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Team Strategies: Managing for Success

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By Lesley Geary

RISMEDIA, Jan. 5, 2008-Over the past 30 years, the real estate industry has seen many changes. One change that has helped Buzz Farias continuously was forming The Pro Team with his now-wife, Dotty. Here, meet Farias and what works to manage his team effectively.

Buzz Farias
The Pro Team
RE/MAX of Gulf Shores, Alabama

Year in Real Estate: Since 1978
Number of team members: Partner, wife Dotty Lou and six team members
Region Served: Gulf coast of Alabama

We formed a team because…“It was actually kind of an accident. I was an independent with another firm, was getting divorced and at the same time I met Dotty who was with RE/MAX and was also going through a divorce. So when we got married, we combined our real estate businesses. The team grew from that.”

How do you manage and lead the team effectively?

By example. I am more of the technical/business guy. I cross all the “T’s” and dot all the “I’s” in the contracts. Dotty is the one who cuts through all of the clutter and gets the day-to-day business done. We are both salespeople though Dotty outsells me. She could sell ice to the Eskimos. So between us we set a great example. We are almost generous to a fault, helping everyone with our time and energy. The one thing I need to do better is to keep our overhead down.

How did you make the transition from an independent agent to a team leader?

Trial and error. Dotty and I were both strong, independent people. But we have learned that there needs to be a lot of give and take. We both had to play towards our strengths. I am more of the business guy and Dotty does the sales. I realized that I had to let her have her head, and she realized she had to turn the check book over to me. We then took that formula to the team members as we grew the team.

How do you motivate the team?

I have slogans every year. Last year it was, “2007 is going to be heaven.” Next year will be “2008 is going to be great.” And truthfully they don’t need a whole lot of motivating because they all need to eat. But the main thing is, I encourage them when they get down. There are days when you couldn’t sell gold for $2.00 a pound. When that happens, I make sure that they go home and do not panic, but instead do something they love, come back the next day, and start all over again.

How do you take a leadership role in training your team?

We went to a Brian Buffini session recently, which we really liked. But we are constantly reading and taking training courses, and we can always do more. I have to be accountable. At the beginning of every year, we set up goals so that we are always reaching and we work with everyone to meet their goals. We also use all of the RE/MAX training which is heads above all the rest. We just had our Success Conference in the fall-we go there and get really motivated and trained to get out there and sell. They are constantly giving us tools and training. We shut down the office for the RE/MAX conventions and we all go and learn.

Success Strategies

Best competitive advantage: Dotty. My wife is the greatest. Years and years of experience puts us out in front of the pack. I don’t have to sell anybody anything, I just have to show them the inventory and let them decide. I never look at anyone with dollar signs. I just think if you do the right thing and be the expert and give great service you will succeed.

Our team is different because…We really truly do care about the client’s interest whatever that is. We are not looking at the commission. We are not looking to be liked by everyone. We treat our clients with all the honesty we can. Also you have to be professional and the only way to do that is to know as much about real estate as you can.

Our team culture: We are like a family. We have a ball doing what we do and as frustrating as it can be sometimes, we love real estate and love doing it.

Team Rewards: One year I said, “If we make this goal, I will take you all to the Bahamas.” We made the goal, we went and they loved it. I don’t make the goal so impossible that it is never going to happen either. This year they want the reward to be Hawaii if we make our goal. We also pay our admin person very well. We helped her buy a house; we gave her a car. We go above and beyond. But throwing money at them isn’t everything, so I also encourage them with praise.

The one thing you can’t live without: Dotty. She is my heart and soul. I also can’t live without my own self respect.

Personal slogan: “I’d rather turn you down today than let you down tomorrow.”

Team tagline: The professional choice…the choice is yours.

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