By Kathleen Black

After coaching hundreds of real estate teams full-time since 2009, I believe in the power of team environments. When a new member joins the team, their success has more to do with the team environment than the member.

Through my experience coaching teams, I have found three difficulties facing team leaders:  compensation, training and recruitment.  They aren’t entirely roadblocks, because to every problem there is a solution, but they are the most common obstacles facing a team leader.

With the dismal rate of success for real estate agents trying to build a team, know what to look for and how to solve these common issues up front.



1. Compensation structure

After making the transition from a salesperson on a top producing team to an elite coach, I was able to pinpoint the first and most prominent mistake made by team leaders – the compensation structure.

I see a lot of team leaders not setting themselves up to be compensated for their new role as team leader.  A lack of compensation for that role creates a broken equation where the team leader returns their focus to sales, instead of working to grow their team business and nurture the people on their team.  I like to emphasize the need for a connection between building the business and being compensated for the role of team leader.  It is essential for the team leader to see the value in being the leader and to recognize the need to compensate themselves accordingly.

In determining what works best for compensation structure, I reinforce the idea of compensating for your value and what you bring to your team, as well as considering the future of the team.  When coaching clients, we evaluate every influencing factor, but what makes the custom structure so effective is that it is always targeted towards the goal of where the team will be in the future, instead of where the team is currently.

Ten years down the road, the team will not be composed of the team leader and one team member, so capping at a 50/50 split is extremely restrictive.  I always recommend taking into account the vision; if your team will have a lead conversion partner and a licensed assistant and a manager, prepare for that from the beginning. Also account for a team’s expenses, such as marketing, overhead and any additional costs that the team carries.  This way, the team has the resources to continue to grow and build, which is in the best interest of everyone involved.

2. Training

The second difficulty that team leaders face when building a team is training.  A top producer doesn’t necessarily make a top trainer. I identified with that personally when I first made the change to being a coach.  I found a way around this particular challenge with the implementation of many training certifications and systems.

When training, shadowing is generally the path taken when showing someone the ropes, but the mistake here is that every person does it differently every single time.  This inconsistency doesn’t work to effectively prepare an agent for success when they are on their own.  The team leaders that I coach work on the idea of mastery. Everyone follows the same steps, so everyone knows what it takes to be successful.  At that point, the agents approach the situations with their own personalities and interpretations, but they have been empowered with a set system to be successful.

When it comes to enforcing the training, I say, “Know it so well you can’t forget it.” Learning it all with intensive training and weeks dedicated to the art ultimately pays off more than any other implementation of the systems.  Learn it once and never have to think about it again.  This comes back to the idea of being empowered to be successful.

3. Recruitment systems

Recruitment, or lack of recruitment systems, is the third major difficulty faced by team leaders.  The lack of recruitment systems has team leaders not looking into the business they want 10 years down the road, but instead recruiting people who don’t complement the direction in which they want to take their team.  One common example of this is taking someone on who is easy and comfortable. There won’t be a push from them to help to achieve the levels of success that the team leader had envisioned.

When looking at recruiting, a team leader isn’t just faced with a few interested candidates; they are responsible for a decision to invest $20,000 to $25,000 of training someone with no guarantee in return on that investment.  Though there is no perfect equation for selecting the ideal future team members, I think you can get pretty close if you use the right filters.

When our clients look to recruit, we start with a DISC personality profile review, because team leaders need someone who both upholds the team’s standards and values, and can contribute to the team’s continued drive to succeed.  That is by no means the last step, but with further tests and questionnaires as part of our process, it is a telling starting point.

Ultimately, I encourage team leaders in any stage of growth to keep in mind compensation structure, know their worth as a team leader and concentrate on training and recruitment. Know the direction you want to take up front. Otherwise the best laid plans will sabotage your growth in the future.

Kathleen Black has taken her experience as a top-producing Realtor and built it into a dynamic, results-driven consulting company, Kathleen Black Coaching & Consulting, where she serves as CEO, speaker, trainer and elite coach. The systems she used in her daily real estate business to get her to the top are now the backbone of a real estate consulting company specializing in helping real estate professionals across North America build top teams. www.kathleenspeaks.com, email [email protected].

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