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.
Growing your team, one member at a time
In today’s age of absolute relevance for content marketing, the online marketer should be your first core member right at the inception of your brokerage. You can add additional core members as your business grows.
Obviously, before adding any member to your team, you should have your office protocols and processes in place. Below is an explanation of growing your team in five phases:
Phase I: The two core members you will need at the launch of your sales team are a real estate sales professional and an online marketer. In the beginning, in addition to sales, the real estate professional will handle general administrative tasks such as typing offers, listing agreements and so on.
In addition to online marketing duties, the online marketer will handle customer service and retention responsibilities, as well as community content writing, as shown in the chart below:
All marketing efforts should focus on community content writing and neighborhood promotion. You have to select an area to focus on and then prepare material and content to become the brokerage of the community eventually in the long term.
After selecting a particular “farming area,” which can be a neighborhood or a group of people, you will research and write about community developments, events, sales, etc. There are a broad range of methods to establish your team in your targeted community.
At the time of writing this article, search engine optimization and social media community engagement are the two most effective ways of establishing your brand and business reputation online.
Phase II: Once your sales grow, one of the next members you want to add to your team is a “buyer specialist” because serving buyers occupies most of your time in phase one. This individual should enjoy dealing with people, in addition to excellent sales and communication skills. The key qualification for this position is having the patience for handling buyers’ inquiries and demands that can be overwhelming at times.
If you are planning to grow the rest of your future “buyer specialists” under the command of this individual, in addition to the above skills, he or she should have leadership qualities.
Phase III: At this stage, your sales are keeping you entirely occupied, and you would prefer to hand over paperwork details to an administrator. Your time is more valuable than what you will be paying an administrator. This individual should be detail-oriented and trustworthy because they will be handling your paperwork and general office administration.
In addition to the paperwork, your administrator will take over the responsibilities of “customer service” and “customer connection” from the list of duties of the online marketer, as he/she might also be overwhelmed by this point. Keep in mind that “customer service” is offering a high quality of personalized service to your clients during the transaction, and “customer connection” is staying connected with clients after the transaction.
There are ample opportunities for this customer service and customer connection person to serve your clients between the time the relationship starts and a deal closes. But more importantly this individual will focus on keeping in touch with clients long after closing through online and offline efforts to help build your client list and referral network.
Phase IV: Perhaps, at this point in your business, the broker of record might want to divide his or her attention in attracting talent to the team. Therefore, you need to recruit a “seller specialist” to handle the listings. This individual is perhaps the most important person on your team, as his or her name will be used and branded on your brokerage listings. Therefore, it might be better to consider to make him or her part of the ownership within your business structure.
Should you decide to add to your team a seller specialist to lead your “listing sales team,” additional skills are to be considered for this position. The most important responsibility of the “seller specialist leader” is to generate sales initiatives, systems, methodologies and sales training. Only by improving your seller specialist sales skills you can add to your bottom line. Maximizing your team’s potential through training and coaching is a priority throughout this phase.
Phase V: You have to remember that in the long run attracting top-producing talent is the best way to grow your business. One of the primary stakeholders in your team has to focus entirely on salesperson recruiting and community relationship building.
Your business has to participate, and even sponsor, at the community level to nurture and build your brokerage reputation and brand. This individual can be the broker of record, one of the stakeholders, or you might recruit a new team member depending on following talents and skills:
1. Talent recruiter (human resources)
The most crucial issue for the success of your team is to attract sales talent. The talent recruiter will focus on attracting the best talent in the industry to your team. This person should enjoy social networking and meetings. Of course, your marketing person or department will assist in the process of recruitment by connecting with individuals through online communities and platforms.
2. Community connection liaison
As mentioned earlier, your team should focus on a particular neighborhood. The main mandate of this position is to build your team’s image in the community through community engagement and involvement.
The liaison focuses on keeping up-to-date with the latest developments and amenities. Your team will try to bond with the community and participate in events as much as possible. The most important aspect of this responsibility is to write consistently about the community and promote this information online through your blog, social media groups, etc.
Boutique brokerage team model
As you can see throughout this process, we now have multiple stakeholders, and everyone involved works as a team with one goal. Therefore, you might choose to promote your primary stakeholders to partner in your brokerage.
There are different structures that you can select for your partnership but you, as the owner of the brokerage, should remain the decision-maker. Remember that this team building model is not about an individual’s image or brand but rather your brokerage’s brand and reputation. Therefore, instead of promoting an individual as the brokerage representative, your brokerage name becomes established within a community.
This is a new way to bring corporate-style branding to your real estate brokerage, which adds to your credibility. You have to remember that this is also the best way to transfer your business to the next generation and have a legacy to leave behind as it is challenging to transfer an individual’s image to another. Depending on the management and leadership of individuals that built the business, the image and brand of a brokerage can be alive forever.
Whichever method you use to attract your team members, you have to have an accountability system” in place, otherwise, your brokerage will not perform to its highest potential. Eventually your brokerage structure might look as below:
The progression from being the only salesperson in your boutique brokerage to having a full sales team in place, as shown in the five phases above, can confidently begin with the position of “marketer” being your first hire. As your sales grow, you will be hiring for the additional positions and specialized talent needed for your sales team.
Over time, by hiring the best people you can, your brokerage will grow and create the business you envisioned from the start.
James Hussaini is the founder and president of Realty Point.