In our last article I said that joining a real estate team could either be the best decision or the worst decision you make in your real estate career. It’s a bold statement and I stand by it.
An individual's career in real estate is a delicate thing, particularly in the first few years. So in this moment of risk and vulnerability, What should someone be looking for?
What makes a real estate team great?
As a team owner, what can you learn from this?
Most importantly, what are the reasons your team MIGHT Suck?
1: Building a team shouldn’t be a means to an end
Typically people start teams because they have more business than they can manage on their own. As they grow they achieve incredible things and young agents looking up to them often admire their success.
Seeing the team's success from the outside, it’s easy to assume that the team members are responsible for the success. While this may be true, it bears the need for perspective. Yes, the team members are contributing significantly to the success of the team, but powerful teams are always rooted in the foundations of the leaders strength. The leader of the team needs to bring the most value to the team, that’s why they are the leader.
The leader needs to push the hardest in hard times, generate the most leads, celebrate the team successes the loudest and put in the extra time when someone needs support.
Powerful teams are always rooted in the energy and vision of the leader. Don’t build a team hoping to fix your lack of energy or leads, it’s like having a baby to save a relationship. Work on making yourself and your business the best version of itself it can be. Soon you’ll find yourself so busy that you HAVE to build a team.
2: The team has no unified purpose
Often teams will come together by accident. The founder is great at generating leads and goes out and hires a few agents to support them. Everyone is making money but… that's it.
Great teams have something ELSE which ties the group together. They aren’t transactional in their relationships to their colleagues and this is something which translates into the way they show up and the way they serve their clients.
There isn’t a RIGHT thing to be unified in, the point is more that there is a clear purpose outside of closing transactions and making money.
Some great examples of this are teams which are focused on creating wealth for their partners and clients, serving their community inside and outside of the sales process through engaging where they live, or it could be as simple as a team which is centred around shared values and that’s what draws them together.
At Endgame, our values tie our coaches together and to our clients. In your business, you need something bigger than just selling houses and making money. Give your teammates something bigger to be part of and your relationship with both your team and your clients will be less transactional.
#3: Leadership is disengaged
So many teams end up this way and it’s sad.
Finding and partnering with amazingly talented people is an amazing way to build leverage into the life of the team's founder. The problem is that the leader often builds a one way relationship, leveraging the team and not giving anything in return.
My perspective is that the biggest value in being part of a team is the opportunity to be close to the leadership. Learning through shadowing, attending training and receiving coaching from proven and talented people is more valuable than the leads you would receive. Further to this, agents on a team need energy to keep up with the ongoing task load of client follow up and services. Without someone leading the charge and bringing energy to the group things can quickly unravel.
Don’t bring people into your world and turn your back on them, everyone deserves better than what will come from a relationship like that.
#4: The opportunity just isn’t there
One thing talented people need is a path ahead to see themselves grow personally and advance in their career.
Finding talented people is hard enough. Without a long term growth path for the members of your team, people will eventually leave. It’s really just that simple.
If you love your job, it doesn’t mean you have to create the opportunity for someone to edge you out, there are 3 main ways teams create these opportunities:
Many agents create an amazing business and end up driving it into the ground. They never thought about how to pass it off or sell it, so they're left with the ball in their hand when they're ready to retire. Smart business owners should consider having an exit strategy and an opportunity for people in their organization to buy their book of business when they retire.
Larger real estate teams often create an abundance of roles as they grow. Sometimes growth for the members of your team is as much about earning opportunities as it is about finding a new challenge or taking on new responsibilities. Showing your team mates how they can grow into new roles and creating a long term path is essential to long term retention of top talent.
OTE or On Target Earnings:
This is something which migrated into real estate from other parts of the sales industry. In concept, it is a way of bundling different earning structures together to show the total potential earnings of a given role. Often this means you can provide team mates with a small retainer or salary and have them earn the balance of their income through sales commissions and maybe even a bonus structure. It’s often used for inside sales people (telemarketers) or anyone who takes a role where they are responsible for a fraction of the sales process. Often in real estate, this is adapted for sales people to create a graduated commission structure whereas they sell more and keep a higher percentage of the total commission.
Make it a no-brainer for people to stay inside your world and you’ll not only keep them longer, you’ll bring in better people in the first place.
#5: Your team is no fun
We work hard, right?
Absolutely. Top performers, if nothing else, share this one thing in common. Creating a culture of productivity is integral to a successful team. At the same time, you need balance to make sure that your culture isn’t exclusively focused on sales numbers and performance, otherwise it’s going to be a crappy place to work.
Recently “happiness” has been studied as a tool leadership should focus on in supporting employee health, workplace engagement and customer service. Check out “the happiness advantage” by Shawn Achor, it’s a fascinating read and will likely give you pause.
Incorporating fun, playfulness and gratitude into your workplace in a balanced way will keep people showing up and will give them the energy to push through the tougher moments we all live through in this business.
It doesn’t have to be perfect
Reading this might cause you to think you need to tear the hood off the engine and go back to the drawing board, and that is not the case. Building an amazing team is a process, not an event.
Look at your business and choose just ONE category from the list which you feel would make the most significant improvement and go after that.
Start small and implement one thing. Run it for a while and then measure, reassess and make a few small changes. Do this over and over again and pretty soon you’ll step back amazed at how far you’ve come.
Have fun on the journey my friend, and as always, thanks for your time.