When you’re growing a real estate business, balancing growth can be one of the hardest parts in the evolution of a real estate team. There comes a day in every individual agent’s career when they realize leveraging someone else’s time could prove to be instrumental to the growth of their business. Five to 10 years ago, that addition usually would be just your administrative assistant. Nowadays, having a team is the norm. This setup typically revolves around a head listing agent, an administrative assistant and (at least) one buyer’s agent. Then there are some real estate teams that have a plethora of associates, enough even they could be a microbrokerage.
Hiring people to help you grow your business sounds great in theory, but how do you do it successfully and what can you expect? In over a decade of selling real estate, I did not start implementing a team into my growth strategy until about four years ago. It was in that time I made several mistakes — not only when it came to my team’s structure but hiring mistakes as well. Overall, it did help me achieve a higher level of business that grew my business to a level where I was recognized as one of the top 100 agents in my marketplace.
Below are my top five tips for hiring a team that will launch your real estate business to new heights.
1. More help means more responsibility.
As a sales associate, you realize that in our day-to-day lives we often understand the term “professional babysitter” when dealing with all the people we interact with. The second you start adding team members into this equation, this term becomes even more relatable. Depending on their level of experience, team members may require your attention almost around the clock, and even if they aren’t inexperienced, you still need to dedicate a significant amount of time developing the culture of your team.
Being a leader is so much more than being the face of a brand. It’s truly setting an example of how you expect your team to interact with its clients and represent your brand within the industry as a whole. Your team is watching every move you make, so it’s important that you take their success seriously and have a proven track record of success to boot.
2. Don’t hire based on potential alone.
No matter how easy it is to want to see the best in people, hiring solely on potential is going to set you up for disaster. I’ve made many hiring mistakes. For example, I brought on a real estate agent who extremely talented, especially when it came to their pulse on marketing. My fault as a manager was wanting to blame myself for any discord on my team — I wondered what else I could do to motivate this person, rather than accept that it wasn’t a good professional fit, and I failed to heed the warning signs. Had I conducted a personality profile test or listened to my initial instincts, I probably would have saved myself a huge headache.
3. Consider only full-time job seekers.
Hiring part-time team members who aren’t paid interns is also a hiring pitfall. Not only does it make it challenging for training and setting quality control for how much time they invest into creating new business, but it can cause a lot of resentment amongst other team members as they feel the part-time agents aren’t pulling their weight or investing in the team’s culture as much as they are.
4. Recognition matters.
When developing your team, consider the opportunities you can give your team members to self-brand. One of the benefits they receive from working with you should be using your name to get business, but remember that they are independent contractors as well. Give them some leeway to take listings, have sign riders and not be too homogeneous with your personal brand. Ultimately, it will allow for a greater longer-term retention.
5. Start with an assistant.
You truly don’t understand responsibility as a business owner until you have employees who rely on your success in order to make a living. When hiring sales associate team members, their performance (or lack thereof) can lead you to disappointment — however, it does not directly cost you money the same way being an employer does. The best decision I ever made was to take the leap to employ a full-time assistant. She adds incredible value to my business and knowing her family relies on my success, the pressure is definitely on to sell. Once you can see the value add of an assistant, then bring on your first team member who will also enjoy the benefits of having additional support.