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RISMEDIA, February 14, 2011—As a former lone wolf, I’ve recently embraced the team approach to real estate. I resisted for a while but recently I’ve reevaluated the team concept and have some solid ideas on how to make it work.

1. Commitment is key. Most high performing agents will form a team because they simply do not have time to keep up with the business and need help. That’s not a reason to form a team, it’s a reason to hire help; know the difference. In the past, I’ve encountered problems by teaming up with the wrong type of agent. For example, the real estate agent who says they want to succeed, but hasn’t found success yet. I misled myself into thinking with a few months of my tutelage they could really “be something.” I was wrong. The team concept works when all of the team members contribute the same level of passion. The strengths can be different but the commitment to success must be the same.

2. Promote the benefits to clients. Many teams form in real estate but never tout the benefits of the team to potential clients—a huge mistake. Think of this—if you have three people on your team, you have three times the workforce of a single agent. Three times the work force, sphere of influence and responsiveness—for the same commission. Not a bad deal. Don’t forget to emphasize this in your team’s marketing material.

3. Be clear about roles and responsibilities. When you form a team, you go from being a solo entrepreneur to having a corporation. With that comes the need for strategy, planning, clearly defined and agreed upon goals and budgets. Talk about these items with the person you want to form a team with. Decide who will do what, how you can support each other and lay out the roles and responsibilities clearly. Also decide on an exit strategy. It’s better to plan the divorce in the honeymoon stage than after.

4. Invest in your team. One of the things that will set my team apart is that I will invest an enormous amount of money into marketing the team. This is something that benefits everyone and allows me to attract talent. A team partner will know that I am investing in all of us, so that we can all share in the success. I also will be investing time in training, collaborating and supporting my team. Sometimes it’s the intangibles, such as covering for a team member when they have a sick child home from school that makes all the difference in the world.

Lisa Johnson is vice president, Coldwell Banker Real Estate Brokerage. Johnson speaks about the team concept in real estate regularly and can be reached through Expose Yourself Public Relations Company at 617-957-3868.