can have a, we're in California, I can have weed delivered to me in like five minutes. I wanted it like let's see where it's at, or I can have a car pick me up, I can have food brought to me, I can have whatever I want within a matter of minutes. You got to follow up with these leads within seconds. And a lot of these websites are sending them out to multiple people. So now the agent pretends to call. It doesn't really call. They go to call an hour later, they've already talked to two or three other agents. That opportunity is blown and then the the third or fourth problem, however you consider it gets created as the lead comes in and I'm like, Oh man, that's $1 million lead, but hey, I'm here in an appointment.

13:42 I can't grab it. I'll just let that one go. Well, the problem is your good agents are always in meetings. They never get the leads right. It's always the person who's sitting at the office playing around on Facebook all day who's quick to the trigger and grabs every lead that comes through and they good agent doesn't get any of those leads. So now you've got your shitty agents getting all the good leads and your conversion rate sucks. So will the system we've come up with is kind of taking the old school and bringing in new school. Well back in the day you used to sign up for floor time and you would, you know, sign up to work the front desk of the office. Cause people would literally walk in the front door and say like, Hey, I'm looking to buy a home here in San Diego. Can you help me?

14:20 And that was your lead. We'll now the front door is your website. It's Zillow, it's Paperclick, right? It's Facebook. That's where the, the front door is now. So our leads are distributed via this agent on duty system and the agents get to pick shifts, almost like a fantasy football draft. They get to pick shifts based on how many of those expectations they've completed. So the agents who are doing a better job with their role, getting on roleplay and doing their power hours and showing up to the meetings and all that, they're going to get the, uh, better selections of shifts because there are better shifts than others. Um, and so now the agents are signing up for three or four hour shifts and we have an agent who's on duty all day long. So from 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM, there's an agent in the office who's on duty.

15:06 And now when that lead comes in, they're sitting in front of a computer, they've got two screens pulled up in front of them. So now in the leads ask about one, two, three main street, they could pull that property up and they've got all the details right there in front of them. They're not in the hallway of a restaurant on speakerphone. Um, when that lead comes in, they're answering that call live. They're not, person's not going to get stuck trying to leave a voicemail. Um, or if the lead comes online, they're calling it within seconds. Um, so we solved the other problem. And then the last problem is now your good agents, they know, hey, for these three hours I'm at the office. Every lead that comes in is mine. And so it really solves a lot of those problems when it comes to how leads are handled.

15:42 And so again, everything for us is system support and structure. That's what we built it on and that's the system that we have in place for when those leads come in. I know your time is valuable. What is the last piece of advice that you would give to somebody that's looking to, uh, to start a team, fix a team, whatever it may be in the team building realm? What's that last piece of advice? The best piece of advice teams aren't for everybody. That's the best piece of advice. Just because you look at, you know, my team and we do 300 plus deals a year, that doesn't mean you need to go start a team. It's not right for everybody. Understand your strengths and your weaknesses. I like managing people. I get a big high off taking people from five transactions to 10 10 to 2020 to 30 like I get a high off of that.

16:28 If that doesn't give you a high then that might not be for you. There's some agents and running a big team like I do is not the most profitable model. Like my margin is very small. There's a more profitable model which is for you to be the rainmaker and you go out there and you crush it and you just have a bunch of admins surrounding you and supporting you. Maybe that's a better fit for you. So you got to understand what are your strengths and your weaknesses. If you suck at managing people and you have no desire to manage people, don't go build a team. Maybe you just need to have those three, four support people surrounding you so that they can prop you up and you can just go out and do what you do and crush it in some more houses. So that's the best advice.

17:05 Don't start a team cause somebody else started a team and you want to be like them. Start a team because it's something that you're passionate about. There's that saying, right? If you want to get what you want, you've got to help others get what they want. So if you believe in that truly, truly rule, then maybe a team is right for you. But if you hear that like, oh, that's some bullshit, probably shouldn't be running a teen. Where can, people can connect with you on social? If they have questions, I want to reach out. They heard you say something, talk about something. Where can they reach out to you? Yeah. So Facebook, don't add me on there. I can add ebony on there. Um, connect with me on Instagram at Kyle whistle or if you do want to connect on Facebook, we have a group, it's called the whistle way.

17:43 Um, whistles. W H. I. S. S. E. L. So you could also go to the whistle It'll direct you straight in that group. And we share a ton of good information in there, little snippets from our office meetings. We talk about some of the new tools and technology that we're implementing into our business. And it's a great way for people to ask questions. If somebody literally dms me a question, I'm going to say, Hey, go ask it in the group. Because if you have the question, there's a bunch of other agents that have that same question. Let's let everybody learn from the answer. Sweet. Thank you so much. I'm glad that you allowed us in here. And uh, I think that it's super important for anybody listening to this. Um, make sure that you re listen to the episode. Again, there's, there's quite a few things that he talked about. Don't just assume that you're going to be able to start a team or do the things that he's doing in one day.

18:26 Actually, you know, take one piece of advice, implement that, do the next, but start from the very beginning. And if your team is not in a good place right now, uh, maybe that's where you need to look first. Sweet. Thank you so much. Hey everybody, this is Jonathan Hawkins. Thank you so much for staying until the very end of this podcast. I definitely appreciate it. As always, make sure to reach out to me via social media at Jonathan Hawkins official. Send me a comment, shoot me a DM. If you have any questions, you can also comment below. Thank you so much. Don't forget to subscribe below and remember who you hire truly matters.