Many successful REALTORS® struggle with whether or not they should create a team or consider a partnership. Team-building experts Jim Remley and James Colburn make answering those questions much less of a struggle. Remley and Colburn are co-authors of the upcoming book, “Teamify,” which they describe as the “no headache, step-by-step guide to creating a winning real estate team, crushing your competition, and getting your life back.” They should know.
At age 19 Remley listed over 150 properties in a 12-month period. He’s currently listed in the top 1 percent of REALTORS® nationwide. He’s the author of three books, including “Real Estate Presentations That Make Millions” and “Sell Your Home in Any Market.” He’s an accredited Luxury Home Specialist and the principal broker/sales manager at John L. Scott Medford & Ashland.
Co-author Colburn is well established, as well. He’s been a top-producing REALTOR® since the 1990s and is the author of the five-star success book “RESUCCEED.”
In a recent webinar, Remley and Colburn outlined the questions you must ask yourself, and the path you must follow to create a winning team or partnership—beginning with common misconceptions and surprising realities about what teams and partnerships are, and what they are not. Remley and Colburn explained what each structure can and can’t realistically accomplish for your firm, and explain what every REALTOR® needs to consider before moving forward.
The No. 1 Reason for Creating a Team
Do you want more leads? Teams are a great way to get them—but only if you’re in a position where a team will work for you, not against you. Just because everyone else is doing it, you’re too busy to go it alone, you want more of a work/life balance, or because you want to make more money, isn’t reason enough. Your No. 1 reason for creating a team should be that you consistently have more leads than you can follow up on.
“The No. 1 thing to consider when thinking about starting a team is the number of leads you have. Do you have them, and can you generate enough of them to feed a team?” Remley asked.
To create a successful team, you need to have a constant stream of leads to feed the team. Long before starting a team, find out how many leads you’re actually generating. Find a junior agent or someone in the office you can hand off 10 to 15 leads to for three or four months. See if you have the business you think you do before try to justify a team. Building a team is not a revolution, but an evolution. It takes time and effort to get there.
Doughnuts to Dollars
Using what he termed the “bakery example,” Remley asked, “How do you sell more doughnuts?” Which comes first, hiring more employees, or selling more doughnuts? Selling more doughnuts, of course.
“First and foremost,” he said, “team leaders are great at ‘selling doughnuts.’ They are lead generators. Until you get control of leads, you have no business starting a team. Sometimes we think a team is four, five, or 10 people. A team can be as little as you and an assistant. The first evolution of team-building is an assistant, so, hire a full-time assistant. If you can’t afford to hire a full-time assistant, you have no business starting a team.”
Truths About Teams
Don’t assume that if you create a great team and hire successful agents, you’ll generate more leads. “If team members could generate leads themselves, they wouldn’t join a team. Do not expect them to be a significant source of leads,” Remley said. “It’s not that they’re not great salespeople; it’s that it’s just not their forte to be great lead generators, and that’s okay. Everyone has a role to play.”
To be a team leader, you must be a rainmaker, a haymaker and a leader. “Even if you’re not a leader today, you can become one,” he said.
The First Steps to Create a Team
Hire a full-time, licensed assistant. As your business grows, their job can shift into the position of team administrator. Their No. 1 job should be building repeatable and scalable systems; without repeatable systems, you don’t have a business.
Remley stressed that an important step is to “create an incubation system for generating leads. You must have a system for building leads. Without it, you’re missing the boat.” Start by creating a communication system—your assistant should be calling or reaching out to your clients every day.
Don’t try to take on too much change all at once. Evolution is a slow process; start small and grow.
Is a Team Not an Option? How About a Partnership Instead?
If a team might be too much, why not consider a partnership? They can be incredibly lucrative, but they have their drawbacks, Remley said. “Inevitably one person becomes the lead generator and the other becomes the administrative person,” he said. “At some point partnerships fail because the compensation model feels unfair.”
The way to make sure that doesn’t happen is to have clear financial goals and compensation agreements in place from the beginning. Create clearly-defined roles and job descriptions. “Have something in writing that says, ‘This is what I’m responsible for and this is what you’re responsible for,’ and, most importantly, have an exit strategy—a way to get out without burning bridges if things just don’t work out. I know from experience that when partnerships end, they usually end poorly.”
The No. 1 test for picking a partner? Road trips. “Take a road trip with the person you’re considering partnering with,” Remley said. “If you can’t be in a car with this person for eight or 10 hours for a couple of days, you can’t work with this person for 40 or more hours a week.”
“Being in a team is a lot different than being in a partnership,” Colburn said. “In a team, one person is the leader and in charge. In a partnership, both people have the same amount of control. So, that’s why if you’re considering a partnership, take a road trip!”
To learn more about the pros and cons of creating a team and to see if creating a team or a partnership is your best option, listen to the Teamify webinar at SecretsOfTopSellingAgents.com.
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