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This post was updated Oct. 2, 2023.
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Here are my top 23 reasons for being on a mega team
Large, successful teams have significant market share that generates ongoing success for its members. While solo agents can, in and of themselves, build a reasonable market share, it is impossible to develop the level of visibility afforded by a large, dominant team. This market share and corresponding prominence can “grease the skids” for team members, making it easier to land transactions.
To ensure production opportunities for all team members, most teams provide access to training and accountability designed to maximize team members’ businesses. These can include daily Power Up sessions, script practices, buyer and listing best practices training and much more.
While individual agents frequently have access to training through their brokerage or through third party companies such as Brian Buffini or Tom Ferry, many teams cover the cost of any ongoing education required by their agents.
For solo agents, the cost of training can be prohibitive. As an example, our team partners with PLACE and the endless state-of-the-art training opportunities made available to team members through our partnership are fully covered by the team.
There is a fundamental principle here that good team leaders understand: The team will never be fully successful until the team members are successful. I frequently hear deprecations from solo agents who insist team leaders will never provide full training because, if a team member leaves, they will have trained their competition. That mentality is ridiculously shortsighted: Healthy teams come from a place of contribution and fully train team members regardless of whether or not they stay.
Job One in real estate sales is lead generation. A solo agent I know who runs a small one-person brokerage recently asked, in exasperation, “So just exactly how do you get your leads, anyway?” It is a valid question and for many solo agents, can be the Holy Grail.
Lead gen can be very expensive and, as this solo agent discovered, the level of marketing, training and support technology required to generate a significant flow of leads was beyond his financial capabilities. Large teams frequently have a larger war chest to generate leads over a wide spectrum of sources. Leads that come in are then handed to members of the team to convert. In many cases, the more leads a team member converts, the more they receive.
Success in real estate does not come cheap. Steve Murray, senior advisor to RealTrends, states, “Well-run teams have profit margins between 18 percent to 30 percent of gross revenues …” The key here is “well-run.” In reality, especially in the current market, many teams are bringing far less to the bottom line. In this scenario, team members can easily make more than the team.
While some become Realtors because they want to be their own boss, many quickly realize that the price tag that accompanies a high level of success is very steep. Most teams cover the massive overhead so that individual team members can focus on the business fundamentals.
In return, commission splits are lower. Many agents balk when considering joining a team because of the lower commissions. Conditioned to think only in terms of splits and, in many cases, having no idea how much it actually costs to run an effective business, solo agents do not realize they can be far more productive and earn substantially more when the overhead is removed, and leads are provided.
It can be a lot of fun being on a team. While solo agents are left to develop relationships on their own and, in many cases, choose not to for fear of ceding to potential competition, effective teams rotate around relationships. The better they work and celebrate together, the more cohesive and effective they become.
6. Work-life balance
Over the years of being on a team, I have been able to take vacations and know that the business is in capable hands. In many cases, my clients never even knew I was gone.
Effective teams have systems that can respond to leads when you are tied up, process transactions while you are away and facilitate key business components even when you are missing in action. Solo agents are at the beck and call of their clients and/or potential leads 24/7.
When difficult issues arise, solo agents are left to fend for themselves or get their broker involved. If the solo agent is also their own broker, getting effective support can be costly.
Teams have extensive support mechanisms built in so that team members with issues have a place to turn for the support that is required. As an example, our team has well over 120 years and thousands of transactions of experience amongst the team members — that depth of experience is available to all team members.
The key in business is to be able to focus on your 20 percent and have the 80 percent done by others. By stripping away the need to handle all the tasks facing solo agents and allowing team members to turn their focus on the fundamental tasks that will actually build their business, team members are much more effective.
Rather than designing brochures, handling mailings, coordinating email campaigns or coordinating a transaction, they can focus on the fundamentals that will result in lead generation and conversion.
All teams have systems. They are like the railroad tracks trains run on — without them, you will go nowhere in a hurry. In many cases, extensive and well-developed systems are also expensive. Solo agents are on their own when locating and/or developing systems — successful teams have already done the heavy lifting for the systems they need to operate their businesses. Team members simply plug and play.
It is hard to provide effective service to your clients when you are out on inspections, showing clients property or handling a time-consuming task. To offset this, larger teams may have a director of operations, client care coordinators, listing managers, transformation specialists and more — all designed to oversee critical tasks required to provide the utmost level of care to clients.
Teams can offer clients a level of service unattainable for solo agents. While I hear of some teams where clients “get lost” inside the various systems and individuals, we never receive these types of comments. Our clients constantly remark that they love working with our highly trained specialists and while we take great care to ensure they are exposed to these incredible individuals at each step of the transaction, they are never out of touch with the realtor who initiated their transaction.
Effective marketing is expensive, and large teams have the deep pockets to do the level of marketing required to produce a steady flow of leads. They also have backup systems to respond to incoming leads, such as an ISA department.
Not everyone is designed to be a team leader, nor is everyone gifted in dealing with clients. Some love interacting with buyers or sellers, while others prefer back-office roles. A team has many different job descriptions within its framework that can provide an environment to grow and thrive within the boundaries of a person’s innate gift.
A solo agent called me recently to get advice on a difficult issue. “Where do you go when you have questions?” they queried. My response was simple:
“On our team, we have the combined resources of over 120 years of real estate experience. Additionally, we have a team member who is an absolute bedrock of real estate knowledge — I call him first when I have questions about policies, procedures or contractual issues. We also have an attorney who is accessible to our team.
Lastly, as the leader of a mega team within our brand and a PLACE partner, I have direct access to a pool of other mega team leaders in our company across the country who are eager to help as necessary.”
Most single agents need to spend a good deal of time and money before they see their first transaction. While some get lucky and find a client or two right away, many agents do not see their efforts convert to a paycheck for quite a while. Mega teams can cut this conversion time to almost zero. They will not only provide leads from the very beginning, they are highly motivated to help convert those leads into transactions as quickly as possible.
When market conditions turn, the team leadership is tasked with the difficult job of navigating the market. Like passengers on a ship, the team members get to securely go about their daily tasks without having to worry about potential shoals or other navigational hazards. This is especially true given the market we are currently facing.
For a solo agent to grow their business, they need to begin the process of building their own team. Whether it means hiring a transaction coordinator or executive assistant, they will be responsible for payroll and other related tasks. This can be a daunting task.
Teams have not only already conquered payroll, 401K plans and more, all designed to adequately support their employees; they have personnel on the team to handle everything efficiently. Additionally, it is possible for team members to build a team within a team — reaping the full benefits of the existing team and its extensive systems coupled with the benefits of leading a team of their own.
It is safe to say that a significant number of solo agents have no idea what their business costs actually are, nor do they know whether or not they are profitable. Many monitor the level of funds in their bank account to see if they have “made any money.”
In contrast, teams have extensive systems for tracking their expenses and often outsource bookkeeping functions to companies that provide monthly P&Ls and balance statements. Team leaders can usually tell exactly how much they are spending in any of their key categories and what their year-to-date profit actually is.
Additionally, teams such as ours have monthly access to a financial advisor who goes over our books with us and coaches us on how to maintain profitability. Team members also have an easier time tracking profitability since they are not paying any overhead costs; the check they receive is their actual compensation.
In 1980, the American Olympic hockey team, composed of college players with an average age of 22, went on to beat the vaunted Soviet team, who had won the gold medal in the last four Olympics and who had not lost a game in Olympic play since 1968. The U.S. team did not win because of the exceptional skills of its individual players; rather, it was because the group had been drilled as a team to function as a cohesive unit. Their long hours of relentless practice and refinement of the fundamentals coalesced in the Miracle on Ice that earned them a place in Olympic history.
Properly trained and executing as a unit, a team of ordinary people can achieve results far beyond their innate capabilities.
Whereas solo agents are on their own, teams have extensive accountability systems built in. Because leads are so expensive to generate and nurture, effective teams work hard to ensure that the money spent does not go down the proverbial drain.
One team leader, when asked by a team member, “What happens if I meet my monthly goals?” responded with, “You get to stay on the team.”
While team members are all expected to generate and nurture leads, some teams have an ISA department that tracks all the leads. Rather than pass an incoming lead directly to an agent, the ISA department scrubs the leads to determine their level of priority and then sets appointments with applicable agents on the team. If the lead is not ready to go, the ISA department will then nurture the lead until it is time to set an actual appointment.
This practical approach saves agents time and increases conversion rates since agents are more likely to convert an appointment with a warm lead.
I have lost count of the number of times I, as a solo agent, spent money on a system I hoped would be the new miracle weapon. None of those early systems are being used today.
Large teams have been able to locate key systems that are not only effective for the team today but will scale as the team continues to grow. I would love to have the funds back that I put out as a solo agent looking for effective solutions that, although they promised to help me grow, were actually a money pit. Truth is, most effective scalable systems are expensive and cannot be obtained by solo agents.
When a team member decides to grow and move up or there is agreement from the team leadership that a specific team member’s skills and accomplishments should be rewarded, teams usually have the opportunities inside the organization to provide a vertical track to grow and develop. Rather than lose skilled team members to outside opportunities, teams can frequently advance key team members to new internal positions or help them build a team within the team.
As a mega team within the Keller Williams network, we have access to other large teams through our worldwide network. This means we have an incredible opportunity to pick the brains of other large teams to learn best practices, collaborate in many interactive environments and avoid mistakes.
We also have direct access to the largest teams across the country for incoming and outgoing client referrals. This means we can refer our clients to the best of the best across the nation. The thanks we receive from happy clients speaks to the benefits of this networking capability.
No question — some agents will always prefer to remain on their own. There is power in numbers, however, and as such, teams represent the future of real estate. Even if an agent believes they can do better going solo, they should at least take a serious look at whether joining a team might be their best option. You never know — you might discover more than you imagined.
Carl Medford is the CEO of The Medford Team.