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Principal: Mario Greco
Team: The Mario Greco Group
Brokerage: Rubloff Residential Properties
Area Served: Chicago
First formed a team: 3 years ago
Years in real estate: Started selling full time in September of 2002.
Team members: 10

Why was the team formed? Because I realized that I could not service my clients with the level of service I wanted to alone.

What are the biggest benefits of having a team? Most importantly you give a high level of service. And When I do take time off-which is not very frequently–I can do it without worrying that clients will not have anyone to talk to or to take care of them.

Best advertising for the dollar spent? "Just listed" and "Just sold" postcards without a doubt.

What do you tell people on listing appointments about the value of hiring your team versus hiring a solo agent?
If you hire a team you are able to talk to multiple people. As long as it's not a substantive question they will likely get better answers from a team member. Especially in a slower market every seller should want to hire a team because you can honor every buyer's showing request. If I were a single agent and someone phoned on Wednesday for a Saturday showing of one of my listings I might have to tell them I am sorry but I have a buyer on Saturday and can't do the showing till Sunday. But with a team someone is always available to do the showings even when I am out with buyers.

Let's take an in-depth look at maintaining profitability and compensating the team:
What is key to making sure that everyone on the team feels he or she is getting paid fairly?
I make sure to compensate my team above the market. And I make sure that their compensation is tied to my production so that the more I make the more they make. But to be honest with you I have an accountant and a bookkeeper who tell me how to do it. I don't think of it really. It is a risky system but they watch every dollar that comes in and goes out goes through them. I used to spend 3 hours every Sunday doing the bookkeeping but then I hired a new bookkeeper who does accounting and it was the best decision I ever made. As far as the actual nuts and bolts: I have 2 systems in place. I have salaried licensed assistants who get paid a percentage of what I make. And I also have agreements with each sales person individually. If they bring in a listing they get paid their commission at my split with the company and then they give me a percentage of the commission but it is likely much higher than it would be normally because my split is quite high. Last year alone I did $101 Million in sales.

What's your best tip for getting a listing at the right price?
Coming in armed with accurate comps and all of the activity that has gone in on the building even if its longer than 6 months ago. And making sure that sellers understand what the market is doing today. We have to be realistic here. I also promise that I am going to get at least 97 percent of what it has listed for.

What's your best idea for holding effective team meetings?
Make it the same time every week. And make them inviolate. And prepare for it the night before. I don't just wing it the day of. I usually start out a team meeting with a tip and then go into all of our listings and what the feedback is. Also at some point in the meeting we also talk about the administrative stuff usually at the end I will excuse everyone except the people who take care of administrative work so that the sales people can do their business.

What works best in generating online leads?
I have no idea because I don't know where my leads come from. I do list everything I list on Craig's list. I put everything on my website and am trying to buy new key words. But I think this whole on-line lead generation thing is a little suspect. I have never gone after just random leads. My business is basically generated from referrals.

On life in real estate: Treat others as you would have them treat you. You get what you put into it. The more you work the more you do make. There is some luck involved. In real estate you really work hard and you treat all of your customers like they are your only ones and they will refer you. #

Lesley Geary

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