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Close to 40 percent of agents have considered joining a real estate team, and 26 percent are currently on one, according to National Association of REALTORS® stats—and with good reason. From efficiencies to lead opportunities, there are benefits to joining a team. For the agents who do, they have a leader to look to for mentorship and support—and often, access to actionable insights that their leader has learned and perfected in real-world scenarios.

As leaders of their own real estate team, Phil Sexton and Jeff Sibbach believe in the power of these valuable takeaways. With a combined 30 years of experience in the industry, and the 33-member Sibbach Team, the duo has firsthand knowledge of the necessary skillsets for success, and are now packaging them through their proprietary skills training, Agent Truth.

“Agent Truth is about helping people become better REALTORS®,” explains Sibbach, who is affiliated with eXp Realty. “What we do at Agent Truth is help agents become better at what they do.”

Agent Truth was borne out of a desire to elevate REALTORS®, not in the capacity of consumer experience, but to all-encompassing experts on houses and real estate, Sibbach says. Through Agent Truth’s flagship podcast, “The Solution,” and programs and videos, Sexton and Sibbach’s goal is to impart training that “wins.”

“We believe that our message is going to be the dominant message of the industry,” says Sibbach. “We’re in the middle of a shift in the marketplace, and I don’t hear a lot of us talking about the message that’s going to win.”

Suzanne De Vita: What’s your approach to leading the Sibbach Team?
Phil Sexton: “Lead by example.” I don’t want our agents to think that we’re asking them to do something we haven’t done or are not willing to do. There’s too many team leaders (and members) out there in our current industry that may be working on their scripts, working on their processes, but they aren’t “in” it. We want to be at street-level, not the 10,000-foot level.

Jeff Sibbach: We believe that most agents and teams are at the 10,000-foot level. We want to give people real tactics. The market is changing massively. A lot of times, change is hard, but it’s what’s making us successful. We’re constantly evolving [as a team]—and it’s not because of a manual we put together eight years ago.

SD: You have a fairly large team. How are you creating a culture of unity?
JS: Meetings! We have weekly meetings for an hour-and-a-half where we talk about our vision.

PS: You can call it “meetings,” or you can call it “love and attention.” We’re able to give our agents attention so they don’t feel like they’re just “at a brokerage.” What’s troubling them? What’s that lead they need help on? “Communication” is the word that boils it all down. It’s also making sure that they’re aware of what they’re working on and being open and honest. A lot of people on the team look to us. We study the industry at a macro level, and then share that with our team.

JS: We keep them from doing things that are going to waste their time. That’s one of the benefits of our team, and we continue to try and reinforce that.

SD: What are your best marketing strategies for your team?
PS: We actually help people sell their home—it’s proven. People in the industry list houses; we help people maximize their return. From the marketing standpoint, we focus on (through our internet presence) how we communicate that to the public. When they see our name on mailers, when they see us online or on social, and then go and look us up, we want to look like the agents that we are.

JS: We have to stay on-point with our messaging, which is to deliver quantifiable results. We’ve got to build trust on every platform, and have a consistent message. 

SD: Agent Truth is not exclusive to your team. What can you tell us about it?
JS: Agent Truth is about helping people become better REALTORS®. We train agents to expand their skillsets. We have training videos on 400 different aspects of being an agent. Coaches are all about numbers; we’re more about skills. We have a podcast called “The Solution” where we ask leading agents around the country what they do to help the consumers, and 99 percent of them talk about the customer experience, and how it’s “everything.” What we do at Agent Truth is help agents become better at what they do. There hasn’t been another organization that is as focused on helping agents improve their skills as we are. The industry lets agents believe that it’s OK to say homes are sold price-per-square foot, when that’s not reality. If you want to become a lead agent, you really need to become a house expert, and understand what that house is actually worth and what makes up that value. We teach agents to become experts at their craft, not dumb it down to a simple number.

SD: What’s one or two of your goals for your team this year?
JS: The goal is $300 million; we did $223 million last year. We didn’t forecast a down market, and we’re getting back on track, but we still want to try to get to that. We’re also developing The Solution Mastermind. Lead agents do not give away the goods; they talk about strategies, but not useful tips and actual action items. The Solution Mastermind is focused on real estate producers talking about real action items. We’re out to truly change the industry and help agents grow.

PS: There’s no current stratification of real estate agents based on their level of experience; everyone that’s a REALTOR® is a REALTOR®. Why is this group of agents better than that group of agents? Think designations. Anybody can go and get a designation. Where we want to try to take Agent Truth is toward being better. We live in real estate, we love it and we work in it. We want to be proud of the real estate industry. If we can change the conversation from “Where do you get your leads?” to “How can I do the best job for my clients?”, then we’re winning.

Suzanne De Vita is RISMedia’s online news editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at sdevita@rismedia.com.

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