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Today’s “Ask the Expert” column features Arthur Darmanin, Chief Executive Officer with Sellstate Realty Systems Network, Inc.

Q: Is building a team right for me?

A: This is a question that many agents ask themselves as they start to gain momentum in their careers. The short answer is that a team can be beneficial so long as you’re aware of what it takes to build and maintain a successful team.

We know that the positive to building a team is the ability to leverage yourself through others in attempts to accumulate wealth. While this is certainly true, in many cases, teams require substantial investments in both time and money. In addition, successful teams will also require your leadership and rely on your ability to train others.

The question that agents should ask themselves prior to diving into a team is: “Why do I want a team?” If the answer is because you have more leads than you’re able to handle and you’re afraid that you’ll lose out on revenue, then there’s another option that should be considered.

Instead of building a team, consider approaching agents in your office that could use the extra business to set up a referral system. You should be able to negotiate your percentage somewhere in the range of 25 – 30 percent for every sale from one of your buyer or seller leads.

When taking this approach, be sure to choose the agent(s) carefully. They must be willing to do the work necessary and be loyal to your office. If you’re unsure of who to approach, ask your broker to help you find the right person in your office.

Once you’ve selected the agent(s) that you’ll be working with, be sure to sign a written referral agreement for each referral, and make your broker aware of who is involved. These agreements will be similar to those that are drafted between different brokerages who work together on a transaction and will help avoid any future misunderstandings.

When working with the agents, don’t make the mistake of giving too many leads to one individual as they’ll likely not be able to keep up and will “cherry pick” the best leads and drop the rest. Instead, spread your leads to a number of agents and have a group working your leads. This practice will also help you identify the best closers. The nonproductive agents should be dropped from your referral group.

Now that you know who to work with, and are passing along referrals, you must follow up, follow up, follow up. The importance of following up with the agents that you gave leads to cannot be emphasized enough. These leads are worth money to you. The first follow-up should be within hours of handing off the lead to ensure that contact has been made with the client. This is so important that the written referral agreement could even include a section that the agent receiving the referral must report back to you on a daily basis. While this may seem overbearing, the thing to remember is that these updates could be done with a simple email.

While going through the process of creating this referral group, you’re also setting the foundation of building a team. Should you eventually decide to move forward with a team, you’ll already have the systems and potential team recruits in place.

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