How to Properly Welcome a New Team Member

Mar 25, 2019 by


Recently, I was at our REALTOR® Mastermind Group meetup where we gather a few times a year to share successes, challenges, strategies, and more, with one another. What an amazing group of people!

One huge topic for this quarter’s meetup was about setting the right team culture. What does that even mean? The word “culture” when used to describe a team environment has become a buzz word during the past few years. When I set out in real estate, I didn’t necessarily decide I was going to start a team—I just wanted to sell houses and the team part came pretty much by accident.

Don’t get me wrong here—one of the best things I’ve ever done is start a team. However, when I did decide to start a team, culture wasn’t exactly the first word that came to mind.

During my sharing session part of the Mastermind, I talked about our team’s structure and when we meet, where we meet, how we meet, etc. I described how we begin our day with the daily huddle every morning at 8:45 a.m., then we meet once a week on Mondays as a team to discuss our files. We do a team workout with a personal trainer on Mondays and Wednesdays, we role-play together on Wednesdays and then call our leads, we role-play again on Thursday, we do team lunches…I was out of breath listing off everything.

I went on to explain that when we have a new team member join our team, we schedule a time to review and complete the paperwork in advance so that that’s not what we do on their entire first day. We give them a team calendar with all of the important dates: meetings, calls, team outings, retreats, etc.

We also have them complete a “Getting to Know You” form, which asks their favorite candy, food and store; their birthday; their spouse/kids’ names and birthdays (if applicable); favorite color, etc. On their actual first day, they’re welcomed with a beautiful welcome basket full of their favorite things, as well as a card signed by the whole team welcoming them. We include a gift card to a local restaurant for them to go out to dinner and celebrate their first day on the new job. On that first day, we also schedule a team lunch for everyone to just be able to go, chat and get to know one another in a more personal setting.

As the Mastermind Group began asking me more questions and taking notes, I realized that our team culture was one of greatness. Wow—what a cool feeling! It’s funny…as I was on vacation last week, I read the book “Lead Your Tribe, Love Your Work” by Piyush Patel. This book spoke volumes to me. I even passed it onto my husband to read with his team, as he’s a sales manager in another industry. It was neat to not only see the many ways our team already followed the team culture Piyush discussed in this book, but also see that there are still many ways we can continue to grow. You should get the book, too. It’s a great read and chances are you’ll love it like I did.

I also encourage you to grow a team with a culture of greatness. It’s awesome when you do it by chance, but being focused on creating and maintaining a culture of greatness and productivity will go a long way for both the team leader and the team members.

Brooke Sines is a Workman Success Systems Coach and full-time REALTOR® with RE/MAX of Grand Rapids who has been in the business of working with people all of her life. After working for several years as an entertainment agent, she wanted a profession that would allow her to be home more to enjoy the day-to-day with her family. It was her love of people and real estate that led her into a career as a full time REALTOR®, where in her first year she was awarded the Rising Star award for sales and excellence. Contact her at For more information, please visit

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Build Your Team Culture

Mar 11, 2019 by

Real estate teams are normally formed for one of two reasons: as a way to reduce pain, or as part of a well thought-out strategic plan. Both have the cultural challenge of finding a common goal and moving forward as a group—but the pain-formed team is at a huge disadvantage from the beginning. Let’s define both:

A Pain-Formed Team
This type of team comes about when an agent has built up their business and finds buyers to be a drain on their time. Because the lead agent doesn’t want to work with buyers, they see an easy out by forming a team. They hire the first person they can find (who is often a failing agent in their office) and sends them off with a pile of leads, little training and limited support. Shortly after, problems begin to multiply as the buyer’s agent does not succeed (not qualifying leads, limited or no follow-up plans) and the attitude of the agent(s) and the team begin to go south.

A Strategic Team
A strategic team is one that’s born out of a business focused on specialization. A buyer’s agent business plan is developed, and the training plan is clearly defined. A great deal of time is spent on recruiting, evaluating and training the new team member, and a win-win compensation plan and support program is outlined. Daily huddles are held where the team leader removes obstacles to success and supports the growth of the agent. Team-building events like call, script and role-play nights are held. Sales “spiffs” or competitions are designed and implemented as a fun way to build team energy and engage in healthy competition. Weekly sales meetings celebrate success and are used to solve common challenges with the wisdom of the group.

In either team format, the struggle will be how to form and build a culture and support it with daily focus. The focus on growth, development and support for the agent/team from the team leader and support staff will be key. However, the culture battle is often won before the first hire. The level of business planning and the focus on finding hungry, smart and value/behavior fits make the process of success so much easier.

In most teams, a great deal of time is spent working with cultural issues, and the key problem or issue is typically value alignment. If the buyer agent’s goal is to make money at any cost, and the team’s goal is to meet the consumer needs above money, we have a value mismatch that’s going to be difficult to align.

Here are some simple steps to improve a team’s culture:

  • Start with a team business plan and work expectations, and take the time to review all criteria prior to hiring.
  • Develop the buyer agent’s cash-flow budget, which should include returns on closing and sales goals.
  • Inspect what you expect. Hold daily huddles to review daily activities and remove obstacles to success.
  • Hold weekly call, script and role-play meetings to focus on skill growth.
  • Celebrate all the wins. Team members need to win, too.
  • Focus on the numbers. Activities equal results, so track money-making activities ruthlessly.
  • Be a team. Hold off-site events and build common goals.

Allow team members to grow. Remember that with growth often comes new needs. Successful buyer’s agents can reach levels where they need support to help keep them focused on money-making activities.

No matter the reason for the formation of the team, team culture can always grow and continually improve.

Nearly three decades of real estate experience—including 15 years of coaching with Verl Workman—have made Jim Knowlton one of the top agents in the country and one of the most popular coaches on the Workman Success Systems team. In addition to serving as director of Coaching for Workman Success Systems, Knowlton also owned and managed several real estate franchises, earned numerous awards for his performance, and continues to lead a mega-agent team in New Hampshire today. Contact him at For more information, please visit

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When Does a High-Volume Lead Gen Site Make Sense for Your Team?

Mar 4, 2019 by

As a coach, I’m blessed to work with many team leaders across the country. Whether these are teams with just a team leader and an assistant at the time, or team leaders that are also broker/owners, and everywhere in between, the topic of using a high-volume lead gen site comes up frequently.

I realize that not all of you are in the same place in your business/team structure, so I’m going to break this down as specifically as possible:

The teams just beginning to grow think there’s a need to instantly open the flood gates with leads.
In reality, that person is probably starting a team because he/she is already overworked and busy. This would be a horrible time to sign on with a lead gen site. Your current focus should be working to get team members on board to assist you in your business and to help leverage your time. Once you have the “right people in the right seats on the bus,” as Jim Collins writes in his book, “Good to Great,” then, you are ready to scale.

If you’re a current team leader, you probably hear ‘We have no leads’ or ‘Our leads are bad’ all the time.
One of the instant fixes team leaders attempt is getting more leads to put a band-aid on the situation to keep everyone happy. This is where we’ve seen many team leaders jump into high-volume lead gen sites. This is not the right course of action, either.

Not all leads are bad leads—we may just be using bad scripts, or maybe we aren’t practicing role-playing with our team, but instead using our clients to practice on, and we probably have a conversion issue. Until you can get your team to actually call leads back (and not just once or twice, but 8-12 times, as the stats tell us), and set follow-up calls/reminders to do so, then you’ll always be throwing your money down the drain for leads.

In a recent speech I gave at the Workman Success Systems Leverage Conference in Scottsdale, Ariz., I told the audience, “We’re all in sales.” It’s not the team leader’s job to supply the team with leads. Is it a great perk that some team leaders offer? Well, sure! However, making the choice to invest in a high-volume lead generation site is not cheap. Ensure your team knows the cost of not only the platform, but the pay-per-click ads, too. I believe this transparency helps show the team that you’re investing in them. You surely want their buy-in mentally.

As a team leader myself, choosing a high-volume lead gen site was tough. I investigated the bells and whistles of all sites. I had my team sit in on the demos—after all, this was going to be a site we all would be using daily. In the end, we decided that Commissions Inc was the best choice for our team. We have been running a Commissions Inc platform now for four years. We’ve had this site and the hard work of our team consistently convert us anywhere from 17-20 percent of our closed transactions annually.

A few pieces of bonus information…

Having a lender partner with you on the platform can help with the cost significantly. There are some lenders that want to be hands-off with the platform, and some want to dive in with both feet. If you find a lender that is interested in partnering with you on a platform, do your homework and make sure it’s a good fit for your team, and that the lender is reputable, professional, and will serve your clients well.

Lastly, if/when you choose to invest in a high-volume lead gen platform, remember that these leads don’t just result in closings overnight. Just like any type of lead, they take nurturing, incubating and showing that you are an agent to trust. Since we are a Workman Success Systems coaching client, we have access to the Lead Tracker. This has been instrumental in tracking our leads and ensuring money isn’t slipping through the cracks.

I definitely recommend a lead platform when you’re ready. Take the step to ensure you’re ready, and then elevate your leads!

Brooke Sines is a Workman Success Systems Senior Coach and full-time REALTOR® with RE/MAX of Grand Rapids who has been in the business of working with people all of her life. After working for several years as an entertainment agent that kept her traveling a lot during the week, she wanted a profession that would allow her to be home more to enjoy the day-to-day with her family. It was her love of people and real estate that lead her into a career as a full-time REALTOR®, where in her first year she was awarded the Rising Star Award for Sales & Excellence. Contact her at For more information, please visit

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Expanding Your Team: Full-Time vs. Part-Time Agents

Feb 18, 2019 by

As a team leader, it can sometimes feel like a logical choice to add a part-time agent to your team. Maybe you’re concerned with supporting that agent with leads. Maybe they’re coming from another industry. Maybe they’ve never worked on commission before and want to move slowly.

All of these things could make this idea seem like a solid leadership move—but let’s take a closer look.

Supporting the Agent With Leads. Okay, this one is easy. The Workman Way is to examine the leads you have coming into your team monthly. You need 25 leads per month to support one buyer agent. If you have 50 leads, you need two buyer agents, etc. This one is simple arithmetic.

Coming From Another Industry. Sometimes this is a valid situation; however, because it’s overwhelming enough to deal with real estate regulations and rules, it’s crazy to assume that someone could be credibly keeping up with more than one industry and sustain that for long. So, my suggestion here is to look for people ready to make the leap. If one must dip their toe in the proverbial water, then let’s begin that process with a timeline for the transition (i.e., “If you aren’t ready to fully transition in four months, then maybe this isn’t the right time to make this move.”).

Never Worked on Commission Before. This one is a bit more difficult. The money challenge is a big one. It can be hard for someone to save up enough when moving from one career to another before making a move. Make a plan for this person, and stick to it. If they need to be part-time, bring them in under a more senior agent willing to mentor and split sales with them to begin the process. That way, your senior agent gets some help, and your new agent sees the reality of this dynamic career.

Part-time agents have their focus diverted, and that can really create some scenarios that could damage your reputation in your community if not closely managed. Can you afford to risk that?

Track your leads, do the math and know when you are ready to support a new buyer agent. Also, protect your team’s reputation for being knowledgeable, and be ready to help their clients by making sure you are setting those agents up for success with a transition plan and support in place to help get them get up and running.

With almost 25 years in corporate training and support, Tamera Phallan has been helping agents grow their business in the financial services and real estate markets locally and nationally. Educational accomplishments include a BBA and an MBA in Marketing from LeTourneau University in Texas, and industry designations include, ABR, GRI and TRLP. Recently, Phallan joined Workman Success Systems as a Coach in Training. For more information, please visit

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5 Ways to Differentiate Your Team With Video

Feb 11, 2019 by

With the rising increase of video in our society and through social media, it has become quite apparent that the real estate industry can utilize this technology in many different ways to list and sell more homes.

There are so many effective ways to use video in real estate sales, including, to 1) market homes, 2) communicate with your clients and 3) communicate your services and market your team members. Here are some ways to adopt these uses of video into your business this year:

Use video to pre-market your new listings on social media. Give a sneak preview of a hot listing that’s coming soon or new to the market on social media with a quick video posted in real-time. Authentic excitement and enthusiasm about your new listing will entice buyers to want to see it right away! 

Use video to promote your open houses. Build excitement and urgency with your next open house by posting a quick video of your new listing with music and drone shots, as well as particular highlights and features about the property, to attract buyers to your open house. Boost it with Facebook Ads to drive more traffic to your team’s open houses.

Use video to market your services. Create a casual, yet professional video of you and your team members outlining your services and the exclusive benefits you provide in the process. Create a quick pre-marketing video to send before your listing appointment and an “Exclusive Buyer Guide” video to provide your client with a list of your services. If you have listing or buyer specialists or other partners on your team, they can record a video about the unique services they provide to help add value to the client’s experience. These videos can be repurposed and used on your website; Facebook business page and your team members’ Facebook pages—posted with a call to action for lead generation; used in email campaigns; and more. Each of your team members can record an introduction video telling the story of their background and years in the business. People connect with video—it’s more personal and creates a relationship faster than text-based communication.

Use video to post testimonials. One fantastic use of video is to record testimonials of happy buyer and seller clients that worked with your team. Everyone loves reviews, and potential new clients want testimonials from people who’ve sold and/or bought homes with you and your team. Ask your clients to record a one- or two-minute video of why their experience with your team was so extraordinary, and why they would recommend you to anyone buying or selling. These can be repurposed for social media posts, used in your listing and buyer presentations, and more.

Maximize video during negotiation for higher effectiveness. Use screen share video conferencing to review contracts with your clients. We’re 95 percent more effective when we communicate in-person; we need to incorporate a face-to-face conversation to review the purchase agreement with the client. If you can’t physically meet with your client in-person, the next best thing is to do a video conference call. Many times, our clients are signing documents digitally on their phones, and it’s imperative that you review the agreement with them so they know what they’re signing. This step will help you better manage expectations and avoid surprises at closing.

Incorporating video into your team’s business strategy will help you communicate your services and radically different value proposition. Your team’s enthusiasm and energy will radiate, and it will become evident that you’re a high-performing successful sales team that provides outstanding service to make your clients’ home-buying or -selling experience easier and stress-free. Have fun with it and remember, be authentic, genuine and connect with people personally!

For a FREE copy of my exclusive “Maximizing Your Team’s Marketing on Social Media Guide,” click here.

Sherri Johnson is CEO and founder of Sherri Johnson Coaching & Consulting. With 20 years of experience in real estate, Johnson offers coaching, consulting and keynotes, and is a national speaker for the Secrets of Top Selling Agents tour. For more information, please contact or 844-989-2600 (toll-free) or visit

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