While some clients can see the value in a team structure for their real estate transactions, others are resistant. Here’s what to say and how to set expectations from consultant Erin McCormick Torres.

We’ve all been sitting at a buyer consultation or listing appointment when a client asks if they’ll solely be working with you. We know we need to broach the subject of our team structure to set proper expectations with the client. But what do we say to those who may have had a bad experience working with a team? Here are some things to keep in mind and specific conversations to utilize.

Setting expectations and delineating lanes

Setting proper expectations with your clients is the key to a smooth transaction. Being one step ahead of your clients enables you to guide them seamlessly to the closing table, while also controlling your time (and your clients’ respect of it). 

In your initial meeting, share that you operate as part of a team and the why behind it. Be upfront. Be positive. Share how the team structure benefits them as your client (faster response times when you’re on the road, for example). Be specific and outline what you’ll be doing, what your listing manager or transaction coordinator will be doing, and who to be in touch with for what specific needs may arise in the process. 

Document this as a reminder and share it in writing. A “Meet the Team” or “Who Does What” cheat sheet is a perfect addition to a buyer or listing packet. Ensuring there is clarity upfront about who to contact for what is the best way to set your transaction up for success — and to maximize your leverage and time from the outset.

Start with why: The doctor’s office analogy

Like anything, start with the why behind a team structure. The popular doctors’ office analogy never fails. In a conversation, I would position it like this:

[Buyer], when you go to your doctor’s office for a sick visit, the doctor isn’t the one answering the phone to book the appointment, greeting you in person, doing your intake paperwork, walking you back to the office, and then sending you your bill, are they? You want your doctor solely focused on what he or she does best: diagnosing the reason for your visit and giving you a solution to make you feel better.

Just like that doctor, I have a team around me to ensure all facets of the buyer process is streamlined. This allows me to focus on what I do best, just like that doctor: finding you a property to fit your needs, negotiating it on your behalf, and then making a handoff to my team that works on the details of the transaction. This ensures we get to the closing table with as little disruption to your daily life as possible.

An expert for everything: The Swiss army knife analogy

When explaining who is on my team and the roles they each play in a transaction, I like to use the analogy of the Swiss army knife:

When working with my team, you will have an expert for all facets of the listing process. I am not a Swiss army knife, on my own. I believe that a diluted focus results in diluted results. If I was the person photographing your home, installing the sign and lockbox, inputting your listing into the MLS and ensuring accuracy of all details, working on marketing flyers and digital campaigns, I would not be the best person to determine the optimal listing price based on comps in the market. I would not be the best person to negotiate the offers we receive based on the positioning and market strategy behind your listing.

By having a team member for the MLS input, another team member for marketing, and so on, I can ensure that at all times, you are working with an expert at their craft.

Showcasing the training of your team

If you are working with a showing agent or passing a client off to another buyer or listing agent on your team, it’s important to discuss how you’ve trained your team members. In your hand-off conversation, showcase that the agent is an extension of your ethics, your hard work, and your training.

As a leader, if you strive to always hire people who are better than you at specific tasks, you will also feel confident referring to a team member. Remember to invest in your team members through tactical, mindset and leadership training to ensure they are growing constantly to provide the best support to your clients.

Erin McCormick Torres is a consultant, coach, and industry thought leader, who ran the operations for a national mega expansion team for eight years. Prior to that, she led digital marketing teams in the food, health, and edtech spaces. Erin is a published author, a top-performing Vermont Realtor, and runs the popular blog Travel Like a Local: Vermont.

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