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Inman’s 2022 Year in Proptech discussed the rise of enterprise software, citing the introduction of large-scale solutions from Lone Wolf Technologies, Chime and Inside Real Estate.
Not to be dismissed within that trend is the news that each company also launched dedicated recruiting products last year. It’s important. With new brokerage models emerging, the influence of teams and heck, top producers finding their way onto television, attracting and keeping top talent seems, and pardon the cliché, more critical than ever.
Sean Soderstrom, the founder and CEO of Courted, an agent-performance tracking and networking app, has known for years why attracting the best agents is not only good for brokerages but better for their respective markets.
Courted’s latest product update is called Talent Solutions, and it’s currently in beta for states other than Florida, where it launched late this year. Soderstrom worked with his engineers to develop a brokerage-focused tool designed to recruit at scale, without embracing a “butts-in-seats” approach. The company wants brokers to find better agents en-mass, get them to stay and get them to believe in what the broker is building.
Soderstrom sees most brokerage recruiting efforts as disjointed, relying on referrals and an accepted decentralization. “Strategic growth manager” isn’t a common job title in real estate, and operations managers typically get roped into overseeing transaction coordinators and making financial decisions.
He was a real estate industry analyst at McKinsey and led expansion efforts for Compass during a critical growth period. His app reflects why an agent’s skill set in the trenches and general deal-making prowess is important to the industry. It’s important for real estate that its practitioners be good at sales.
He also believes that agents are becoming more aware of their roles within the success of a brokerage. In other words, it can’t succeed without them.
“So now, we’re seeing agents seriously question the value of the brokerage they work at and pay every time they close deals. We see a flight to brokerage quality and support versus a singular focus on splits,” Soderstrom said in an email.
Talent Solutions, for example, espouses a culture-building approach with gauges that measure recent success. And to ensure that success isn’t sporadic or in recent cases, a byproduct of the pandemic market, Courted includes performance forecasting to assist in predicting long-term growth.
In an interview with Inman, Soderstrom said brokers need to be proactive in both recruiting and retention.
“How can we better identify better rising star agents,” he said. “And, how likely are they to leave their company?”
Courted Talent Solutions can get precise enough to know the ideal time for an agent to make a shift without leaving behind the type of complicated financial artifacts that create friction during a transition.
“This is where predictive analytics come in,” Soderstrom said. “That’s the bread and butter of two-thirds of our founding team, who have done built such tools for other industries.”
Those analytics can be turned inward to identify, as Soderstrom puts it, “flight risks.” The software actively monitors agents’ contract anniversary dates so retention tactics can be put in place early.
Being culture-centric is key, he says.
“A lot of the success of the brokerages that have done well over the last decade is a function of recruiting success,” Soderstrom said. “This was part of Mike Delprete’s takeaways from Inman Connect this year. And, if you deconstruct that success, much of it has to do with culture.”
Soderstrom says the best way to help maintain or establish culture is to ask existing agents who they want to work with. The problem, he says, is getting agents to provide that information at scale. “They’re not incentivized to do it.”
The solution is to mine the data that sits, “just outside of your brokerage walls.”
Courted’s proprietary filters are consistently ranking agents that are brokerage-adjacent and market-wide. It sorts profiles according to companies, mutual connections, high-future growth, production in a specific market or radius, likelihood to move, sales volume, estimated GCI and other similar markets. When a match breaches a pre-set threshold within a specific filter, hiring managers are notified via text, mobile home-screen alerts, in-app or email.
Matches are presented in a tiled interface with pictures, brokerage names, statistics and pending and active listings, as well as the ideal moving date.
The data highlights any connections prospects have to your brokerage and also compares performance to current team members, useful for determining where they may best fit within your office structure, which can be applied by office location and market.
Like Courted’s overall user experience, Talent Solutions shows off clean, minimalist ergonomics that smartly condense features and menus. Soderstrom said there are plans to work with popular CRM systems to instigate outreach campaigns for desired agents. Until then, the data will be exportable.
Courted was initially reviewed by Inman in November 2021 and updated in April 2022. Initial concerns surrounded the founding team’s ability to get the data it needed to back its tools, an issue that appears to be overcome for now.
Courted was selected as a member of the REACH Class of 2022, a National Association of Realtors-backed business catalyst developed to foster new technology companies in real estate. The company was also named a New Kid on the Block at Inman Connect Las Vegas in 2021.