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Closing the gap: Mastering the art of asking the right questions

Recruiting isn’t a one-time event. As a broker, you don’t sit down with a realtor, wow them with a presentation about how wonderful your brokerage is, and then BAM! They join you. 

Recruiting is a process. Think of it like the difference between dating and getting married. Before someone decides to marry into the family, they need to get to know you. If you ask for the marriage on date one, the most likely response is no. Today, we’re focusing on a tiny part of that process, “the gap.”  

“The gap” is the space between the current services and support a prospect’s existing brokerage provides and what that person needs to grow. 

Think of it this way, identifying the gap is a little more detailed than ‘discovering someone’s motivation’ and a little less than providing a full-on business analysis with detailed financial statements. Thought of this way, that’s actually quite a lot of room for discovery about a realtor’s brokerage.  

So how, then, do we broach the subject?  

This can start as early as a first phone call. You might reach out to a target realtor and, after engaging them in some conversation, ask, “If you were in charge of your brokerage for a day, what would you change?”  

This one question leads to content for a meeting and provides a reason to meet. More importantly, gap questions will form a key part of your initial meeting.  

A typical meeting will begin with a little bit (or a lot) of rapport building. Take the time to get to know the person in front of you, not just the agent. If you aren’t sure what to ask about here, try some of these questions: 

  • What did you do before you were a realtor? 
  • Tell me a bit about your family. 
  • Since becoming an agent, what’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned about the business? 
  • How have setbacks or failures shaped your practice? 
  • What are you learning right now? 
  • What have you read that I should read? 
  • What are you reading right now? 


Don’t just ask the questions rapid-fire like an interviewer seeking information. Rapport building should be a natural process. Done well, the experience of the meeting should be something akin to meeting your new best friend.  

You may wonder why we’re spending this time asking rapport-building questions. The important thing here is that even if you’ve set the context of the meeting and drive right in, you’ll get pushback when you ask gap questions. 

Remember, you cannot “close” someone if they aren’t open. Building rapport eases someone into opening up to you. As an aside, if you spend an hour solely in rapport building, then end your meeting by booking meeting number two, you’ve had a huge win.  

When you hit the natural pause in the meeting where it’s time to move on from rapport to the purpose, ask a transition question or make a transition comment. 

This could be something along the lines of, “So with your office, if you ran it for a day, what would you change about it?” or, “You mentioned [BLANK] on the phone when we spoke. Tell me more about that.” This is the transition into the gap questions. 

Remember, we aren’t in the process of closing someone. We’re in the process of opening our potential recruit up to a deeper conversation. Resist the urge to solve the problems your recruit may raise. 

Think of the conversation flowing more like this: 

“If you were in charge of your office for a day, what would you change about it?” 


“How would changing that impact you/your business?”  


“What’s important about that (ANSWER 2) to you?” 

We’re taking the time to get a deeper understanding of how the person in front of you experiences their business and their relationship with their current brokerage.

Once you’ve dug into two or three gap questions, it may be time to close the meeting. Close this initial meeting with gratitude. Thank the realtor for their time, and let them know that you’re going to think about a few things they’ve said and even think about implementing some of their advice in your office. 

Reach out again a few days later to thank them again. Then think about the feedback that the agent gave you! When you next get that realtor on the phone, you can book another meeting, inviting them to share some of the thoughts from their last conversation.  

Bonus questions


Here are a few gap questions you might enjoy: 

  • What frustrates you about your office? 
  • How would you guide yourself if you were your broker? 
  • Where has your current office dropped the ball? 
  • How has the stress of [insert frustration here] impacted your business? 
  • Who is the most influential person with your broker, and what is it about that person that makes them influential?