If you’re ready to take on a junior broker, congratulations! Building out a team can take some weight off your shoulders while bringing in more business.
But before that happens, there’s a lot you’ll have to figure out: how to find the right person, which tasks to start them off with, and finally, how to negotiate a fair commission split. Today, we’ll delve into the details of hiring your first junior broker—form bringing them onboard to bringing in your first deal together.
How to hire the right person
Make your life (or at least the hiring process) easier by making sure your potential junior broker ticks a few checkboxes first. At the very minimum, they should:
- Already have a real estate license. To be truly useful, they’re going to need it—no exceptions. If they don’t, point them to the right resources for your state and tell them to call you back when they’re ready.
- Be hungry for success--and ready for the long game. Let’s be honest: it takes time to earn money in commercial real estate. First they’ll have to endure being bombarded by “no” a million times, cold calling only to get hung up on, and working late without anything to show for it. It takes a special kind of person to make it through those first trying months (or years!). Don’t invest the time and energy to train someone who’ll just leave you when something easier comes up—and almost everything is easier than this.
For more hiring insights, check out how commercial real estate can attract top talent.
What to do in those crucial first days and weeks
In these early stages, you’re giving the junior broker a valuable chance to learn from a seasoned pro while testing their ability to keep up with your pace and expectations. Here’s where to start them off:
- Have a training program in place. This doesn’t have to be complicated, especially if this is your first junior broker. But do give some thought to what you’ll need to teach them from the very beginning, so you’re not just making it up as you go. For example, if you’re putting them on the phones, give them the strategies that helped you be a better cold-caller. Arm them with the knowledge and resources they’ll need to succeed, because in the end, their success is your success. Just be sure you aren’t doing too much teaching and not enough doing—after all, they ultimately need to see you in action (and you need to keep your core business going!).
- Encourage observation. Begin by letting the junior broker shadow you and observe how you run the show: take them to meetings with you so they can start to learn how you handle not only successful deals but prospective clients. Explain that at first, they’ll be doing a lot of watching, observing, and learning. Just having them join you in your day-to-day routine is a good way to give them the learning and exposure they'll need.
- Have them start picking up the phone…and the leads, and the listings. Next, have the junior broker start cold calling. Some brokers do this from day #1, while others allow for a period of observation and learning first. In general, the more time your junior broker spends on the phone, the better they’ll get at it—so there’s really no getting past this crucial step. They should also start using their own talent and resources to pick up whatever listings they can—which should be co-brokered with you. Have them set up meetings that you, of course, will accompany them to to help everything run smoothly.
- Send them out into the world. Encourage them to do everything they can to learn about your market: they should be driving around, getting familiar with the area, and making calls to figure out the market's going rates, current vacancy situation, and so on. They should be going from door to door, shaking hands, passing out flyers and business cards, and doing a bit of problem-solving to figure out what tenants are paying, when leases are expiring and where, and so on. This is all part of building their market knowledge and ultimately, their database.
- Bring them in on existing projects. Pull them into projects you already have in play so they can learn what goes into a successful deal. Your junior broker can start out by returning phone calls and taking prospects out on tours, for example. Also consider feeding them a few leads at first. Yes, we know, you had to fight for every single lead you ever got, but consider helping your new junior broker out at first: it’ll build their confidence and give them the experience they need to land their own wins.
- Give them something to work towards. As the junior broker earns more independence, you still want to check in on them regularly to help them with areas they’re struggling with and to keep them on track. Work with the junior broker to establish appropriate goals, and then make sure they’re actually reaching them (or step in to help when they aren’t).
For more insights on working with young brokers, read our post on Mentoring a millennial broker: What you need to know.
How to set up a commission split
Be sure you arrange a fair payment structure with your junior broker: a 50/50 split may be a good place to start, or you could negotiate something that works for both of you. After all, they’re not doing this for free—but neither are you. They’ll want fair compensation for their work (and let’s be honest, they’ll be doing a lot of it), but you also want a great return on the time, money, and energy you invested into training this person.