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Unlocking success: Leverage and compensation structures for high performing teams

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Most agents want to get down to the money. They look for teams offering the highest split percentage, factoring in culture, service and value exchange last. But if it were just about splits, why choose a team, anyway? 

We need support. The more successful we become, the more obvious it is that we can’t get it all done on our own. Agents are spread so thin between prospecting, lead conversion, admin and operations that training and mentorship feel like luxuries they don’t have time for. But, entering a team space from the perspective of an underwater solo agent is counterproductive.

This is why we need to shift our paradigm into value before compensation. The first mistake in dysfunctional team cultures is operating from a belief that smaller splits equate to less profit. 

As a high-performance business expert, I’ve supported the growth and development of countless top one percent national teams in building ecosystems that thrive on leverage, strategic compensation structures and empowered leadership. I spoke with some of Canada’s top-performing team leaders at the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board’s (TRREB) Realtor Quest to spill their best tips for successful teams. 


Leverage vs. compensation structures


Leading The Heddle Group, a high-performance team of five sales representatives to 200 to 300 unit sales per year, Mike Heddle insists that compensation structures need to be complicated. He urges agents and leaders to have a necessary conversation around net versus gross income. 

“You can have great gross sales, and at the same time, your net could be upside down.” 

Data-driven teams that implement efficient systems protect your net income. To get there, panellists unanimously agree that 50/50 splits are unsustainable. Value creates more value. If the team covers the costs of administration, training and mentorship and gets agents on booked appointments with converted leads, the compensation structure will reflect that. 

It comes down to systems that save you time and money in the long run. The value of collaborative environments relieves agents of tedious tasks and keeps them on the sales field doing more of what they love, which translates into higher sales volume overall. 

Without time-saving support and guidance on investing in systems, higher splits can’t support your growth. If you were sinking as a solo agent, the same dynamic will persist. High profits are the result of momentum from sales, skills mastery and building inspiring relationships, so conversations around compensation need to centre on how the team facilitates production growth. 


Leaders empower more leaders 


The essence of every high-performance team stems from conscious leadership. The overall consensus amongst every leader on the panel is this: it’s not about us; it’s about them. Brad Miller, team lead of Goodale Miller Team — a niche luxury business in Oakville, Ont. and Century 21’s number one team globally — emphasizes caring for people first. His leadership philosophy centres on the value of mentorship and personal connection. He encourages leaders to support their teams by understanding their capacity for achievement year to year. Are you attuned to what is going on in their lives?



Chuck and Melissa Charlton are life-first leaders, too. They believe inspiring leadership in others stems from being interested in them as people first. You have to support your team in life before business because, more often than not, a chaotic life is the precursor to derailed business. “If you can solve the life part, business just happens.”

It’s a pattern with leaders running healthy, thriving teams. 

Named one of the “100 Most Influential in Real Estate” by Inman, Amy Youngren has led the North Group to rank in the Top .01 per cent in Canada by TRREB. She states that empowering leaders within a team starts by knowing the difference between their goals and yours. Her approach to steering her team to exceptional results is focusing on each member’s goals and targets and determining how the North Group will help them achieve it. 


The bottom line


Why do these practices work? I’ve seen this magic flourish with thousands of top one per cent agents, team leaders and brokerages, and I believe it’s because it keeps people happy. We’re on an adventure to live our best lives, and the happier, more supported individuals are, the better they perform. 

We receive the energy we give — and Canada’s top-producing team leaders share this approach to conscious leadership: agents need to be supported in education, expert-level training, data-driven systems and most importantly, community. High production follows empowered leadership. 


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