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For this reason, the most effective path forward for many new agents is to join a team at the beginning of their career. It is not just for newbies, however: for seasoned solo agents looking to grow, the best way to ascertain best practices for building a team of your own is to join a successful team and learn the ropes from the inside out.
Here are our top 22 reasons for being on a mega team:
Large, successful teams have a visible footprint that generates ongoing success for the members of the team. Brand recognition is important in not only generating current sales but is helpful for building in the future: as the brand becomes more recognizable, it becomes easier to convert leads based on reputation alone.
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.
To ensure that everyone on a team produces at a top level, most teams provide access to training designed to enhance their team member’s capabilities. While individual agents can secure training either from their brokerage or through third-party companies such as Brian Buffini or Tom Ferry, costs can be prohibitive. Many teams provide training either free or at a nominal cost.
The primary job in real estate sales is the generation of leads. A solo agent I know who runs a small one-person brokerage recently asked, “So just exactly how do you get leads, anyway?”
In reality, lead gen can be very expensive. As this solo agent discovered, the level of marketing required to generate a significant flow of leads was beyond his financial capabilities.
Large teams have the deep pockets required to generate leads over a wide spectrum of sources. Those leads are, in turn, handed to members of the team to convert. In most cases, the more leads a team member converts, the more they get.
Real estate sales require a good deal of capital to be successful. 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 quite steep.
Most teams cover the massive overhead so that individual team members do not have to worry about it. 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, they 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. In fact, the better they work and celebrate together, the more cohesive and effective they become. Even though made more difficult by COVID, teams find ways to keep the camaraderie alive.
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 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.
By stripping away the need to handle all the tasks facing solo agents and allowing team members to turn their focus on the core, fundamental tasks that will actually build their business, team members can become exceedingly more effective. Rather than designing brochures, handling a bulk mailing, coordinating an email campaign or responding to a client’s crisis, 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 – you will not get very far down the road without extensive and, in many cases, expensive systems. Solo agents are on their own when locating and/or developing systems – teams have already done the hard work of building or purchasing the systems they need for every aspect of their business. All newbies to a team need to do is 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. Consequently, larger teams have client care coordinators who can oversee the many tasks required to provide the utmost level of care to clients. Whether called ‘client care’ or ‘client concierge,’ these team members provide a level of service simply impossible for solo agents.
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 the back up 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. A team has many different job descriptions within its framework that can provide an environment to grow and thrive within the boundaries of your innate gifting.
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. Lastly, as the leader of a mega team within our brand, 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.
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 is often 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.
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.”
By 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.
Team members also have an easier time tracking profitability since the check they received is their actual compensation since they are not paying any overhead costs.
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 US 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 for accountability, 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 leads, the ongoing management of leads in a large team is delegated to the ISA department. 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 helps them stay on task. It also 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 instead. 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.
There is power in numbers and, while some agents will always be on their own, teams are the future of real estate. It behooves every agent out there to avail themselves of potential opportunities to learn what they can from teams to be able to grow their own businesses to the highest level possible.