Although it’s easy to get caught in the web of additional expenses while building, investing in your team doesn’t have to hurt your business’s bottom line. If you’re looking for tips on creating team profitability, even in a recession, you’ll find them here.

This July, Inman’s editorial theme is Teams — what it takes to build and join one, how to optimize your team for summer 2020, and even when to consider leaving one. And if you’re not already a subscriber to our Teams Beat email newsletter, sent every Thursday, sign up now.

Building a top-producing and profitable real estate team is not a simple undertaking. How can you help your team members while growing? Provide them with the tools, systems and protocols they need to succeed with a strong economic model to follow and use as a guiding principle.

Although it’s easy to get caught in the web of additional expenses while building, investing in your team doesn’t have to hurt your business’s bottom line. If you’re looking for tips on creating team profitability, even in a recession, you’ll find them here.

1. Assess cost versus investment

If you’re in a mindset of fear, you will want to cut absolutely every cost out of your budget, and your fear will rationalize every single part of it. Fear will tell you to build a shelter, hide in it, and make sure you stay in there until the sun comes out again.

What you need to do is get to a place where you can look at your finances and clearly see what is a cost and what is an investment in your business.

A cost is something that does not create a return in your business. It’s a deadweight that doesn’t create any significant value for you or your clients, and it’s not strategic.

Investments will always be strategic. They are multipliers. They create a return for your business, whether it’s through leads, return or deals. The return could even be an investment of goodwill to support your community.

The key to cutting costs and low returning investments is clarity.

2. Leverage your admin

Don’t be reluctant to hire an administrative assistant to leverage them to take care of the behind-the-scenes action, if that means you can spend more of your time face-to-face nurturing increased sales opportunities with your clients.

It’s always smart to hire an admin before you hire sales agents onto your team and to leverage these team support members to ensure you don’t miss a beat.

Hiring an admin will also add value by freeing up time for future sales recruits.

3. Create a strategic model

If you start out strategically, you will consider future needs for more time, relief or someone who can oversee parts of your business as you grow.

A strategic model will give you clarity and strategy. Once you get those two components, you need to be able to take your existing business to create a business structured to grow.

A strong strategic model will allow you to reinvest in the business in the right places to offer the top client experience to the public while also reinvesting in your business platform.

It will also ensure that you don’t make the mistake of overpaying your sales agents. It’s a common misconception that paying your agents more is a benefit to your business, but in reality, paying more does not equate to strong retention.

Instead of overpaying agents, invest in lead opportunities, support and training for your agents to sell more and make more in less time.

4. Foster a performance environment

A performance environment is an environment you design for your team to increase performance and success in your agents.

It’s vital to create, support and nurture capability, leading to results for your business. Performance of a team is not optional. You need a team with strong sales skills, and you need to be able to track their performance.

5. Offer value

The team leader’s purpose is to offer value, not the best split or pay. Value is communicated in terms of systems, support, an abundance of leads, appointments, education and training, and opportunities for growth.

Net value means that your agents buy into the bigger picture of more leads, more deals, more support and more systems — ultimately leading to much more money and time for all.

6. Get organic leads

If you’re struggling to convert paid leads, focus your team’s time and energy onto the organic leads at your fingertips. Many agents do not contact their past clients after their transactions.

If you want to be in the top 1 percent of agents, you have to pick up that phone and connect with your past clients.

In a time of strong leads and sales, it’s time for you to train your agents on lead converting so that you can expand your marketing strategy to include paid lead opportunities.

7. Practice — it makes perfect

A lot of real estate teams overlook practicing the key steps in their sales process, like scripting and presentations, which puts them at a disadvantage when it comes to compete with agents or teams who are consistently practicing their materials.

It’s crucial for your team to have a daily or weekly allotted time where you all come together to ensure the conversations you have with your clients are seamless and professional in every aspect.

A lot of teams look to practice to improve and master their sales process and scripting.

8. Hold your agents accountable

Sometimes we’re only tracking one piece of the pie (remember that sales process from above?) You want to be able to track every step to ensure you’re successful. You need to have an integrated accountability system, to make sure you have the strongest approach from A to Z in your business.

You will have an honest mirror of what is working, and you will be able to assess changes to improve from your tracking results.

This will give you the foundation of building predictable results and give you confidence in your business so that you can take educated risks and confidently invest to pivot or expand your business, like the top producers are doing.

9. Increase efficiency

One of the biggest mistakes you can make is trying to go too big, too fast. You don’t always need to hire more help; sometimes you need to increase your efficiency instead.

If there’s an excess of business that is out of control, instead of hiring, ensure you have created structure for the business first.

Bring on help without any structure, and you’ll find yourself suffering from the dreaded revolving door syndrome and more burnt out than before.

10. Celebrate success

Make sure to celebrate success. Fear ruins creativity; celebration and encouragement causes it to grow.

Look for opportunities to celebrate strong performances and team wins. You don’t have to spend a lot of money, and your agents will appreciate that they are a part of a team that knows how to win even in tough times.

Kathleen Black is the CEO of Kathleen Black Coaching and Consulting in Oshawa, Ontario, Canada. Connect with her on Instagram at @kathleenblackcoaching or through her website ItTakesa.Team.

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