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By Ralph Roberts

RISMEDIA, Nov. 28, 2007-Independent real estate agents are often reluctant to explore the agent team approach. They often mistakenly believe that the best way to serve their clients is to do everything themselves-answer the phone, develop CMA’s (Comparative Market Analyses), create presentations, meet personally with clients, show homes, and perform all the other tasks required to run a successful real estate business. Unfortunately, this “nobody could do it better than me approach” often results in inferior customer service.

I was recently flying home from the National Association of Realtors convention in Las Vegas, and I began thinking what would happen if airlines followed the same approach that most Realtors practice. I would call the airline to book a flight, and the pilot would answer the phone. When I arrived at the airport, the pilot would check me in, check my bags, follow me to the inspection point to make sure I wasn’t trying to carry any prohibited items on the plane, and then escort me to the gate to make sure I boarded the right flight and secured a seat.

Prior to takeoff, the pilot would enter the cabin, show us how to buckle our safety belts, explain the emergency procedures, and tell us to turn off all of our electronic devices. He would then slip into the cockpit and prepare for takeoff. Once we were cruising along at the right altitude, the pilot would return to the cabin to pass out snacks and drinks and then collect our trash when we were finished.

I could go on, but you get the point: Having the pilot handle everything would be an incredibly inefficient system. Yet, Realtors take this approach every day in their business. Then, they wonder why they are so overworked, stressed and impoverished.

Power agent teams can liberate you from the shackles of your occupation. By hiring and training staff and delegating tasks that you really don’t need to be involved with, you can focus your energy and efforts on addressing high-level client needs, drumming up more business and serving more clients. In other words, you can do what you do best and are most passionate about and assign the rest of the work to others who are better trained and equipped to perform those tasks.

With a team, for example, you can have a director of first impressions answering the phones, greeting clients and managing the office. A closing coordinator can handle all the paperwork required from the time a buyer makes an offer on a property until closing day. A marketing manager can ensure that all listings are properly advertised, create and manage your Web site, post fresh content on your blogs, and work toward building a strong brand presence for you and your team.

Concerned about the costs of maintaining a team? This is certainly a valid concern, but as long as you have more business than you can currently handle, the additional business that a team will enable you to handle and the subsequent revenue that your team will generate is almost always more than enough to cover the added expenses. In fact, most agents who run successful teams often wonder how they could ever have afforded to run a real estate business without a team!

Ralph R. Roberts, official spokesperson for Guthy-Renker Home and author of Flipping Houses For Dummies and Advanced Selling For Dummies (John Wiley & Sons), can be contacted at 586.751.0000, or by e-mail at