How to recruit the top agents in town

Shared: February 16, 2021

By: Dean Cottrill

This article covers the proven perspective and strategies for brokerages to recruit top producing agents. The successful formula involves a mix of understanding agent personas and archetypes, and then employing a strategy that leverages these for a particular market and brokerage.

One of the fastest ways to increase market share is to recruit productive agents. However, there is no quick fix to recruiting top agents, or retaining top talent. It requires a focused approach on multiple levels. A successful process starts by reviewing the wants and needs of top agents in the target market and then working to make sure the offerings and messaging matches those wants and needs.

This exercise is worth it because agents are the lifeblood of successful brokerages, and top agents are their heart. They bring the listings and the buyers upon which brokers make commissions, sell ancillary services and elevate the firm’s brand.

This is one reason that recruiting occupies two of 10 modules of T3 Sixty’s MBA-style program for real estate brokers and teams T3 Fellows.

Like many aspects of running a successful business, recruiting top agents does not happen in isolation. The practice requires a clear understanding of brand, where the firm sits in its market’s competitive landscape, its overall business goals, a deep understanding of its business and much more.

Successful recruiting involves understanding the four primary agent archetypes, how those archetypes match the personas that fit a brokerage’s target market, and then choosing and implementing a recruiting strategy.

Understand Top Producer Personas

T3 Fellows program details four primary agent personas that can be useful in recruiting. They are:

  • New Nicole, a new agent
  • Second Career Sam, a professional beginning a second career in real estate
  • Active Amy, a professional real estate agent focused on growing her business
  • Maturing Michelle, a top producer who has an established business and knows how to operate her business inside and out

The latter two personas will be the personas brokerages target when recruiting top producers.

Getting clear about which top producer persona a brokerage wants to target will help a brokerage design an effective strategy for recruiting them.

Active Amy has the time, energy and focus to grow her business, but, as her business and life is on a sharp upward slope, she could use guidance, new systems and tools and additional ways to grow her business. She would fit best in a brokerage providing structure and support in the form of coaching and systems to help accelerate her business.

Maturing Michelle, on the other hand, has mastered much of what Amy’s hustling to develop. She has a robust repeat-and-referral base, has refined client skills, a strong network, a fair amount of personal wealth but sees time as her most precious, limiting resource. Brokerages who can streamline her work life, help her maintain and grow her business while giving her some of her life back will get her attention.

Pick the Agent Archetype that Fits

In addition to understanding agent personas, brokerages can better, more efficiently attract the right agents by matching their particular strengths with the agent archetype that best fits their business.

There are four primary ways agents make money, characterized by how they primarily do business. T3 Sixty calls these the four agent archetypes. They are:

  • The Networker: Networkers sell through their relationships and their networks – thus their key strength is building and developing those relationships.
  • The Prospector: Prospectors make use of their skill and discipline at prospecting to make a living. They don’t need much more than a database of people to call to make a living – even if they have never talked to them before.
  • The Converter: Converters buy leads and convert them; they are reliant on an advertising budget and their skill at converting inquiries into relationships to make a living. They require capital to get started and must have the discipline it takes to be highly responsive, follow up, and convert these leads.
  • The Marketer: Marketers are an expert at something – a niche, a type of real estate, a neighborhood – and broadcast this expertise to the world. They attract people that value their expertise and skill in their particular area.

Recruiting Strategies

There are three primary strategies to employ when recruiting top producers: acquiring them, offering them targeted marketing services and developing a joint venture relationship.

The act of acquiring top producers involves offering a signing bonus. This will get top agents’ attention, especially with a well-crafted offer. When evaluating top agents’ production, determine the amount of company dollar they would generate to help formulate the offer.

For example, if they would generate $50,000 in company dollar in one year, negotiate a sign-on bonus of up to $50,000. This ensures a one-year breakeven, which becomes a net positive after that. In addition, the agreement would stipulate that agents would need to pay back a prorated portion of the signing bonus if they were to leave before the agreed to time period ended (typically between three to five years).

Offering targeted marketing services can also attract top agents. This can involve identifying a target market, whether a geography, property type or another feature, and then developing a marketing plan for growing the brokerage’s presence there with the help of a talented agent. T3 Sixty calls this the Primary Market approach. Approaching a top producer with this plan in place and by offering to share or potentially even cover the startup marketing costs can help land a top agent.

Successful agents like owning things, which is why a joint venture strategy can help attract top producing agents. This could include joint ventures of the brokerage’s business, and or mortgage and title operations for example.


Recruiting top agents has a multiplier effect. It increases market share and as market share improves, retention often improves as existing agents feel they hang their license at a growing company where their colleagues want to work. Using the acquisition method to recruit top agents and or the primary market exercise are two proven methods to increase your top agent count as well as your market share. Happy recruiting!