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Prior to my career in real estate, I was responsible for manufacturing and assembling precision components for life support equipment used in the aerospace industry. To ensure the operational excellence of the business and the consistent quality and reliability of the products and services we provided, we adopted a Total Quality Management (TQM) system.

Applying some of these same Quality Management principles to your real estate team will elevate its performance and create amazing outcomes for all—team members and clients alike.

Principle 1 – Customer Focus
The customers’ needs always comes first! Our customers become our clients, so we need to ensure we fully understand what their needs are and when they need it. Every person on the team, each department, all systems, processes and policies should focus on the customer/client’s needs. The old adage “When you focus on the people, your bottom line will always take care of itself” could never be truer.

Principle 2 – Leadership
It’s no secret: Without clear and strong leadership, a business will eventually flounder. As a team leader, have you communicated your vision and set clear goals and objectives? Are you ensuring each team member is actively involved in achieving those targets and are they being provided with the ideal working environment, necessary tools, resources, training and accountability? Importantly, as a leader, your team needs to know that you, too, are totally committed.

Principle 3 – People Involvement
Everybody on your team plays a vital role in the overall success. Ask your team what’s working and what’s not. Be sure you’re engaging and empowering each member to fully utilize all of their abilities to be a part of the solution. Develop a culture that allows for open and honest communication, allowing the empowered individual to seek out and correct both current and potential future problems without fear. “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team” by Patrick Lencioni is a great book to get your team on the same page.

Principle 4 – Process Approach
This principle is all about efficiency, effectiveness and, above all, consistency. Any task that is performed more than once needs to be made into a documented procedure. By making sure that every activity and action plan you use with your team has detailed instructions, you’ll quickly develop a simple, repeatable system. Use a tool like Zoom to make a video recording library of each process you use for easy training and onboarding.

Principle 5 – Continual Improvement
Continually improving the team’s overall performance should be a permanent objective. When things are going wrong, focus on the systems and procedures, not the person implementing them. In nearly all cases, we have process problems, not people problems. This could be as simple as improving objection-handling techniques, scripts, dialogues, closing techniques, and more. If the team focuses on improving every aspect of their business by just 1 percent, the results will be exponential growth.

Principle 6 – Factual Approach to Decision-Making
Don’t let inattention to results be a dysfunction of your team. Be sure you and your team are tracking and analyzing all those activities that achieve the desired results. Success in real estate is no more than math. How many contacts does it take to make an appointment, how many appointments to make a sale and how many contracts for those sales to close? By measuring the results of our efforts, we know how many people we need to be in touch with each day in order to achieve our goals.

Principle 7 – Relationship Management
In a TQM system, this principle is all about the relationships we have with our vendors and suppliers; however, it can also be applied to the ongoing relationships we have with our clients. Are you making sure that the vendors (lenders, attorneys, title companies, inspectors, etc.) who you refer your clients to are people who will get the job done and that you can trust without checking on everything they do? Do they share the same core values? Do they understand what is expected of them and, just as important, what they expect from you and your team? How are you measuring their performance and providing feedback? Developing these relationships is key to providing a truly exceptional client experience.

Elevate your team to new heights by applying these quality principles and create a first-class, system-based approach to your real estate business.

Bernie Timms is president of Hilton Head Island Real Estate Brokers, Inc., and a coach with Workman Success Systems. For more information, please visit