Special report: Real estate team success

How real estate teams thrive and where they fail
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  • Close to 80 percent of respondents believe a team should have a clearly designated leader.
  • Just over 50 percent of those surveyed believe teams are more visible to consumers than individual agents.
  • The most important things for teams to work on are communication, systems and fair compensation.
  • More than 80 percent of respondents believe technology is helping the way teams work.

As teams become a permanent fixture in today’s more sophisticated real estate environment — where clients demand high-quality service and a variety of skills available around the clock — there’s good news: Support systems and advice for running successful teams are growing exponentially. And the rewards are hefty. As one agent wrote, being in a team means you have the best of all worlds.

Introduction: The hefty rewards of real estate teams

As teams become a permanent fixture in today’s more sophisticated real estate environment — where clients demand high-quality service and a variety of skills available around the clock — there’s good news: Support systems and advice for running successful teams are growing exponentially.

And the rewards are hefty. As one agent wrote, being in a team means you have the best of all worlds; you can be a top producer and still maintain an enviable work-life balance. In other words, being in a team means “being able to take a vacation, and doing what you do best.”

Another popular argument can be summed up thusly: The industry has become too tough to tackle alone.

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According to one agent who’s been in real estate for more than 10 years, “Real estate has become far too complicated for single agents to effectively manage more than six transactions a year. It is very costly for startup agents to get up and running effectively. Teams provide team members with a constant flow of leads, meaning they can be effective much more quickly than if they are on their own.”

Added another experienced agent: “There are no disadvantages, in my opinion. It is a disadvantage to work with a single agent as a consumer. One agent just cannot be everything to a client at all times unless they have only one client. If that is the case, the agent is not knowledgeable enough and lacks experience in this complex and ever-changing business.”

A high-functioning team plays the game at a higher level than what would be possible for an individual, commented one agent: “There are still no income limits or ceilings within a high-functioning team.”

Teams also suit an array of personalities. “For agents who do not like being self-employed, this structure can offer them business, training and support and allow them a safety net as part of the group. It is a more secure place for them,” noted one respondent.

And there is nothing like the buzz and energy of a team, said one respondent.

“Your income is the average of the five people who you spend the most time with. Most agents come in to the office alone, sit there alone and leave alone. OK, if they know what to do. If not, not so good.”

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Rules to play by

The agents and brokers who participated in the research stressed that there were some important rules to play by if agents are going to get a team right. The majority (79.24 percent), for instance, believe a team has to be run by a designated leader.

One agent warned that agents “might feel like they lose some of the independence that attracted them to the industry in the first place because they will have to answer to the team leader.”

The team leader, meanwhile, “is like the CEO and must be motivated, have regular team meetings, clear communication of goals process, and be responsible for effective support and mentoring of those on the team,” said one experienced agent.

“The team leader should be a broker, have several years in the business with more than 50 sales. Plus, they should run their business like a business and be able to produce leads,” added an agent with more than 10 years’ experience.

Another thread coming through strongly in the research was the importance of each team member being given clear guidelines about their roles.

According to one current team member with five to 10 years’ experience, “There must be a clearly defined structure with assigned roles, with cooperation and leadership assigned. Policies and procedures also must be detailed. We have teams within teams, and even the administrative teams benefit financially as the team performs.”

Team selection is another key factor in making your team a success. When asked what team leaders should look for when selecting a team, respondents ranked skill set first, personality second, experience level, third, personality profile fourth and productivity fifth.

Team leaders can focus on tasks that generate the most money and delegate other tasks to newer agents while the rookies learn the ropes — one big advantage for more experienced agents.

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Email Gill South.