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building_teamWe’ve all been to enough education sessions to know the late-afternoon drill. Sometime toward the end of the program you start noticing people gathering up their things and heading out the door. Once the flow starts, it tends to quicken.

There’s no telling why it happens, but it always does. Almost always, that is.

Back in December, more than 600 brokers, agents, team leaders and team members traveled to Las Vegas for a single-day session billed as The RE/MAX Ultimate Teams Event. The program began at 8 a.m. and didn’t end until 5 p.m., but you could count the early departures on one hand.

I don’t bring that up to make a grand statement about the RE/MAX event—although the feedback was off-the-charts positive. I mention it because I think it says something about what a hot topic teams are right now.

David Scott, Judy LaDeur, Travis Robertson, Tom Ferry and a panel of elite team leaders covered a lot of career-changing ground that day. To summarize just a few great points, here are five things to know before you build a team:

1. Know Why
Building a team costs time and money, two things you want more of—not less—so knowing your “why” is critical. It’s best to develop a team mission, vision, core values and key beliefs before you do anything. Later, when you bring people on, they’ll be clear about where you want to go and how you want to get there. Teams without clarity go nowhere.

2. Know When
Consider a team only when/if you’re consistently dollar-productive with your time. If you’re maximizing your efforts on the three most critical activities—generating leads, converting leads and servicing leads—it makes sense to consider adding people and expanding your capacity. If you aren’t, it’s not time to build a team; it’s time to refocus.

3. Know What
As a team leader, you’re the CEO of a sales organization, with a role that expands (at least initially) into areas like planning, staffing and leading. The demands on your time will increase, so how will you still cover the primary aim of generating, converting and servicing leads? Two elements make it possible: 1) the right team members; and 2) repeatable systems designed to cover every vital activity. As one speaker said in Las Vegas: “Systems run the business. People run the systems.”

4. Know Who
Finding the right team members is a process, and understanding personality types is a great starting point. A common trap is adding people exactly like you. Instead, find members who reflect your team values while bringing complementary talents and traits to the mix. Different roles need different personalities, all working cohesively toward the goal.

5. Know How
Building a team is an excellent way for top agents to replicate themselves and push their production even higher. But there’s no universal template, so find out what others are doing. Events such as the one in Las Vegas are invaluable for that. Seek advice from team leaders you know, or from your broker. In our network, for instance, many of our brokers offer a Master Team Builder course that helps agents understand each step in the process. Your broker might have something similar.

Ultimately, like most things, learning all you can before you start is the best course of action—even if it means staying through the very end.

Geoff Lewis is president of RE/MAX, LLC.

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