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One21 Session Recap: Onboarding system for new agents

Director, Marketing Programs
Director, Marketing Programs
Vivien Wang
Vivien is the Director of Marketing Programs at ZapLabs, where she leads a team focused on converting Zap users into fans through engaging content, events, and communications.


Annette Wilcox, owner of Century 21 Premiere Properties, shared an overview of her onboarding system for new agents at the recent One21 conference. What makes her program different? Its laser focus on rapid ramp-up, building relationships and relentless support as critical factors for new agent effectiveness.


Rapid ramp-up

Any new agent working for Annette will sit down in the first four hours of onboarding to fill out forms together, write his or her bio and set up professional, branded social media accounts. As she puts it, “Why am I spending all day teaching agents how to use social media when they will only do it once?” Annette has a young millennial on staff to monitor her agents' social media postings.

Part of the value package for recruiting agents includes providing new agents with the tools for quickly getting down to business – from basics like a name badge, five name riders, 1000 business cards and car magnets to advertising and promotion through a newspaper release and introductions on social media and in the Monthly Homes Guide.

Regardless of whether they are new or seasoned, her agents must attend five listings and five showing appointments with her. This is because Annette believes there is value in the way C21 teaches agents to do listing presentations. As a firm believer in training (calling herself “the first agent in C21 history to take every class offered in the universe,”) she also institutes a mandatory training for her agents.

While agents may not use every tool, she and her staff can train on all of the tools that C21 has to offer. For example, Annette notes that her business is rated #1 in the nation for Zap usage. Not only do they hold weekly talks on Zap, she has a full-time person dedicated to Zap, who is easily accessible for additional trainings.


Building relationships

Right from the start, Annette lays the foundation for building and sustaining relationships. Seasoned agents are paired with new agents; “seasoned enough to mentor” in her book means that you've been working with her for at least five years.

Weekly success meetings enjoy a 99% attendance at both offices, and feature guest speakers such as bankers, home mortgage companies, title companies and other real estate related companies. This type of topic coverage means that agents have the change to gain in-office CE hours. “There's no cost to us, and they have the opportunity to interact with speakers and ask the tough questions. Every agent has more CE than they need in the first three years of real estate, and it makes me feel good as an owner,” says Annette. During this time, agents can also discuss questions about current deals, stay up to date on new technology (“We are always on some sort of beta test!” exclaims Annette), and enjoy free food. This range of activities helps foster a more cohesive office.

Directly following each weekly success meeting is a one-hour long “Agent Power Zone.” Comparative Market Analysis and Expired letters as well as address labels are printed ahead of time and a counter is set up where agents can hand-write thank you messages, fold letters, and stamp envelopes. Not only does this give a new agent a jump start into marketing him/herself, Annette considers the Power Zone to be an hour-long bonding session. “It costs me $800 per month to do this, and I'm up about 10 listings/month as a result. Separate from mailings, I am spending an hour being a part of my agents' lives every week. They see that I am invested in them,” she says.


Relentless support

Agents need to know they are not forgotten, even when the owner is busy. Not surprisingly, Annette's self-proclaimed favorite saying is, “I'm never too busy for my agents, ever.” Ten o'clock is her cutoff for picking up her phone. To her, owner commitment and availability are paramount for agent success. “After hours, I'm only one phone call away. I always have time to walk through problems. And I have a checklist for each agent, for when I call them every week or two, for no reason.”

Annette also ensures that her agents get all the support they need with the backing of a great office staff. A client specialist helps agents with mailings and postcards is they are unable to, and can educate and train on C21 tools like Zap. The refrigerator is always stocked with water, snacks, and coffee. Lunches are provided occasionally (to quarterly top agents and new agents).

Establishing a professional, clean work environment that agents can take pride in is also important. Annette's offices have closing rooms on site – to keep agents productive and to celebrate clients. “We don't go to title companies. We provide closing rooms and every title company is on board with this. This way, my agents can still be in the office and remain productive. An email is sent out to the team the night before, and our client specialist welcomes each buyer by name. Other agents stop by to congratulate new homeowners. It's important for new agents to receive this support first-hand from other agents,” she says.

“We're in a relationship business,” says Annette. Her agent onboarding system's commitment to rapid ramp-up, relationship building and relentless support have served as a solid foundation for the ongoing success of her business.


What are some great agent onboarding tips or practices that you have used, or experienced?

Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.