• Growing a brokerage requires a commitment to personal and professional change.
  • Growing a brokerage doesn’t have to take years of trial and error.
  • A successful broker must master branding, recruiting, training, marketing, technology and sales management.

Too many brokerages and teams get stuck. They plateau. They lose momentum. They stop feeling the excitement of the early days. Why does this happen?

Building for growth is complex. It means trying new ideas, new messages, new systems, new technology, new methods of operation, new models, and new people. But too often, much effort and vast sums of money are spent on the wrong technologies, half-baked marketing and agents who come and go.

This post is the first in a series from the T3 Fellows program on how to solve the complex problems inherent in building a modern real estate business. Today, we’ll talk about the difficulties of the transition from successful sales leader to operating as a broker and business owner

First, let’s consider why you would shift from selling real estate and making a great income to digging into the hard work of growing a brokerage.

  • To create an asset that has measurable value and can be sold in the future.
  • To help others develop successful careers by teaching them how to win clients, provide great representation and get deals closed.
  • To build an operation to be proud of that successfully integrates marketing, sales, technology and administration.

Doing all of this requires change. Lots of change.

Change as a leader

You must shift your focus from your personal revenue generation to developing your agents, staff and eventually, management team. This is hard because you’re putting your income in the hands of others.

When you have a small team or a very small company, people can adapt to you and how you work. Your values, habits and standards can be transferred by working shoulder-to-shoulder with a small number of people. As you grow your brokerage, your focus needs to shift to teaching and helping people become more effective at their jobs.

You will need to learn how to do the things you’re not good at until you can hire people to do them for you. Too many brokers bounce back into sales — where they know how to be successful — rather than deal with marketing, technology, systems or recruiting and training.

Change as a marketer

If you’ve been successful as a high-performing agent or sales team leader, you know how to do generate sales and get deals closed. But the shift from salesperson to marketer isn’t easy or obvious.

Branding is usually an issue for newer brokerages. When you’re a successful sales agent, you don’t need a complex brand, because you are the brand. You are distinctive and memorable. The identity of the operation is wrapped up around you.

When other people join your brokerage, they need ways to represent themselves to family, friends, prospects and clients because they’re not you. Creating a bigger brand involves expressing your core strengths and values.

Your marketing needs to expand from bringing in clients to attracting agents that share your values and need your help. When agents see that you are really good at the things you do and that you have a big enough tent to include them, they will come to you to learn what you do.

Change as a manager

When your organization is very small, your systems can be largely manual and taught during day-to-day business operations. But as you add more agents, you will need to have the right systems to support the business.

A growing broker needs so many systems that often it’s difficult to decide what’s most important: lead generation and conversion or agent sphere marketing? Recruiting or onboarding and training? Back office or community events?

What next?

Growing a brokerage is hard because “what got you here won’t get you there.”

In my next post, we’ll show how growing brokerages should develop a meaningful brand. It’s not easy, but it’s foundational work.

Leslie Ebersole is the director of the T3 Fellows brokerage accelerator program at the Swanepoel T3 Group. You can find her on LinkedIn and Facebook

Email Leslie Ebersole. 

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