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In today’s climate, the real estate industry is moving toward more sales teams and fewer individual salespeople. Generally speaking, sales teams show more profitability and better reliability than the solo real estate broker provides.

In the traditional brokerage business model, any registrant is recruited, but in a team model the recruitment is very selective based on the role the team member will fulfill.

In the traditional brokerage model, a high head count of salespeople is the name of the game despite the fact that only a few top-producing sales professionals account for the majority of the transactions. The larger number of nonperforming salespeople consume most of the resources of the brokerage, but their overall sales contribution to the brokerage is much lower when compared to the top producers.

So why not just focus on top-performing real estate professionals instead of recruiting “hasslers”? Why not build your team “one high performing member” at a time? Why not create your team slowly and soundly, instead of through random recruitment that has no clear long-term vision?

There are many real estate team-building models available to use as your framework. The model I propose is one that focuses on a “core membership” centered on collaboration. Ideally the core member relationship should be structured upon a sense of ownership. You have to make your core members feel as though they are one of the owners — like they share the same destiny. A sense of ownership can become the primary motivator for your team members to take their performance to the next level.

Initially, you will attract your core members and add new team members as your sales grow. Consider your core members as “department heads” for your team. In the beginning, each core member will be both in charge of their department and also responsible for handling the details and tasks of their department. Once the business grows, each department (core member) will recruit personnel accordingly. This structure will give core members the opportunity to advance their skills and talents by focusing on a particular aspect of your business.

The online marketer is at the heart of your team

In today’s age of hyper content consumption, online marketing is the bloodline for real estate sales. One of the main challenges in the real estate industry is that most real estate salespeople do not have formal sales and marketing training.

Generally speaking, most real estate salespeople lack up-to-date marketing know-how. Some do not understand the real value of online and social marketing; they still live back in the MLS and newspaper age when marketing was about advertising in magazines and having a “business card”-style website. Others do not have the resources to stay up-to-date with current marketing trends or to implement sustainable marketing strategies and are at the mercy of internet search results.

The real estate professionals who understand the value of true marketing and have the resources to work with a marketer face another challenge: their lack of confidence in online marketers. The crux of the problem is that some real estate salespeople see online marketers in the same way that some property owners see renovators.

Similar to the renovation profession, anyone at any level of skill can claim to be an online marketer. In the same manner that most renovators overpromise and underdeliver, some online marketers do the same. Therefore, some real estate salespeople do not feel comfortable and confident working with online marketers. This opportunity can be a big loss for real estate salespeople, as online marketing plays a crucial role in their sales success.

Stay tuned for Part 2 on Tuesday, which includes the five phases of growing your team.

James Hussaini is the founder and president of Realty Point.

Email James Hussaini.