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RISMEDIA, Jan. 16, 2008-As more teams are stepping out into markets across the country, team leaders are finding what really works to succeed, especially in the current challenging market. Gary Mercer, of the Gary Mercer Real Estate Team, has been in real estate for 21 years and never has he experienced more freedom for both his business and lifestyle than as he does since working with his 16 team members.

Gary Mercer
The Gary Mercer Real Estate Team
Prudential Fox & Roach, Realtors
Years in Real Estate
: 21
Number of team members: 16
Region Served: Chester, Montgomery and Delaware counties in Pennsylvania
I formed a team because…I was generating a lot of business as a solo practitioner and I was working 24/7

How and why did you begin building a team?

I really went step-by-step up the ladder with it. Having a team has enabled me to have a life and to run it like a business as opposed to being an employee of my own business.

How is your team structured?

I have three admin people who assist me and all of my team members. I have a listing manager/personal assistant. I have a closing manager who does everything associated with the closings once I have negotiated all of the contracts that I am working on. My admin people take care of all advertising and marketing as well. My closing coordinator handles the technology aspects of the business like our Web site.

What’s your strategy for adding team members?

Most of them are referred to me. There are people who know me in the business world and think it’s a good match. During the interviewing process, in order to assure it’s a good match, I try to hire the opposite of my personality ad style. It makes us more versatile and more of a well-rounded team. Their strengths are my weaknesses and vice-versa.

Which positions have to be filled?

Right now, we could not do without one single person who is on the team. So all of the positions have to be in place with the right people.

What’s your approach to delegating?

I delegate as much as I possibly can. It’s the only way to true growth. If you don’t delegate-and the hardest thing for an agent to get over is that desire to control every aspect of the business and micromanage-you just can’t grow. My team members have been with me for years and that’s because they can grow. They can grow because I delegate and I want to see them grow. It’s all about the journey. How? As the team leader, my job is to generate business. So every day, I try to stay focused on that and try to delegate all other tasks.

Success Strategies

Growth since becoming a team: We have grown all 21 straight years and now we are starting to grow exponentially. I am going to give credit where credit is due and that goes to Mike Ferry who is truly interested in the success of all of his people in his program. His system is based on the 5 Equities: Family, Physical/health, Financial, Business and Spiritual-not necessarily in that order. When you are 100-percent in line with the 5 Equities, everything works out really, really well.

The one thing your team can’t live without: Fun. When it’s all said and done, the business of real estate is really about helping people achieve the American dream. We work really hard but for us to succeed as we do, it also has to be fun.

Best way to build a brand: Building a brand can be very expensive. Part of the reason my team has been so successful is we work at it diligently. We are out in the community and we are professionals. We want them to know they can trust us, which is crucial, and that they need our assistance and help. So I think you brand yourself by helping others and giving back to the community, and they in turn come to you for trusted help.

The key to profitability: Keeping your ego in check.

Average number of hours each team member works: I work between 50 and 60 hours a week and it’s really not work…and that’s by choice. My team members work anywhere from 20 to 40 hours a week. They are not all full time and not all of them want to do what I do, but they all work really hard when they are here.
On life in real estate: You have to treat the business as a business and as a job. You have to show up on time, stay on your schedule and you have to prospect. You have to keep at it daily even on the days you don’t feel like it if you want to be successful.