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Building a team? Why and how to do it

Real estate teams got their start in the early 1990s, when agents realized that if they didn’t have an assistant, they were one. Since then, teams have grown to become the dominant form of organization for the most successful brokers and agents. But what makes a team successful and how do you build one?

Agents got the message that hiring an assistant could empower them to focus on their most important work. Some agents who hired assistants went on to build teams that included not just assistants but other agents, too. The team model has continued to evolve and grow, and today teams are outperforming even the best individual agents, according to data from Real Trends.

From 2011 to 2018, Real Trends found that the top 250 individual agents collectively in the U.S. saw a 21-per-cent increase in transaction sides. Meanwhile, teams’ transaction sides soared by 129 per cent – a more than five-fold greater increase.

So yes, running a successful team can deliver huge rewards. Teams can outperform individuals on market share and commission income. They also can give agents the satisfaction of focusing on that part of the business they are best at. And teams enhance the quality of life of everyone involved, by reducing the time they have to spend on admin and other disagreeable tasks.

Yet, building a team also requires sacrifices. A good team leader cannot be motivated just by personal gain. In fact, very often a team leader must put their personal goals aside and instead enshrine the interests of the team as a whole as their top priority.

The first question you have to ask yourself when considering building a real estate team is, what exactly can you offer?

What structure, technology, culture and opportunities will you give to team members that will make working with you more appealing and rewarding than the alternatives?

Lead gen

When it comes to what you will provide to your team, lead generation has to be at the top of the list.

Anyone who wants to lead a team must improve their lead generation skills. Without a constant flow of leads, there won’t be enough business to support the team members.

Team leaders are often distinguished from other agents by their powerful brand and their greater ability to generate leads and convert them to closed transactions. The other side of the coin is a brutal truth: if you don’t already have more business than you alone can handle, then you’re probably not yet ready to lead a team.

When you are ready to start your team, what should be your first step?

Many teams start at home, at the kitchen table. They often start with a successful agent bringing their spouse in to help them manage the excess of opportunity.

But whether or not your first team member is your spouse, the best leaders have a clear idea of what they intend to make of their teams and what kind of person they want on it. Some leaders prefer to have a group of similar individuals with the same outlook and experiences. Others want a mixture of talents and backgrounds so that each person is perfectly suited to a particular responsibility.

However you choose your team members, ultimately they need to become a cohesive group that is dedicated to the common goal. It’s your job as leader to provide the culture and the vision that bonds your team into a powerful force.