Creating a High-Performing Real Estate Team: Strategies for Success
The real estate industry is largely comprised of practitioners who do not possess university degrees. While on-the-job learning can develop desirable skills in agents, the absence of formal education may result in agency team members lacking structure, discipline, and a comprehensive understanding of efficient team functioning.
To optimize team performance, drawing from my extensive 35 years of experience in real estate and my Master of Business Administration (MBA) education, I have found that the most effective approach is to establish an Efficient Business Unit (EBU) consisting of a team of three individuals who understand the concept of staying in their respective lanes.
In this team structure, the lead agent's sole focus is on high-end prospecting, listing, negotiating, deal management, vendor management, and selling. The associate agent is responsible for buyer work, lead generation, database management, and conducting open house inspections.
The EA or client services manager (CSM) oversees all back-end aspects related to "list to launch" and "exchange to settlement".
Implementing this team structure in a new team can be as simple as advertising with clear job descriptions, and hiring and managing performance accordingly.
However, if you are introducing this structure to an existing team with blurred job roles, you need to tread carefully to ensure everyone is on board. Here's how:
Notify your team in advance that you plan to introduce more structure in the form of job descriptions: It's crucial to communicate with your team members in advance about your intention to establish clearer job descriptions. This can be done through team meetings, email communication, or one-on-one conversations. Clearly explain the reasons behind the decision, such as improving team efficiency and effectiveness, reducing role overlaps, and enhancing career progression opportunities. By providing advance notice, you allow your team members to mentally prepare for the changes and be more receptive to the upcoming adjustments.
Involve your team in the process of writing their job descriptions: Involving your team members in the process of defining their job descriptions can be empowering and provide valuable insights. Schedule team meetings or workshops to collectively brainstorm and define the roles and responsibilities of each team member. Encourage team members to contribute their ideas, suggestions, and feedback. This collaborative approach not only ensures that the final job descriptions are comprehensive and accurate but also fosters a sense of ownership and commitment among team members towards their respective roles.
Conduct individual conversations with team members: Once the job descriptions are finalized, it's essential to have individual conversations with each team member to explain how the changes will impact their day-to-day tasks and responsibilities. Clarify what tasks they will now be responsible for, what tasks they will no longer be handling, and how their roles may evolve. Address any questions, concerns, or uncertainties they may have. It's important to ensure that team members have a clear understanding of their new roles and are aligned with the expectations and goals of the team.
Provide a clear explanation of career progression pathways: Along with defining job descriptions, it's crucial to explain the career progression pathways associated with the roles in the team. Outline the opportunities for growth and advancement within the team structure. Explain how team members can develop new skills, take on additional responsibilities, and progress in their careers by excelling in their specialized roles. Providing a clear roadmap for career progression can motivate team members to embrace their new roles and see the changes as opportunities for personal and professional development.
A highly functional team with specialized roles can handle higher volumes of work, reduce business leakage, and minimize burnout.
Clearly defining team structure and roles can benefit each team member. While some team members may initially resist change, it's important to encourage them to adapt to the new system.
Monitor the impact of the changes on your business by comparing the team's performance before and after the implementation, and use wellness indicators to assess how the structure positively affects your staff. They will likely see the benefits, and so will you.