Yes, we just compared real estate teams to barbecue. What can we say? The recent addition of Lewis Barbecue to the Charleston food scene has us up in arms with excitement.
Let’s continue with this analogy. Your business success is the secret barbecue recipe. And it takes hours upon hours to make the perfect brisket, pulled pork, sausage or ribs. You’ve been at this by yourself for awhile, but your business refuses to grow with only you to handle everything.
Until one day, your partner in ‘cue decides to join forces and run the front of the house, while you do what you do best. And this is the oversimplified version of how teams are built, businesses grow, and money is made.
Deciding to Grow Your Real Estate Business
There is a point on the conversion spectrum where a lead decides to take action and choose a vendor. This occurs in one of two ways.
- The lead was dedicated to another vendor and decides to make the change to your business.
- The lead is deciding between many vendors for the first time and decides to choose your business over the others.
Both instances deal with that “magic moment” of conversion.
Deciding to add another member to your real estate business occurs much in the same way. Whether it is just you, or a fully fledged team deciding to add another member, there is a moment of conversion that takes place.
You go from where you are now, to taking action on where you want your business to go.
And building your business does not mean you always want to build what the Real Trends Evolution of the Real Estate Team Study calls a “mega team.”
Oftentimes the decision to recruit another member for your business means one thing: support.
We are going to walk you through making the decision, qualifying to grow your team, committing to new addition(s), recruiting and the retention of your new talent. And all of these steps are done in the name of supporting more of what you do, so that secret recipe can be shared with more people and not spread too thin.
Qualifications of a Business Ready to Grow
No one can stop you except yourself and your wallet when it comes to deciding to grow your team. However, we like to think there are a few qualifiers to consider beforehand.
- Do you have a business plan?
- What is your consistent lead source(s)?
- Can your consistent lead source(s) handle another agent or support staff?
- What technology or process are you using to facilitate your team processes?
- How are you going to adjust your expenses to accommodate for a new addition to the team?
Real Estate Business Plan
Lane Hornung, CEO of 8z Real Estate, holds business plans in the highest regard. And since 8z has proved a master of expansion and adding quality contributing team members, we think it’s A-OK to follow their lead.
Every individual in the 8z hierarchy has a business plan to track personal progress. These personal plans are then congregated into team plans.
If you do not have a business plan as an individual, it will only get more cloudy once you begin adding to your team.
Your business plan should include annual goals and the benchmarks needed to achieve those goals. They include expenditures, along with income. And most importantly, they keep everyone accountable AND aware.
Consistent Lead Sources
Whether you are adding an assistant or another buyer’s agent, a consistent lead source is paramount. According to the Real Trends Team Study, “Team leaders and team members ranked their sphere, repeat and referral clients as the top lead source, followed by listing portals and websites.”
A reliable lead source whether it is organic traffic to your website, referrals, social media marketing, or so on, has to be in place before you bring in another team member.
These sources work in a reactionary way with your business plan to set a process in place for new team members. The lead source fuels your outcome and obviously funds new employees or support staff.
But what is not obvious is the ability to properly diversify your lead sources and in good times and in bad be able to comfortably afford your support staff.
Real Estate Technology
Nowadays real estate technology and tech companies like BoomTown are showing the industry how tech can do a lot of the busy work for you.
Technology will never completely replace a human connection, upon which real estate transactions are still largely based upon. But technology, at this point in time, is fully capable of automating your daily processes, the majority of online lead generation, follow-up, and more.
Before adding to your team you need to consider whether first a technology solution would help solve some of your current needs. And then second, what technology solutions are you currently using, and will they continue to accommodate your business if you bring another team member into the fold.
Adjusting Business Expenses
When you add more expenses to the register, there is an immediate assumption in many businesses that there will also be more income.
Without consistent lead sources, supporting technology and processes, and business plans, the income could be inconsistent and fall short.
In other words, you need to make the necessary changes and adjustments to your business plan when a new team member comes into the fold. And those adjustments have to be made within your means now in order to stay within your means later.
Commit to Growth: Who and When of Hiring Team Members
If you are going to recruit the perfect real estate team, you first need to know the perfect solution to your real estate needs.
Do you not have enough time to market your business and need a marketing point person? Is your buyer’s market expanding enough to afford another agent? Is your online lead volume coming in too quick to merit hiring an ISA? These are the questions and solutions you need to be asking yourself.
Establish the issue you need to solve through hiring. And then ascertain which type of person would be best for the job.
Becky Babcock and Brad Nix of Path & Post Realty have managed to nail down a successful hiring system based upon the personas of their clientele. They match their team members to the main groups in their audience.
These personality based hires contribute to overall team health, client retention, and employee retention.
Hiring upon persona though begins with you. As the team leader or member of a team it is your job to understand your own strengths and weaknesses. Through only this you can begin to understand who to hire.
Pro Tip: Do NOT hire someone who is exactly like you. This will only serve to bring you away from progression.
Recruit the Perfect Real Estate Team
The advent of the internet changed the hiring industry just as it has changed the world of real estate. And just how real estate websites compete against each other for the most creative, informative, and easy to use, so do recruiting outlets.
Several companies such as Go Realty out of Durham, North Carolina, have a comprehensive recruiting program. But if you are a smaller business searching for the right person, it may serve you well to enlist the help of a talent agency.
Smaller outfits in particular need to pay attention to their first hires as these people will most likely be those who help you build the team and set precedents moving forward.
You can find inspiration, no matter how big or small your business, in sites such as The Muse. This site provides “behind-the-scenes” views into the lives and inner workings of the businesses presented on their platform.
It serves as one example of a growing need for new talent to understand a company in its entirety. Not just how much money they are capable of making, but more so the work environment, culture, and growth potential. Check out the example page below:
Retain Your New Talent
Hiring may seem like the most difficult part of the process, but retention must be taken seriously in order to make success out of team building.
According to the Real Trends Team Study larger teams or brokerages are much more likely to experience team members coming and going. This is natural due to the tendency of culture and ideas to falter once team size grows.
We have observed though, that training, technology, and consistent touch points tremendously boost talent retention.
Whether you are a one person business, or a 50 person brokerage, you need to have training in place. Whether it is through your technology provider, coaching, or a systemized process with you. It is important for incoming team members to know they will be provided with proper training and not left to fend for themselves.
Even more so the level of training or preparation needs to be established from the get go.
Hand in hand with training, your technology needs to usher new hires in, not scare them away. If you don’t fully understand the technology being used to power your business, then how is a new hire going to handle it?
You don’t have to be the pro, far from it actually. You only need to direct resources in order to make the process possible.
Real estate technology can be used in your recruiting process as well to attract new talent. If your business is using technology in new and creative ways to drum up increasing business, the odds are new recruits will pay attention.
-Touch Points and Accountability-
BoomTown highly encourages healthy accountability practices in all real estate businesses. The business plans we mentioned earlier also come into play with accountability. To make sure your new hires are on board with your business’s processes, practices, culture, and in line for success, regularly touch base.
Without these touch points your business can easily become disjointed and removed from team goals.
Watch This Video Tip: Meeting With Your Team, More is More!
Notice we didn’t mention compensation here. We want you to remember that not every person is solely motivated by compensation. Yes, of course it is a factor. But retaining your team members relies largely on the factors above: training, technology, and touch points.
Remaining true to those three pillars throughout the years will maintain your team culture and acumen, allowing for future personal and team growth.