Mark Spain, an agent who heads up an 85-member agent team, says the no. 1 complaint consumers tend to have about agent teams is that teams treat them like a number, not a person. “They feel like they’re a number and they get touched by a bunch of different people,” he said.

  • Teams should eliminate redundancy between roles of team members and stress the benefits of specialization, top team leaders say.

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Mark Spain, an agent who heads up an 85-member agent team, says the no. 1 complaint consumers tend to have about agent teams is that teams treat them like a number, not a person.

“They feel like they’re a number and they get touched by a bunch of different people,” he said.

Other speakers at an Inman Connect panel on agent teams said they also hear that complaint about teams more than individual agents would. Here’s how they said teams can avoid losing prospects or clients by over-automating the customer experience.

1. Emphasize the benefits of specialization 

Talk of the agent team model often centers around its ability to capture leads, close more deals and rake in profits. You hear less about how the team model actually benefits consumers.

The main selling point of teams is that they can provide a higher level of responsiveness, panelists seemed to suggest. That’s a perk that team member should stress to prospects, Spain said.

Spain might ask prospects: “When you go to buy a car, do you want the sales guy doing the service” and the finance?

If they offer the anticipated “no,” then Spain tells them the same is true for real estate: They can get better service from a group of specialists than from a jack-of-all-trades.

His team’s various leaders will also tell clients that his team answers phones seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. and responds to emails within five minutes.

2. Define crystal-clear roles for team members

Teams should slice away any redundancy between the roles of various team members to limit the number of team members a client has to communicate with, panelists said.

To address customers’ concerns, Spain has adjusted his team model so that sellers only work with two team members: one listing agent and one administrative assistant.

Astrid Storey / Inman.com

3. Make sure team members communicate properly

Clients should not be forced to tell three team members the same thing, said Wendy Banner, a team leader at Chantilly, Virginia-based brokerage Long and Foster Real Estate

4. Manage expectations

Tell clients upfront what team members they will be interacting with and what those team members do.

Gwen Daubenmeyer, who leads The Integrity Team of Rochester, Michigan-based brokerage Re/Max Defined, says that includes telling sellers that a listing manager will manage paperwork “that I don’t even know exists.”

Banner emphasizes to clients that she’ll be devoting her time to performing some of the most crucial tasks involved in buying or selling a home.

Dropping off fact sheets or fixing signs? That’s for her assistant, she’ll tell them.

Email Teke Wiggin.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to correct that Mark Spain is no longer an agent at Keller Williams Realty. 

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