You’ve decided it’s time. You are 10 seconds from throwing your phone out the window, quickly followed by your laptop overflowing with emails, and all you can think about is a vacation. You shouldn’t complain because a real estate agent can never have too much business, but look, you need help. It’s time to put a team into place, but it’s not going to be easy. We’ve come up with 5 keys to building a real estate team to help get you back to your happy place.
Set Clear Goals & Targets
Like Tony Robbins says, “Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.” What do you want out of this team? Do you want to do 400 transactions a year? Do you want to be able to take a vacation once in a while? Have you been sacrificing service for volume and you finally want the chance to give every client the attention they deserve? Everyone is going to have different goals for themselves, but it’s time to put yours on paper. Make sure they are quantified in some way and review them often.
While you are already writing, think about what the team would have to do to achieve those goals. Set benchmarks that can help you and future team measure progress. These will establish a clear vision for your building your real estate team and be the beginning of your business plan.
Invest in Systems & Processes
In order to have the high functioning team you’ve been dreaming about, you are going to have to get yourself, and your processes, in order before making a hire. Technology can play a key role in supporting teams of all sizes. Write down everything you do on a daily basis and the systems you use to accomplish those things. What is already automated? Are there other tools out there that could streamline your processes and make them more efficient? The less time your team members are spending on menial tasks, the more they can focus on those things that drive revenue.
Think about processes around lead generation, transaction management, task management, follow up systems, finances and accounting. You want them to be as easy, efficient, and as scalable as possible.
Get a Transaction Coordinator
A transaction coordinator (TC), should no doubt be your first hire. In addition to being able to help you with the systems and processes step above, they will be the foundation of your team. They can free up time by chasing down paperwork, organizing all the tasks from contract-to-close, and several administrative tasks in between.
If you aren’t quite ready to commit to a TC on salary for your team, there are other virtual TCs out there that provide the same services on a per transaction basis. The downside, you might not find one that can fill their extra time with administrative duties or documenting your processes. Even though a virtual TC might not do everything you want, they are someone you can count on to manage your transaction to-dos that isn’t you, or a member of your future team.
Hire the Right People
When you’re recruiting real estate agents, take your time during the hiring process, and you won’t regret it later. The key to a good team dynamic is having like-minded people, working towards the same goals and vision. (Remember, you’ve already established those so that you can make sure they match up with any potential hires) Poor hires can be costly, so decide ahead of time how you’ll weed out the candidates.
Many people use personality assessments, like the Myers-Briggs, to decide if a candidate will be a good fit. Others go off pure intuition. Whatever you choose, look closely at what motivates them, their values, and what unique things they can bring to your real estate team. Consider their experience with learning technology, interpersonal skills, and communication. All are critical indicators of how successful they will be as part of the team.
Also, be very clear in your expectations of each team member. Make sure everyone on the team is aware of one another’s roles. There are various ways to structure teams, and we’ll get into the various structures in a later article.
Regardless of your team structure, make sure you have some form of written agreement in place. Here’s an example of a real estate team agreement (click here).
Create a Real Team Environment
Once you have built your team, you are responsible for leading it and making it flourish. There are so many aspects to this, but there are a couple key things to keep in mind. First, the success of your team can be dependent on good training and mentorship. Be sure everyone hired is well equipped to jump into your processes and technology, and assure them that you and the other team members are available to answer questions.
To keep everyone striving for the same goals, meet as a group and meet often. Not only is this a chance for you to align goals and motivate the team, it gives the team a chance to bring up in struggles they have and cultivate and collaborate on new ideas.
Also, don’t forget the importance of leading by example. Hold yourself to the same kind of standards and values that you have for the others on the team. If you expect two hours of lead generation a day, commit yourself to time blocking out time for yourself to commit to the same thing. If you expect your team to exceed average thresholds for service and experience, show them what that means to you.
It Will Be Worth It
The thought of building a real estate team might sound intimidating, but you’ve seen the signs that it’s time. Take it step by step, and don’t underestimate your own abilities to scale beyond what you imagined for team.