Teams are growing, changing and evolving rapidly, as new agent ranks swell, prices rise and uncertainty is ever-present. May is Teams Month here at Inman. Come along with us as we delve into teams today. Follow along with our weekly email newsletter Teams Beat to stay in the loop all year, sent every Thursday, sign up now.
Being part of a team is not for everyone, particularly in an industry that is run by independent contractors. But for me, I have found it a fulfilling approach to a career I love and a proven path to ensuring continued success for my agents. I am also fortunate to coach fellow team leaders to higher levels of success.
As a firm believer that there is always something to learn, I have two professional coaches myself. Over the years, I have been exposed to a myriad of ideas and approaches to building a top-performing team. The most important takeaway? Finding the right formula for your particular team is the key for team leaders.
Here is what I have found to be effective for my team.
From the beginning, I am very clear that the way the team is most effective is to be accountable to each other. I also stress a high level of accountability and expectations inherent in our team structure.
For starters, that includes a daily touchpoint with the entire team — either a status huddle or a training. These daily meetings underscore that we are all working together. Every day, each team member also submits a daily activity record that includes plans for the next day.
I also have one-on-one meetings with all team members every two weeks to set goals, review accomplishments and identify areas of opportunity. I also meet quarterly with each member to discuss their success rates in setting appointments, meeting with clients and signing contracts.
Each year, we collaboratively develop business plans based on each person’s income goals, including baseline, target and stretch goals. I can coach each person from this big picture view using smaller, more manageable two-week intervals.
I have found the two-week check-in to be the sweet spot in providing enough time to accomplish tasks and remain regularly accountable. Everyone on the team realizes that this level of accountability provides them with tremendous access to business opportunities.
We make a point of creating opportunities for the team to engage outside of the office. For example, our “Quarterly Fun Committee” organizes charitable giving, community outreach and social events to keep us all connected. Through these activities, we take the time to invest in our personal and professional relationships.
When we combine efforts to donate to our local food bank or play dodge ball to raise money for children’s cancer, we realize the impact we can make together and how our collective efforts make a difference.
Once a week, we discuss our team’s core values, asking each team member to share insights or experiences that relate to one of the values. It’s a great way to create a touchstone to our guiding principles.
During this time, we also invite each person to share one personal and one professional thing that happened to them that week. I am continually amazed by the things people share and how vulnerable they are able to be with their team. This approach has built unbelievable levels of trust and compassion among the team.
When I first started in real estate, I built my business and my brand based on my approach to service. As my business grew and I was able to pass along referrals to other agents, I was often dismayed at how the business was managed. I realized that I was missing an opportunity for higher levels of collaboration.
I decided that the best way to ensure that my reputation remained consistent was to create a team that would conduct business my way, every single time. Having a team allows me to scale my vision while maintaining quality control and keeping my brand intact.
Every team member starts in our internship program, which outlines how we handle every aspect of the business, from how to have a conversation with a potential client on the phone, how we work with our inside sales team and how we conduct a client presentation. This is an important trial period to see if the new member can become a valuable extension of our team.
Many people go into real estate because they can control their earnings, be their own boss and operate independently. These are all highly desirable aspects of working in the industry. But some agents like working their way up and being promoted. That’s why I created a career track within my team structure that offers the best of both worlds.
After completing the internship program, team members become Associates, which allows them to work with buyers. After they complete 36 closings, they are promoted to Specialists and can begin working their sphere and past clients for business.
Once they close another 36 deals, they become Senior Specialists and are eligible to receive team leads. The very clear path to promotion creates attainable goals for team members as they gain more experience and make more money. Every promotion creates a huge sense of pride and a level of recognition that solo agents don’t often get a chance to experience.
I also make a point to spread the news far and wide on our social channels and via regular emails to our database. I’m lucky to have a weekly radio show on our local sports station. In addition to featuring market reports, interviews with mortgage, title and insurance vendors, and celebrity real estate tidbits, I also periodically interview team members to provide them recognition in the community.
As a team, we’ve had great success adhering to these four approaches. With that success, I have been able to invest in resources to support a larger team and take on more agents in the past year, more than doubling the size of our team and doubling down on our focus on growth. While there are many ways to get the best out of your team, it all comes down to what works best for you.