Don’t start a team unless you have enough leads for the whole team, was the message from team leader extraordinaire, Mark Spain, at Inman Connect San Francisco this morning.

“And don’t hire a B player if you are an A player,” added the managing broker of Mark Spain Real Estate, a company based in Atlanta that he set up in January after a career as a top team leader at Keller Williams. “Then you have nothing to lift the business.”

Spain said when he recruits, he looks for people who are better than him in certain areas.

“I look for people who will push me, make me uncomfortable, who will drive the business,” he said.

With 70 agents and a total team of 100, Spain’s team has its own president who runs operations, as well as Spain, who is the CEO of the business.

By contrast, Barr Haney’s team, Haney & Potter at Pacific Union, is just four people strong, with two team leaders. And it is very careful about taking on new members so the culture of the business remains intact.

Haney added: “We are business partners and extraordinarily good friends outside the office, so it has to be somebody to have fun with us. The no. 1 rule is to have fun, laugh — if not on the same page, they are in for it,” he said.

Urged for some time to hire an assistant, he finally did — but she is the marketing director, not the assistant, managing the business’s social media, its brochures and website, among other things.

Teams stand up for their team members, said panel host, Katie Maxwell.

Haney & Potter splits his commissions with other partners.

“The way we run our business is very intimate. We are not looking to grow a massive team; it’s quality, not quantity. There are just four of us and we are together every day in an office. We make sure that it is an environment of family.”

In the session hosted by Katie Maxwell, managing broker at Intero Real Estate Services, she said that teams can cause some resentment among individual agents with their exponentially high sales volume, but that good team leaders like Spain and Haney were just good business people.

And people should accept that.

Email Gill South

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