By Craig Proctor
RISMEDIA, February 18, 2009-There comes a point in many agents’ businesses where you have so much on your plate that you wonder whether you can possibly keep doing it all by yourself or whether you would benefit from hiring a team. If you are at this place in your business, here are some of the things you may be experiencing:
? You’re working 18 hour days, 6 or 7 days a week and burning the candle at both ends
? You’re stuck at a plateau in production that you can’t get beyond because you can’t possibly work any harder
? You’re becoming burnt out because you’re trying to be all things to all people
? The quality of your personal life is suffering because you don’t have enough time left to enjoy life
? Your business is starting to suffer from the standpoint of customer service – your clients and everyone else in your life is starting to notice that you’re spreading yourself too thin
? Frustration becomes your watch word – every time you cross something off your list there are three new things added to it
? You sometimes get paralyzed in the face of so much to do, not knowing where to start because no matter what you choose to do, there will be scores of other critical jobs you’re ignoring – it’s a lose/lose situation
Now some people will tell you that the whole team issue is smoke and mirrors. They’ll tell you that it won’t increase your personal profitability, because even though you’ll be putting up bigger numbers, you’ll be sharing this with others and thereby not gaining any net personal advantage. This simply isn’t true. I, and thousands of agents I work with, am making much more money now than before I put a team in place.
How? Because the right team members free you up to focus on the parts of the job you enjoy most and are best at – the parts that make you the most money. For most of us, that’s being in front of prospects, explaining the benefits you can give to them and converting them into clients. Because you don’t have to worry about all the other small details, you’re able to spend much more of you time doing this face-to-face.
This is a simple enough concept to understand. But some might still wonder whether the extra income you will generate really filters down profitably to your pocket. The answer again is “yes,” and here’s why. The key is that you shouldn’t try to hire a whole team overnight. Instead, you should grow one person at a time, only adding another person when you can prove financially that the addition of this person will gain your business more than it will cost. That’s pretty simple mathematics, and you don’t have to be an economics major to understand the principle of economies of scale.
With one more agent, for example, you will have very little new overhead. You’ll provide them with a computer, but that’s pretty much it. On the return side, you’ll take 50% of all their net commissions which should easily cover your costs early in the relationship. There’s no extra money put out for marketing or administrative assistance. Basically, hiring a new buyer’s agent should be like turning on another tap which pours out cash.
The decision to hire another unlicensed team member should be made when current job functions have become bigger than the people who are currently managing them, and when this happens, you have to start to be concerned about the level of service you’re providing your clients. If you were to lose a handful of clients because of sloppy follow-up or detail work, that loss in potential income could more than pay the cost of another body to help enhance the service level.
The fact is, the reason that many agents get scared at the prospect of a team is because they’re looking at it as one big unit that may seem very far from where they are currently. But remember, the right way to build a team is one person at a time, and most of you will start the way I did, with one single assistant to handle the time-consuming, administrative day-to-day details that don’t require your level of skill and experience to manage (things like answering phones, filing, making up feature sheets, banging in signs etc.)
Other People Can Extend Your Capabilities
A very important point I want you to understand is that you can gain enormous leverage through people. The right people in the right place at the right time can make things possible. They can extend the capabilities of your business a hundred-fold or more. The key is to develop a system to ensure that you find the right people, place them correctly, and motivate them relevantly.
The first thing that most agents do when they realize that they need help in the form of an assistant is to run out and hire someone – anyone (usually a friend or relative) – to take some of the pressure off. In actuality, this is the last thing you should do. You see, the most common problem I hear from agents is that they can’t get their assistants to do what they want and, as a result, both their money and time is wasted on someone who is unproductive.
I usually counter to these agents: “Well, what did you WANT your assistant to do?” It sounds like a simple enough question, but it’s a thought process very few have gone through, and if you fail to take this important first step, you’re almost surely destined for failure with the people you hire.
How Can Your Assistants Do What You Want If You Don’t Know What You Want Them to Do?
If you don’t have a crystal clear picture of what you want this person to do, how on earth could they have an accurate picture? How can they possibly fulfill your expectations if you don’t really know what your expectations are?
You can’t leave it up to your team members to invent their jobs and thus your business. You must be the one to decide which duties a position will include and how it will be performed. If you leave this decision up to your assistant, they will naturally pick and choose to do the tasks they like to do. And if that doesn’t happen to include (for example) filing or answering the phones, you may find that these duties either don’t get done, or land back on your plate! Remember, you’re in control. You are the Rainmaker. Make sure you make the rain rather than getting rained on.
“When interviewing potential candidates for any position, be sure to administer a personality test so you will have a clear picture of the type of person you are dealing with. Knowing this in advance will not only help you make the right hiring decision, but it will also help you in your training efforts.
“Set goals and expectations for new agents in their first 90 days to determine if they are going to succeed in this business. In addition, all agents who join your team or company need to sign an independent contract agreement with an exit agreement to protect the leads given to them.
“A team can provide leverage which will enable you to focus on the ‘big rocks.’ While you are the master at lead generation, others can assist you on buyer appointments, inputting listings, marketing and administrative duties. Start small and build as your budget allows you to. Never hire an agent just because they have big numbers. They should meet all of your team’s core values: i.e. integrity, strong customer service skills, a desire to succeed and finally, they must be a team player.” – Willie Miranda, Clifton Park, N.Y.
Billion Dollar AgentTM Craig Proctor has been in the top 10 for RE/MAX Worldwide for 15 years. Craig consistently sells over 500 homes per year to earn almost $4 million in annual commission. Over 25,000 agents nationwide use Craig’s system to make more money in less time. To learn about free Craig Proctor workshops held year round in cities across the country, visit: http://www.hypertracker.com/go/cp/a18c090218/.
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