As consumers raise their expectations for more and better service from real estate professionals, the trend of creating real estate teams has gained steam. But the answer isn’t to cobble together a few willing participants in blind faith that several heads are better than one. Are you being thoughtful and purposeful about how you form your team? If you’re making any of these seven mistakes, you might need to rethink your team strategy.
- You’re not willing to let go. Being a team leader is a catch-22. On one hand, you know you can do more by delegating tasks and allowing others to specialize in specific roles. But on the other, team leaders tend to be type A personalities and have issues giving up control. I think the title of my book Get Out of YOUR Way! explains the conundrum perfectly. Just because someone doesn’t do something the way you would doesn’t mean they’re doing it wrong. If you want to grow, you have to be willing to allow others to screw up — even when your name is on the line. Without that risk, you will never experience the reward of having a fully functioning team.
- You misjudge your own skill set. Too often, we believe we’re successful by being good at everything. Usually, the truth is that your strength in one particular area covers up your weaknesses in other areas. Self-deception prevents you from identifying the gaps that need to be filled. I can tell you that my own business didn’t explode until I finally realized what I was terrible at — and started getting other people to fill those roles. Take some time to figure out what parts of the business you love doing and where you get the best results. Then you can tell your team where you need help, and they’ll be much more effective.
- You don’t have a long-term plan to retain good talent. So many teams get excited about a great hire and then lose them a year later. When you’re developing compensation plans for your salespeople and administrators, you have to make them attractive long-term. Would you stick around under the plan you are offering? If you’re afraid their success will lead to them leaving, then your plan isn’t a win for both sides now and in the future. Sure, you can succeed by being greedy and trying to make the most profit you can right now, but you’ll also find yourself looking for new team members every year or so.
- You hire people because you like them. Just because you get along with someone doesn’t mean they’re right for the role you have open. Use the DISC profile to determine whether your hire has the right personality to be successful at the job. People are who they are, period. Don’t hire someone to be your administrator because you have a good feeling about them. Hire them because their DISC profile shows a high “C” with a little “I” mixed in. Hire an inside salesperson because they are a high “D” and can let rejection roll off their shoulder. You aren’t looking to hire five more people just like you. You want those who perform roles better than you could.
- You don’t have the systems in place to scale your business. The right processes are necessary not only to recruit and retain good talent but also to create proprietary systems that can be followed by anyone new to the team so your business doesn’t take a step back when someone leaves. When leads come in, they should be automatically assigned according to whatever criteria you have set. There should be automatic follow-up and a step-by-step process that is followed all the way through to closing, and the team leader should be able to review the process so that everyone is held accountable. This process is also important if you ever hope to create a salable asset out of your business.
- You don’t provide adequate training. When the business becomes second nature to you, it’s easy to develop a “do what everyone else is doing” attitude. For rookies, though, it doesn’t work that way. Believe me when I say that what you think is common sense isn’t so common to many others. You have to be clear and continually train on exactly what you expect from your team. If your team adopts a Wild West culture where everyone just responds to calls and goes on appointments on a whim, it’ll be difficult to make them change course. Commit to training and mentorship programs for any new hires. You won’t regret it.
- You think training is only for new hires. Many teams are looked at in awe for doing 200, 500, or 1,000 transactions a year. But those teams know they should be doing 300, 700, or 1,400 transactions. What’s stopping them? They don’t prioritize the ongoing training past the hiring stage that their team needs. Sometimes when you hit a growth spurt, you focus on just keeping up, and you start to forget the details that matter. Ongoing training and support provides those critical reminders. As a team leader, you can never allow quantity to trump quality — especially when your name is on the line.