If hiring new talent is on the horizon for your business, consider some of these steps
If you’ve hit a point in real estate where you need to scale in order to accomplish your goals, you might consider building a support team. Maybe you have more leads than you can handle by yourself, or administrative tasks are swallowing time that could be spent nurturing those leads. In any business, scaling is an exciting step – but mistakes along the way could impede your growth.
Here are 8 steps for building a rock solid support team.
Hiring new talent should be strategic. There is a lot of conflicting advice out there, because every team (especially from franchise to franchise) has a different growth experience. Some will tell you, “only hire out of absolute necessity,” while some will say, “don’t be afraid to hire help early.” The truth is, it varies. External factors can have an affect; the economy, your local market, what stage of growth your business is in, etc.
First, determine your goals. Do you want to double your sales? Do you want to expand into a new network? Whatever your goals may be, write them down, and make a plan of action from there. As far as timing, look at your workload in congruence with your finances and goals. If you can’t get to where you want to be alone, start hiring.
Our recommended order for hiring, is:
1st Hire – Admin or Assistant
2nd Hire – Buyer Specialist
3rd Hire – ISA
4th Hire – Listing Agent
In the real estate industry, competition is fierce, and the team structure is a relatively new development in the scheme of things. Ownership over listings and the desire to reach personal goals can cause tension within a team, especially if you don’t have a strategic system for agents who are competing for leads.
Strong leadership, paired with excellent communication is paramount to ease this tension. Make sure the team is aligned with your goals as a business, and that as a leader you are listening to their personal goals as well. Cultivate good communication by facilitating weekly meetings, and annual or biannual retreats.
If you are using a CRM, there may be features to distribute leads fairly to agents. The BoomTown SharkTank feature gives an even playing field to agents competing for leads. The lead goes to the agent with the quickest response time within 5 minutes. If no agent is available, it will move into a structured rotation.
Technology can be a great asset for facilitating better communication – especially in an industry where team members are consistently out of office. Check out the following tools; Slack, BaseCamp, Wrike, Dropbox, Google Drive.
Aside from the communicative apps we’ve already mentioned, there is a wealth of technology available that can help free up your team from time-consuming tasks.
Social Media Management: If your marketing presence is heavy on social media, it could be beneficial to use a management tool to streamline your efforts. Buffer or Hootsuite are good options to check out.
CRMs: If you are building a support team, you likely are already using a CRM or have begun shopping for a CRM. CRMs are critical if you are in a period of growth and want to cut out manual busywork. Learn more about what CRMs can do for your business.
Phone Dialers: Automated Dialer technology like Mojo Dialer, allows you to connect with more prospects in less time. In any business, but real estate in particular, time is money. Reaching your lead as quickly as possible could mean the difference between closing a $500,000 deal, and another agent swooping in before you.
If you are considering adopting a new technology – read reviews, do a demo, speak to a representative, and go all-in with training. A tool is just that – a tool. It’s not a wand. It will give back as much as you put in. After a few months of solid effort, if adoption is low, weigh the benefits and consider moving on.
Hand in hand with communication and good leadership, is holding your team accountable. The strongest train can derail if one wheel malfunctions.
If you are not yet using a CRM, consider daily or weekly status reports to keep tabs on lead follow-up.
If you are using a CRM, like BoomTown, take advantage of the features in place for accountability. As a team leader you’ll have your finger on the pulse with your agents and can quickly check-in on follow-up status with leads. These tools allow you to guide the agents that may need a little extra coaching, recognize the ones that are succeeding, and incentivize your team to do better.
Support teams can easily feel disjointed. You’ll likely have a mixture of rookie and veteran agents, with different sets of expertise and ways of conducting business. In order to scale in a seamless way (especially if you plan to expand into new networks), your business needs to have cohesion.
Consider the following when defining your strategy:
- When farming a new area, identify a target audience, do demographics and statistics pooling. Stay up-to-date on market trends in the US and in your specific area.
Hire a coach:
- Real estate coaches can be invaluable for helping implement a business plan. If you are hesitant because of cost, think of it as outsourcing for the time you would spend planning, strategizing, and researching on your own.
Play on your team members strengths:
- If you have agents new to real estate, with less of a sphere of influence, have them improve their lead generation. More seasoned agents can focus on nurturing leads and farming new locations.
- More leads = more conversions = more closings. If you are not using a CRM system to automate your advertising, you could be running against a plateau.
The systems that you have in place will only function as well as your team understands them. Whether it is a seemingly simple operational process, or utilizing a robust technology, it is your job to ensure that your team is trained properly.
If you are using a complex technology, like a CRM or any sort of digital marketing tool, make sure that you are utilizing the onboarding, training, and customer support services that are available from those companies. Consider facilitating a weekly or monthly meeting to discuss any new features or updates, and address any recurring questions or concerns.
The most successful team leaders in the industry have one thing in common – they never stop learning. Whether it is seeing a coach, attending a conference, or loading their Kindle with business books, they understand that there are always areas for improvement.
Capitalize on your strengths as a leader and outsource your weaknesses. Maybe you are highly organized and efficient, but not the best at team-building. Delegate some team-building activities to an assistant or colleague and have them touch base with you if morale boosting or conflict resolution is needed.
A relatively new concept in the world of business and entrepreneurship, the boom of tech companies really launched “company culture” into the forefront over the last decade. If this elicits images of ping pong tables and bean bag chairs, don’t worry – a company culture can be as simple as establishing a clear mission statement, or starting each day with a team check-in. At the end of the day, a happy employee is a more productive employee.
Consider having a quarterly team party, or team-building activity. Perhaps offer a few more paid days off per year, or implement more meaningful incentives to show your appreciation.