By guest blogger Russell Shaw, CRS, GRI

I actually had a REALTOR® tell me, “My goal is to have a big team.”

Why would someone want a big overhead with loads of people to be responsible for and manage? The answer is, he was one of the most intellectually-lazy people I’ve ever known.

After being open for business about 90 days, he sent me an email asking the name of a good book on how-to-recruit agents. They weren’t lining up to come to work for his little shoestring operation and he wanted to learn more about that…but never did.

He shut down and went back to being an agent and is still working on “having a big team.”

Please understand, I’m not against someone having a large team. It’s just — that isn’t the goal. The goal is (or should be) something along the lines of, “I want more money after all expenses and I want more free time.”

Teamwork can help to make that possible, but most real estate “teams” are not teams at all — they’re more a group of people working together in the same building. They may have a helpful attitude towards each other, but that doesn’t make them a team.

I often get asked if my buyer-agents are allowed to list property (no, never), or if my listers are allowed to work a buyer (almost never). They are usually surprised by my answers, as their “team members” do everything; some even have administrative people who also “sell a little”.

In sports, each of the team members has a specific position they play. If they’re a good team, they aren’t all just out there on the field together; each one is doing an exact thing.

If you are good at lead generation…really, really good…you’ll want to give customers to people who are good at handling them — just not that good at getting them. If you are not good at lead generation, you have no business whatsoever even seriously thinking of bringing others into your current operation.

Real Estate coach Dirk Zeller thinks teams started in the early 90’s, but it was much earlier than that. The first brokers who were rainmakers and hired agents to route customers to, were the first to “build teams” in real estate, the old “50-50 split” shops.

The two best books on the subject for REALTORS® are The E-Myth by Michael Gerber and
The Millionaire Real Estate Agent by Gary Keller.

THE most dollar-productive activity in residential real estate sales is lead generation. All other activities can be hired out for a lot less than the amount coming in from leads. It makes little difference how this is scaled.

  • The agent who simply hires an administrative assistant is applying this principle
  • The agent who then adds a buyer-specialist is applying this principle
  • The agent who winds up needing several listers and several buyer-agents, and a crew of admin people is applying this principle.

Every assistant we have ever hired makes us money or allows us leisure time…or both. Assistants should not cost money, they should make money. If you can produce customers for your business, what do you think your time is really worth per hour? The answer is, a hell of a lot more than you’re making.

Related stories:
Substantive Policy Statement (SPS) 2017.01: Unlicensed Assistants – Arizona REALTORS® (June 2017)
What are you Worth per Hour? – REALTOR® Mag (August 2017)

Russell Shaw Russell Shaw is associate broker for Realty ONE Group, Paradise Valley
and began his real estate career in 1978.

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