Agent

When should you start and grow a real estate team?

Advice from an interview with top-producing Realtor Karen Blevins
  • Top-producing Realtor Karen Blevins does all the selling. Her team does everything else to make that possible.
  • Hire your assistant first. That person can handle all the things that slow you down, that you don’t want to do, or that you aren’t the greatest at. Then, hire a full-time marketing position.
  • You can teach just about anyone anything. But you can’t teach loyalty.

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Can I grow a real estate team? Do I even need a team? Am I good enough? Who do I hire first?

These are questions I hear agents ask often, followed by a look of confusion and uncertainty.

To give an authentic and unique answer, I sat down with a Realtor who has been successful in this industry for a long time.

Karen Blevins of Churchill-Brown Real Estate has been a top-producing agent across the state of Oklahoma for years. She’s been the No. 1 producer at Churchill-Brown in 2004, 2006 and 2011 through 2016. She was also just named the No. 1 Realtor by The Journal Record for the Oklahoma City/Tulsa areas.

And she’d be the first to say, she couldn’t do any of this without her team!

How does the team work?

Blevins has built her team from a really unique perspective. She knows what she does well and what she needs help with, and that’s exactly how she hires.

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Instead of the typical approach of just hiring buyer’s and seller’s agents, Blevins remains the only active agent out of her team of seven. Let me say it again, in case you missed it: Blevins does all the selling. Her team does everything else to make that possible.

Her team consists of a transaction coordinator, transaction coordinator’s assistant, marketing manager, marketing assistant, office manager, a “learning” agent and herself.

Blevins operates completely in the realm of her strengths and then hires out the rest.

Her team fills her calendar out as calls come in, and Blevins may even get an update on who she’s going to meet with while she’s driving to meet them. They are one well-oiled machine designed to provide a great service to their customers.

When should you hire?

Blevins began to build her team when she reached 50 transactions a year. Some would say that she waited too long, but that’s how it worked best for her.

Who should you hire?

And when I asked her who she hired first, this was her thought process: 

Hire your assistant first. That person can handle all the things that slow you down, that you don’t want to do, or that you aren’t the greatest at. Then, hire a full-time marketing position. This person will help you grow your brand, give you a social media presence and help lead generation begin to happen.

She also said to hire tech-savvy people. Depending on your age, you need people on your team who understand social media if you don’t.

Any more advice?

If she could offer up those reading some advice? Make sure you hire for loyalty.

You can teach just about anyone anything. But you can’t teach loyalty. If your team isn’t committed to the vision and to one another, you’ll never achieve what you want to.

She also said: Do not be afraid to make changes! Reinvent yourself regularly. Growing stagnant is a dangerous place to find yourself. And in the day of technology, if you don’t embrace change, you’ll find yourself out of a job.

In closing, I would like to leave you with my perspective as an outsider looking in. I watch far too many Realtors treat their business like a job rather than an investment.

This is a long-term play for most of you. You need to grow outside of yourself. If hiring your assistant causes you to make a little less money for a year, but helps you double the next, it’s worth it.

Believe in yourself. You didn’t get to where you are because you’re lucky; it’s because you’re good. Start acting like it, and expand in 2017!

Kyle Draper is the president and co-founder of AgentImpress.me. Connect with him on LinkedIn or follow him on Instagram.

Email Kyle Draper.