You may be wondering how to build a real estate team that will help you succeed in your local market. Many agents find themselves in this position after a few years in the business. It may be time to set higher goals and take your business to the next level by building your own real estate team.
You need to ask yourself if you are really prepared to start a real estate team. You should be aware of any potential problems that could occur. You also need to figure out where to start.
What Defines a Great Real Estate Team?
Any licensed real estate professional can start a real estate team. Most new teams are formed by agents or brokers who have they can do by themselves. The size of a real estate team varies widely from a humble duo to several licensed and unlicensed professionals working together on everything from admin to marketing and selling properties.
A real estate team’s success is determined by the team members’ skillsets and the team’s common goal. Each team member should be invested in the success of the group and in helping other members with their challenges.
Step 0: Double-Check Your Decision
It’s important to think about whether starting a real estate team is the right business move for you. There are a few factors you should keep in mind.
Do you have enough volume to make it work?
The most important factor is if you have enough volume to justify building a team. If you have so many listings and transactions in progress that you’re sacrificing new leads, you may not have enough time to spend on generating new business.
A general benchmark is 40 transactions per year. Most individual agents can handle 50-60 transactions. If you’re averaging one transaction per week, you’ll likely need help to handle additional leads.
Will you be able to generate enough new business to make hiring a new employee worth it? Starting a real estate team can be an exciting decision, but it’s important to make sure that the financial benefits will be worth it.
If you are a new real estate agent, you should not start a team. This will cost you more money and you need to be sure that you have enough business to support yourself and additional families.
Are you ready to be a team leader?
in Los Angeles. Although you might be a successful independent agent, heading a team requires a different set of talents. “Many agents don’t realize how much they need to change to go from being a top agent to leading a top team,” says Taylor Hack from HACK&Co. in Los Angeles.
If you have the ability to lead or are willing to learn, then starting a team could be the best option for you.
Are you starting a team for the right reasons?
Kathleen Black says that there are many team leaders who come into the role for the wrong reasons, even if they are overwhelmed with incoming opportunities.
Many team leaders do not see themselves as being in charge of the situation, like a theater owner.Instead, they see themselves as the star performer. However, this is not what a team is.
This is important to keep in mind as you continue because it will be key to know your strengths and weaknesses, as well as those of your team.
Step 1: Get Your Underlying Systems in Order
Every great play starts with a game plan.
To start building a real estate team, set your revenue goals and determine how many leads and team members you need to meet those goals.
As team leader, your primary role is to generate leads. It is crucial that your systems are able to handle an increase in lead volume, as you will need agents available to manage leads from many sources.
According to co-founder of WBNL Enterprises and real estate coach Jan O’Brien, these are the key real estate systems to set up as you get started:
- Business Plan and Goals
- Vision, Purpose, and Brand
- Marketing and Advertising
- Database and Referral System
- Listing Inventory and Farming System
- Buyer, Escrow, and Transaction Management System
- Lead Generation and Follow-up Systems
- Internet, Blogging, and Social Media Marketing
- Financial, Productivity, Profitability Reports, and Forecasts
Just like Jan, Dean Linnell has learned how to systemize everything.
As a former ski instructor who is now working as a solo agent, Dean relies heavily on technology to help him stay organized. The center of his technology stack is Follow Up Boss, which helps him stay streamlined across the team by integrating with his core lead sources and other tools.
All his fine-tuning has reaped serious rewards:
He says that when they had a team of three buyer agents and two assistants, he did 97 deals that year. But once they got their systems dialed in, he was able to do 92 deals on his own.
That’s what we call firing on all cylinders.
Step 2: Hire the Right Role at the Right Time
Despite the fact that there is a lot of advice telling people not to do it, many team leaders still add buyer’s agents before they have their core business systems in place.
However, you cannot assume that your rainmakers will also be good at admin work. This is why it is so important to have your real estate systems running smoothly before they join. That way, when your high-powered agents come on board, they can just plug in and keep going without being hindered by inefficient processes.
If you are short on time and need to get your house in order, hire someone to do your admin work. This will free up your time so that you can focus on other things.
If you are an agent who closes more than 30 deals a year, you should not have any trouble affording a full-time assistant. However, if you are overwhelmed by paperwork and believe you will have more transactions in the future, there are some affordable remote options, such as MyOutDesk and Real Estate Assistant.
Now that you have the paperwork out of the way and your systems are up and running, you can start giving some of your leads to a skilled buyer specialist.
The most important thing for this buyer agent is to make sure that no potential customer is lost. You should give them a plan for developing leads that is foolproof, and be prepared to hold them accountable for keeping the customer list up to date and for following up with potential customers.
If you think you’re going to exceed the 4 transaction limit per month, then you should bring on a second agent or ISA.
One example of a high-performance team structure is Ben Kinney’s Real Estate Team of the Future. This team is composed of a Lead Agent, a Buyer’s Agent, a Client Services Specialist, an Office Manager, and an Online Marketing Manager. Each team member brings their own unique skill set to the table, which allows the team to operate efficiently and effectively.
Inside Sales Agent
Your agent is going to be very busy with buyers and you will be too with listings. Be focused on both the long and short-term goals.
Inside sales agents can help you close more deals in a shorter amount of time. Now is the ideal time to hire an inside sales agent. ISAs are able to help you close deals more quickly.
An ISA can greatly increase an agent’s GCI simply by taking on the tasks that agents don’t want to do, for example: making phone calls.
Step 3: Get your Systems in Order
Before hiring people, you need to make sure your real estate processes and systems are running smoothly. That way, when you hire new real estate agents, you can offer them a solid structure to work from and get them producing quickly.
Systems you need include (but are not limited to):
- Branding guides – Which colors, fonts, slogans, and logos will your real estate team use? How will you design your business cards, website and signs, and listing packages?
- Tools and software – Which tools and productivity software will you need? There are a million ways to structure your work day, but how will you make sure your team stays on task? Tools such as ClickTime help real estate professionals stay accountable and keep track of work done within the brokerage.
- Client database maintenance and growth plans – How will you grow and maintain your client base? What is your follow-up system? Which software do you use to manage your contacts? A reliable and dynamic CRM is a must in every real estate business. Your CRM is the foundation of your client contact information management and should be organized to make following up and reaching out easy and intuitive. For example, you can use your CRM to organize warm prospects into a marketing funnel and assign prospecting groups to different team members. Realtorfuel websites offer a CRM integration that automatically aggregates any online lead into your CRM, hassle free.
- Transaction management systems – How will you process all your real estate transactions? Software such as BrokerMint or Paperless Pipeline automate reminders, tasks, and keep record of finances. However, as your office grows, you’ll want to step up to a real transaction coordinator.
- Internet presence and content marketing strategy – Do you have a real estate website? How will you market your properties online? What kind of content will you produce? How do you plan to expand your online presence in the future? Before you jump in to any type of digital marketing, you’ll need a digital marketing strategy made specifically for your real estate business and clientele. The basis of this strategy will be your real estate website.
Step 4: Use Your Intuition
Kyle Alfriend, a Realtor from Dublin, Ohio, has been in the business for over 20 years and knows a lot about putting together a good team. His slogan, “Independently Unified” reminds team members that it’s important to be both self-motivated and aware of the bigger picture. He says this is something that can’t be measured by tests.
But he’s also made some mistakes in the past. Here’s what his hiring process looks like:
- First, his staff conducts an initial phone screening.
- Next is an interview which incorporates some Myers-Briggs testing. The main focus of this step is weeding out the bad candidates—not finding the good ones.
- Finally, the candidate gets to Kyle. “The more ‘out of the box’ I want them, which is marketing and sales, the more I follow my gut. However, on the more procedural or compliance-related jobs, like closing coordinators or processors, the more I allow the questionnaires and personality tests to decide,” Kyle explains.
Regardless of what position he is in, Kyle always makes the final decision based on how he feels.
Step 5: Get To Know Your Team
When you have found the right team members, the next step is to figure out how to create a positive team atmosphere. Look into which personality types work well together and with each type of client. For example, a charismatic ESFJ agent can help an introverted INTJ learn how to relax during tense client discussions. An ENTJ who loves being around others would do a great job sourcing leads through community outreach and local events. An ISFJ, however, gets drained from too much socializing and should focus on creating a website that doubles as a lead generation machine.
Personality types should not get in the way of representing the brand and creating positive client experiences. Hire team members who are willing to work together, and avoid those who are looking to be in the spotlight. Put a system in place to reward top performers.
Step 6: Decide on Your Team Structure
As we mentioned earlier, teams come in all shapes anf sizes. We can’t tell you exactly how to build a real estate team, however most teams consider these four main structures:
- Mentor and Mentee
- Two Agent Partners
- Team Lead Structure (pyramid0
- Lead Team Structure
It is important to have a clear structure for your team in order to make onboarding new employees easy. You should have a plan and guide for new employees that includes all of the necessary documents, handbooks, style guides, and system guides. Additionally, make sure to include web access and instructions for how to collaborate with other employees.
Step 7: Lead with Why
When it comes to business, it’s important to lead with your “why.” This is something that successful people always keep in mind.
But why is “why” so important?
According to Kent Clothier, the purpose of having a team is to take the pressure off of the entrepreneur by growing the business and helping clients. Micromanaging defeats this purpose.
According to Kent, the most important elements of a successful business are hiring the right people and having effective systems in place. However, he emphasizes that none of this matters unless the people on your team are committed to the organization’s goals and feel motivated to help the business succeed.
Knowing your employees’ personalities and productivity styles helps you understand what motivates them. Matching their personal drivers to the company’s mission will keep them engaged and eager to work.
According to Kent, the best teams are those who share common belief systems, values, and purpose.
Step 8: Don’t Forget the Little Things
One of the most common mistakes when you start to grow is to forget the small things that caused your growth in the first place.
Joe Arsenio, a broker associate at The 82 Group in California, decided to increase the size of his team when he saw a drastic increase in volume.
The text is saying that when the author and their partner agents reached a point where they were consistently getting more acceptances than closings, they realized they needed to hire more agents to maintain their level of service.
Joe and his team recognize the importance of excellent customer service and have therefore hired more showing agents, internal customer service representatives, and transaction coordinators.
Train Your Team to Go Above and Beyond
Joe and his team always over-communicate.
He recommends going above and beyond when answering a question, being proactive with responses, and providing more details and information so that the client feels comfortable that you are looking out for their best interests.
Step 9: Don’t Beat Yourself Up
According to Sep Niakan of HB Roswell Realty, it’s not easy to hire the right employees, and it takes perseverance to keep going through the cycle of hiring and training until you have the right team. Additionally, you will likely never find someone who is as motivated or driven as you are.
The desire to be successful from the outset is understandable, but some skills take more time to master. Leadership might be the most difficult and important lesson to learn.
Sep is the most successful broker in the Greater Downtown Miami area and he is also the founder of CondoBlackBook.com which is Miami’s most reliable and comprehensive condo-only real estate search.
So yeah, he’s been around the block a few times and knows what too many agents are quick to forget:
Leadership is a lifelong process.