Real estate teams are all the rave right now, and for good reason. There’s no need to take the risk of opening your own brokerage and paying big franchise fees to buy into a known brand, when you can start a team under the umbrella of an established brand/brokerage in your area and have the best of both worlds. But building a successful team requires you to be more than a savvy real estate agent. There is a lot more at stake than just closed deals: hiring the right agents, providing leads and training on how to convert those leads, getting your team to buy into your system, managing support staff and expenses, and handling any personnel issues. You’re running a business—not just acting as a real estate agent anymore—and if you forget that, you can watch it all go up in smoke.

Let’s take a look at the key areas of running a team where you’ll need to become an expert:

  • Hiring Agents—this a tough one. The field is loaded with candidates, but how do you find the right ones? There are different schools of thought on this.
    • Hire new agents who are hungry, can take direction, and eager to learn from an experienced pro, like yourself. These people are malleable, and aren’t stuck in their ways with a bunch of bad agent habits that will prevent them from adopting your philosophy and processes. The downside is new agents have a lot to learn, so it will take some time for them to get going. The upside is that once they have bought into your systems and processes and seen some success, the sky is the limit. You can then teach them to wash, rinse and repeat to bring in a steady stream of income to your business.
    • Find experienced agents who aren’t achieving a lot of success on their own and sell them on your methods. The upside is these agents have experience with real estate so they aren’t starting from scratch. The downside is they may be stuck in their ways and need a little push. It’s important for you to make sure your expectations are conveyed to them as far as what they’ll need to do to be successful on your team and you have the energy to keep them focused on the bigger picture.
    • Find highly successful agents in your market and try to craft a super team. This is difficult because successful agents don’t see the need for change as they’ve already found systems that work well. But the value proposition to present is the opportunity to earn more money from all the successful agents on the team below them. The downside is you may have competing egos and opinions within the team because everyone has had a lot of success and one person may feel like his or her method is best.
  • Systems and Processes – Before starting your own team, make sure you have your own systems and processes for capturing and converting leads down to a science. This is the backbone of your operation. These systems should be scalable and repeatable—meaning you can ramp those systems up to bring in more leads and convert more deals. If all of your business comes from your personal network that you’ve nurtured over the past 20 years, that’s not a scalable and repeatable model for other agents who are just starting out, or who may not have much of a network.
  • Training – Can your systems be taught? What skills does an agent need to be successful with your systems? Some skills are innate—such as being able to network or meet new people at an event. Not everyone has the ability to do this. Although they might be trainable, it can take time. Finding people whose skills work well with your systems is critical in order to not waste time on people who can’t or don’t want to learn/change. In addition, training requires some hand holding and teaching on your part. Make sure you have the patience for this. You’ll probably be making calls with your new agents at first to help guide them, and even going along to listing or buyers appointments to give feedback on how they can improve these sales calls. It takes time and patience on your part, but will pay big dividends for you over time if you put in the work.
  • Staff – How many support staff employees will you need? What will be required of them and will you be able to grow with them as the backbone of your operation? This also goes back to hiring. How do you find support staff who buy into what you’re doing? Do you incentivize them with bonuses based on team performance? What are your expectations of them when hiring? As in most hiring decisions, experience is important, but personality and gut instinct can be just as important when deciding who the right fit for your business is.
  • Technology – This often gets overlooked by agents when starting their own team. It’s imperative to make sure your data is being tracked accurately by using the right software. An accurate snapshot of your company’s finances and overall health will allow you to make smart business decisions instead of relying on a gut feeling. Agent management systems, such as BrokerSumo give you the tools you need to manage your agents, figure out commission splits, and analyze their sales performance. Your agents will need a CRM to make sure they can organize their leads effectively, and it should be a system that gives you oversight into the number of leads coming in, and your agents follow up activity. While you don’t want to micromanage them, you need your finger on the pulse of their activity to ensure they are doing what is needed to be successful. Placester wrote a great post on CRM software for real estate agents.
  • Team Culture – You may have read how creating a culture within a business is critical to getting people to buy into to what you’re doing. Real estate teams are no different. Creating a culture within your team is a great way to build loyalty and commitment from your agents and staff. Forbes wrote a great article on culture, titled How to Build a Great Company Culture.

If you feel like you have the skills necessary to create a real estate team you should go for it. There is no better time to do it. With the industry going through so many changes and consumers having access to so much information, a team can provide more value and better service than an individual agent.  And a team can help you build a long term, sustainable real estate business that doesn’t require you to do all the heavy lifting.