The sales world can be a scary place at times. Sometimes it can feel like it’s you versus the world when it comes to holding down the fort and escorting the deal to the closing table.
One thing that can help is forming a tight-knit squad to back you up, as clients often look to you for recommendations on which vendors to use.
While clients will always have the right to choose whom to hire, having a solid network in place is worth its weight in gold.
Your squad is the key to unlocking smoother transactions and improving customer service. Once you have a stellar squad in place, #squadgoals will follow, and that’s what will boost your business into the top producer stratosphere.
Here’s a list of the kind of people you’ll want to consider adding to your squad:
1. BBFF (business best friend forever)
This person is someone you would trust to help cover your business while you are out of town, sick or at your kid’s baseball game. Let’s face it, we can’t be available 24/7 and having a BBFF will help you avoid schedule nightmares.
Make sure to have realistic talks about referral fees and time management. This person will help you stay afloat and help you toward your goals of work-life balance.
Tip: Choose someone who will complement your business practice and has a similar work ethic.
2. The new kid on the block
Many agents assume they don’t have time to mentor, but the “new kid” on the block might be just what your business needs. In exchange for getting their feet wet, many new agents will be happy to help you with admin tasks that might be bogging down your desk.
This relationship is healthy for both parties. Take a new agent under your wing, and you’ll find a renewed sense of enthusiasm for your work.
3. Pest control
You will learn very quickly that it’s important to have a few companies or independent contractors that you can call to remove the things that bite, sting, creep, crawl, fly, chew and slither in your properties.
You need to find people you can call on evenings and weekends when critters are running rampant. Typically these incidents do not happen from 9-to-5 Monday through Friday, so it is critical to have a pest-tamer on call.
There are many environmental tests that can pop up during the transaction. Knowing which vendor can turn tests around quickly can save money, time and headaches. It’s also ideal if you can find someone who is capable of performing multiple tests (mold, radon, water, etc.).
5. Tech nerd
Gadgets and gizmos enable us to work remotely and manage data and pictures for our clients with ease — that is, until things crash, break or fail.
This is true for personal websites as well. Have a plan of action, and establish a relationship with a business or individual who can keep things working.
6. Old house wizard
Historical homes require an entire network of individuals. If you need someone on the fly, it might be difficult to get in touch with them.
Inspectors, restoration experts, structural engineers and the contact information for the governing local historical society are great to have on hand.
Need a consult on a 250-year-old chimney? No worries, I have someone on my squad.
7. The general
This contractor can point you in the right direction for repairs, estimates and custom building options. It’s a bonus to have someone who is certified to work on $203,000 loans and government rehab projects.
8. Zillow Jedi knight
Whether you have #madlove or #badblood for Zillow, 4 out of 5 homes are viewed on this platform. Monitor your account, and make sure that data is accurate. If you are not satisfied with your experience, keep asking for a new rep until you find one that meets your expectations.
9. Inspector gadget
Two noncompeting home inspectors are a must. (A third is not a waste once you are busy.) Inspection periods can get tricky fast during peak selling seasons.
You will need to have reliable backups if your favorite inspector is backlogged. Look for inspectors that include digital photography and modern measurement tools in their inspection process. The delivery of the report is critical as well.
The report should be clear and comprehensive, and the inspector should be able to present it to your clients in a way that offers solutions — not panic.
Use LinkedIn — it will give you an idea of their expertise, certifications and what they bring to the table.
10. The lender, banker and the double-wide maker
You will need to have at least three loan officers who offer a variety of products and options for your clients. It’s not hard to find one to take you to lunch, but it’s tough to find one who will pick up the phone on the weekends.
11. Tax superman
You need a top-notch CPA to keep you in the black and off the IRS’ mailing list. Cash management as an independent contractor is tricky at best.
Find a CPA who specializes in self-employed individuals. This member of your squad is critical to making sure that you do not end up owing Uncle Sam a ton of late fees and interest.
12. Rental expert
If you have clients who need a temporary or long-term rental, you will need someone who handles housing shuffles with ease. If you are tackling the rental game yourself, find a great tenant screening service and property management firm to help keep your ducks in a row.
13. Title agent, attorney and notary
When is the last time you price shopped title companies? If your client had a pressing legal issue (breach of contract), do you have a local real estate attorney whom you trust? Do you need to have an out-of-area closing? Who has a notary who travels to the client?
Squad math is simple: Smooth closings equal happy clients.
But you might need a squad member or two for post-closing expertise.
14. Swag artists
A great local florist, a custom gift basket maker, a fabulous local bakery that you can grab open house treats. What about a local wine store?
Make friends with the top sales clerk, and learn what wines are trending and tasty. These folks can help you pull off a great thank you or closing gift with one phone call.
Building a great squad takes time, research and up to 10 cups of java.
Stay tuned tomorrow for more on #squadgoals.
Who is on your squad? Whom did I miss? Please share in the comments section below.
By day, Rachael Hite helps agents develop their business. By night, she’s tweeting for listingdepot.com.