Thinking about growth in the same way that brokerages do is a huge mistake when building a team. Here are some of the secrets top teams have learned along the path to success.

Tim Heyl

“A team is really an extension of an agent,” Tim Heyl, owner and team leader of Tim Heyl Real Estate, said onstage at Inman Connect New York. “We think about the team as a system … when you think about that as the team, it changes how you build a team.”

Moderated by Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage Real Estate’s Jessica Edwards, Heyl was joined on the Agent Connect stage by Sue Adler of Sue Adler Team at Keller Williams Realty and Michelle Pais of Michelle Pais Group & Signature Realty NJ to share secrets of top teams.

Heyl believes that real estate teams should laser focus on going out and getting leads. When you try to chase the same high volume as a brokerage, you ruin your business model.

What advice do you have for teams starting out?

“I’ve complicated lots of things over the years in building my business,” Heyl said. “I would encourage you to keep things simple. If you’re building a team, there’s only one thing you should be focused on, and that’s getting listings.”

Focusing on listings mitigates lots of the problems that go along with growth. Working with buyers and sellers will organically even out.

“Stay focused on what matters. Hire out of necessity to keep up with the growth of your listings,” Heyl said.

He said that a mentor once told him not to force growth so that you can be successful, force success so that you have growth.

What are the key elements of team growth?

Michelle Pais

Pais comes from a small, but mighty, team of seven, and Adler comes from a much larger team. Pais said she started the team a year ago because she likes to mentor as a producer. She’s a big advocate of team leads teaching agents to be listing agents.

“I feel that five listers are better than one,” she said. “My goal is to be the CEO of my team.

Sue Adler

Adler’s approach to team building is more about making it seamless for the agent. We supply leverage for agents so that they can totally focus, she said.

She cited Gary Keller, from his book The One Thing, “If you chase two rabbits, you catch nothing.”

Adler’s team has a host of inside sales agents (ISAs), listing specialists, transaction managers and more.

“Basically that agent is in their sweet spot 24/7,” Adler said. She says it allows for a better overall client experience.

How do you present your team to the client?

Adler explains the process to her clients. There are only three points of contact on her team, and the entire team uses group texts, so that the client doesn’t have to worry about reaching out to the right person, and everyone is in the know on what’s going on with the transaction.

What tools or systems are critical to growing a team?

Heyl said that since he was a solo agent, he’s been using Mojo for calling lists, and as he grew, he’s started using BoomTown.

RingCentral is the system that Pais touted both because it’s an excellent way to keep all agents in the loop and for accountability. The system allows everyone to use one phone number across all marketing, so that when a client calls, the phone rings for all agents.

Whoever answers first gets the lead, which inspires a friendly competition among agents. On the backend, the phone calls are recorded, which allows Pais to listen in and use them to train.

What’s the one thing you’re doing in 2019?

Pais’ team is focusing on taking on new markets and diversifying.

We are in a changing marketplace, when the market changes, you need to be prepared, she said.

This year, for us, is all about tightening up, Heyl said, to agreement from Adler, who is focusing on exactly the same thing. Heyl explained that they need to trim the fat. His team had been focused on agent count, which he said was the wrong metric. So now they are tightening up and focusing harder on generating more listings.

It’s about having the right people, Adler said. Everything has to be scalable. She recommends asking yourself: Would I hire this person again today? If the answer is no, that person shouldn’t be on your team.

Email Dani Vanderboegh

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