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Making It Work—Together: Best Practices and Conflict Resolution for Real Estate Teams

Oct 7, 2019 by

For real estate agents just starting out, being part of a team can be a great way to launch and grow a new business. For experienced agents, putting together a team can add leverage and energy to an existing real estate business. For couples, friends or close colleagues, working together on a team can offer the opportunity to bring the strengths of each partner to bear on every transaction. So, what do you do when your team is struggling to work together?

Your ‘Better Teamwork’ Action Plan
Maybe your real estate team is suffering from internal conflict, frustrations from a slow market or unanticipated growing pains. Whatever the case, getting a handle on your issues and making a plan to get back on track involves honesty, communication and actionable strategies.

1. Get Real
For many people, the hardest part of handling problems is admitting that there’s a problem in the first place. All that simmering tension isn’t just going to go away. You have to address it and get everyone on board with working toward a solution.

Action:
Put together a workshop or retreat to give everyone a chance to fully address the issues and put together a plan for improvement.

2. Speak Your Truth
Conflict doesn’t magically go away if everyone isn’t making their opinions heard. You have to be willing to be honest with each other about things that are problematic or upsetting. This may mean some uncomfortable conversations with people you love and value, but in this case, honesty really is the best policy.

Action:
Emphasize the value of honest communication and keep the end result in mind.

3. Understand the Source of Conflict
Sometimes, personal conflict spills over into the workplace. It may be that the tension you’re feeling isn’t work-related, but personal. In that case, those relationships need to be mended to benefit the entire team.

Action:
Have an honest conversation with the people involved and offer support as they work out their differences.

4. Revisit Your Roots
Over time, you may find that you’ve forgotten the things that worked well when you were just starting out. Maybe you’ve begun to micro-manage or, alternatively, you’ve checked out and stopped taking an active role. Maybe your team used to socialize together, but that has fallen by the wayside.

Action:
Think back to the beginning when things were working well and see what has changed.

5. Take Steps and Check In
All this communication means little if you’re not taking actionable steps to improve the situation. Once you understand the problems, come up with a plan to address them. Maybe the solution involves a more equitable distribution of duties. Maybe it involves more facetime and better communication. Maybe you just need to bring in some support to take some of the operational burdens off your team members.

Action:
Put your plan into action and check back often to ensure that the steps you’ve identified are still being implemented.

A real estate team is built on relationships and needs to be nurtured like one. Show how much you care about your team by taking the time to address issues as they arise, be part of the solution and keep everyone operating at peak performance.

Yazir Phelps is the chief marketing officer at Real Estate Express, a national leader in online learning for pre-licensing, continuing education and professional development. Phelps has over 18 years of experience in marketing, fueling growth at Fortune 500 organizations, and over five years of experience working directly with real estate professionals. Her extensive background in generating demand for products and services encompasses crucial strategies for a successful career in the field. To learn more, visit www.RealEstateExpress.com.

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Teams: Good for Agents, Good for Brokers…and Good for Consumers, Too

Sep 30, 2019 by

(Above, L to R) Louise Phillips Forbes, Louise Phillips Forbes Team, Halstead; Jenn Smira, Jenn Smira Team, Compass; Bo Menkiti, The Bo Menkiti Group, Keller Williams Capital Properties; and Tim Milam, Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage, discuss “Managing Your Real Estate Sales Force: Adopting and Maximizing Teams” at RISMedia’s 2019 Real Estate CEO Exchange. (Credit: Korin Krossber of PlanOmatic)

From the nurse taking your vitals to the anesthesiologist administering the meds to doctors prepping the operating room, there’s a whole group of professionals responsible for the successful outcome of your procedure long before the surgeon even shows up. It’s teamwork at its finest.

Verl Workman, founder and CEO of Workman Success Systems, used the story of his own back surgery to illustrate the value of professional teams and set the stage for the panel discussion he moderated during RISMedia’s recent Real Estate CEO Exchange, “Managing Your Real Estate Sales Force: Adopting and Maximizing Teams.”

“Today’s consumer is trained to work with teams,” explained Workman, “but then they get to real estate and work with a general practitioner who wants to be good at everything—and the customer sometimes suffers. The agent who believes they’re the only one who provides great service doesn’t understand the nature of the transaction.”

The ultimate goal of a team is to provide a better experience for the client, grow business and work/life balance for agents, and increase profitability for brokers. Workman’s panel brought together both team leaders and team-friendly brokers to reveal their strategies for maximizing the relationship to the benefit of both.

From the brokers’ perspective, supporting agent teams within the firm simply makes good business sense. “They’re our partners in the business,” said Bo Menkiti, founder and CEO of The Bo Menkiti Group, Keller Williams Capital Properties, with more than 1,000 agents serving the Washington, D.C., area. “If we’re going to hit our goals, we can only be so many places at a time, so teams make sense. Also, there are agents who are not the best rainmakers, but can bring their skills and talents to teams in other ways and help them grow their business. And as they grow their business, they grow our marketshare. They’re the icons of our market—the ones people want to be around.”

Tim Milam, president of Wilmington, N.C.-based Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage, was on the forefront of the team trend. “I bought the company in 1997, and in 1998, someone started talking about teams,” he explained. “It made a lot of sense to me. We were the first company in our area to adopt and embrace teams. Sixty-three percent of our agents are on a team or a team leader. When you’ve got agents doing 5-7 transactions a year, they can’t make a living that way, and are happier if you put them on a team. We work for our agents—they don’t work for us.”

Workman then addressed a common concern of many brokers when it comes to teams: that they’ll leave to become their own brokerage. “But the majority of team leaders don’t want to be the broker of record,” he explained. Jenn Smira, executive vice president, Jenn Smira Team, Compass, concurred.

(L to R) Verl Workman, Workman Success Systems; Louise Phillips Forbes, Louise Phillips Forbes Team, Halstead; Jenn Smira, Jenn Smira Team, Compass; Bo Menkiti, The Bo Menkiti Group, Keller Williams Capital Properties; and Tim Milam, Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage, at the CEO Exchange (Credit: Korin Krossber of PlanOmatic)

“I wouldn’t want to deal with headaches like me,” quipped Smira. “I have transaction help, I have marketing help. I have the best talent and resources available to help me do what I need to do. I have no interest in going independent.”

“Growing my team was about getting help on the things I couldn’t do well,” added Louise Phillips Forbes, broker of the Louise Phillips Forbes Team, with New York’s Halstead Real Estate. “I’m staying at Halstead because I want to focus on what I love doing. It was insightful for Diane (Ramirez, CEO of Halstead) not to make me try to fit in a box.”

Workman also tackled one of the most complicated issues that often arise between brokers and teams: compensation models.

Milam said he has a written policy; however, it is just a guideline that can be changed. He offers new agents a 50-60 percent split and no cap, reporting that the majority are on a 75-80 percent split. He emphasized that it’s “all about the value” and the services the brokerage provides in return.

Menkiti, however, would like to see the compensation conversation start to change. “So much of the business is focused to think about splits,” he said. “Sales volume and splits don’t pay the bills. We have to start thinking differently. You have to think about people collectively producing value.” To that end, Menkiti is creating a team cap.

Forbes and Smira have both learned by trial and error when it comes to compensating team members. While Forbes spent many years paying team members on every deal “whether they touched the business or not,” after participating in executive coaching and partnering with Halstead for guidance, she now utilizes a more formal structure where team members average 28-32 percent of every transaction. Smira, who boasts eight team members making six figures, compensates team members 40 percent of every lead they bring in. Originally, it had been 70 percent.

Achieving a successful marriage between brokers and teams is ultimately all about balance. “As we’ve seen the evolution of teams, brokers went from being so anti-team that we held teams back,” explained Menkiti. “Then teams got really aggressive and started operating as general brokerages, and when that happens, the team ceases to add value. The role of brokers is to empower entrepreneurs.”

For CEO Exchange continuing coverage, visit RISMedia.com.

Maria Patterson is RISMedia’s executive editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at maria@rismedia.com.

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Teams: Never Stop Learning

Sep 16, 2019 by

One of the most rewarding endeavors in life is continual learning. A lifetime of growth and momentum impacts not only you, but also the people on your team and the world around you.

The challenge is, most of us don’t know how to create the time, the structure and the motivation to accomplish this. Prioritization and time-blocking are key to adding anything new into your life and the lives of your team members. Every one of us has only 24 hours in each day. Our calendars already seem to be full and it feels like we have no time left to add anything else into our days.

What I have found, in most cases, is we have to eliminate something to add something new into our lives. Screen time comes to mind here, but if we really study our days, you’ll find a lot of wasted time, or at least things that are less productive or less of a priority. The challenge is that wasted time is easy and comfortable. Removing it requires a lot of motivation, which requires a lot of effort, unless you have a very strong reason or desire.

As always, a plan or a goal without a strong “why” behind it will never go anywhere. With anything that takes effort, your “why” has to be stronger than your “why not.” Besides the pure joy of learning new things, why do you want to become better? Who will it impact, and what does that look like and feel like when your goal is accomplished?

You and your team must decide what you can each eliminate from your day and where you can add your learning time, and what learning format is best for each of you. Each team member has different styles of learning and different times of the day when they are more receptive to new ideas or when they are more creative.

Whether you like to read, listen to books or podcasts, do Google research or go to conferences, choose a method customized for each team member, carve out the time and get it on your calendars. If you’re not a morning person, don’t do it in the morning. If you don’t like to read, try listening to books. I promise, a structured, more focused day and life is much more productive and rewarding than a chaotic day or life. Less is always more in the end.

Two of my favorite tools for making my days become growth-focused are my ideal weekly calendar and my daily planning and solitude. If you would like a copy of those, just email me at paulw@workmansuccesssystems.com and I’ll send you a copy.

Here’s to becoming the best version of yourself you can possibly become.

Paul Wheeler started Accent Realtors® as a licensed agent and broker in 1992. Wheeler leads the Accent Team with energy, experience and vision for the future and a better business model in the real estate industry. He speaks to and teaches groups and organizations across the country on business and real estate-related topics. For more information, please visit www.workmansuccesssystems.com.

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The Missing Ingredient to Assure Your Team’s Success in Real Estate

Aug 12, 2019 by

The larger your lead database, the more successful your business will be. We have seen a direct correlation between real estate growth and the size of a lead database. Seems like a no-brainer, right? More leads equals opportunity. In fact, we’ve discovered that teams investing in lead generation efforts experience a compounding growth effect. Over eight years, they typically see growth in production volume by 4x.

So how do you tackle it all and keep up with that treasure trove of a database?

The Time Conundrum
What goes into managing a database?

Say you’ve got 1,000 leads. Maybe 25 percent of those are “nurture” leads you’re reaching out to. You have your eye on a handful of leads that are six months out from being ready to buy. Maybe 25 new leads this week registered on your site, and they’re ready to talk!

On top of that, you have past clients to follow up with, cold leads to circle back with…oh, not to mention the day-to-day of running your business.

Historically, people have turned to technology to make that work easier. But there’s an emerging factor that could be the key to assuring success in real estate: lead support services for agents.

Getting Off the Hamster Wheel
We’ve already highlighted how your lead database impacts your potential for production volume. But now imagine all those leads. An agent has to make the initial engagement. Oftentimes, they have to nurture them for up to a year! They have to constantly engage and re-engage with them. And when they become an active “client,” they have to provide exceptional service.

Don’t have time to nurture leads ’round the clock? Click here to learn about Success Assurance, from BoomTown. 

But, you didn’t get into real estate to chase every new lead, right? To be glued to your phone, at-the-ready to respond at a moment’s notice? No—you got into real estate to make connections, have conversations, solve problems. You got into real estate to sell real estate! But, as we all know, it’s critical that someone chases those leads and that new leads are responded to immediately.

So if you want to squeeze every cent out of your growing database, you have two choices:

  1. Be in 100 places at once.
  2. Invest in the right support.

The Missing Ingredient
Technology can assist with those tasks, but a supporting service, like RealContact for example, would enable agents to focus on the biggest dollar-productive activities: handling clients. This extra “support” takes care of the lead engagement. It manages the lead-nurturing. And when coupled with technology, it accelerates lead conversion.

So when you get a lead at 2:00 a.m. and you’re sound asleep, there’s someone ready to reach out immediately.

Let’s face it: The real estate hustle is real. The more you grind, the more successful you’ll be. But it’s 2019. There’s a way to capitalize without burning out. The way to assure success in real estate is by investing in the right support services that will allow you the time to focus on dollar-productive tasks—to get off the hamster wheel and get back to selling real estate!

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Agent Teams: The Good, the Bad, and the Challenge

Jul 15, 2019 by

This month’s National Association of REALTORS® Power Broker Roundtable discusses real estate teams, and how brokerages are embracing the model.  

Moderator

Jim Imhoff, Chairman, First Weber Real Estate, Madison, Wis., Liaison for Large Firms & Industry Relations, National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) 

Panelists 

Vince Leisey, CEO, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Ambassador Real Estate, Omaha, Neb.

Pat Riley, President/CEO, Allen Tate Companies, Charlotte, N.C.

 

Corina Jones, Founder/Broker, Your Home Team, Greenwood, Ind.

 

Jennifer Ames, Broker/License Partner, Ames Group Chicago, Engel & Vӧlkers International Real Estate, Chicago, Ill.

Tim Milam, President, Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage, Wilmington, N.C.

 

Jim Imhoff: Every brokerage has its rainmakers—the inspired, charismatic, hard-working dynamos who bring more than their share of business to the company. But what happens—and it almost always does happen—when agent superstars decide to team up, move on, take their career to a whole new level? It brings financial concerns, technical issues, space considerations…even concerns that a successful team may decide to strike out on their own. As brokers, we have options: Support the team concept. Advise against it. Maybe make it a centerpiece of the company culture we’ve worked so hard to build. Today, we’ll talk with a few brokers who land on the side of the latter. Let’s begin with you, Vince, because I know you’ve been cited by the TV series “World’s Greatest” as having one of the “World’s Greatest Company Cultures.” 

Vince Leisey: We have, Jim, and we’re proud of that. We want our people to be glad to come to work every day—and whether or not it’s coincidental, teams do make up some 65 percent of our company. I not only embrace the team concept, but in my view, teams are the future of real estate. For one thing, the millennials now coming into the business are all about collaboration and teamwork—and the sharing and mentorship that come with teaming makes every team member stronger. 

Pat Riley: Millennial or not, when I became successful enough to build my own company, I needed people to help me—so I still see any form of partnering as the best of all possible worlds. Every agent has strengths and weaknesses. In teaming, you can specialize, you can mentor or be mentored, you can rise to meet your best potential, and let the company worry about the tools and technology—even the physical workspace. 

Jennifer Ames: That’s something I considered when I was ready to move up after many years as a successful team leader. I wanted new challenges, better control, and the chance to recruit like-minded people and help them build careers. But I chose to do it with an internationally branded company behind me—a premier European company that aligns closely with my values. Our team launched our Chicago office last January, our flagship offices opened officially on June 27, and we’re confident we made the right decision. 

Corina Jones: For us, going out on our own a little over a year ago was an opportunity to take control of our destiny. Building our brand is a commitment to unexcelled customer service, and that’s what we’re all about. And being responsible for our own financial health means recruiting carefully, sharing the load, and ultimately doing more deals. We knew we’d have to struggle, but it was a challenge we welcomed, and we’re looking ahead, not back.

JI: It’s a valid concern for some brokers that successful team leaders will take their teams and fly the nest. So, in our company, we embrace teaming, but we are careful about having contracts in place, and business plans that speak to the “divorce” aspect of teams.

Tom Milam: That works for us, too. It’s like a financial “prenup,” so that everyone knows what happens in the event of a break-up. But look, good teams have an amazing work ethic. They are great mentors. They have a balanced quality of life, because there is always someone to cover for them—which is also a boon for our customers. And while teams may take a higher split, they also close more transactions.

PR: One solution that works for us is “brandchising” our successful teams. The captains continue to build their teams but with our brand behind them. We continue to provide the tools. They pay us a fee. It really is a win-win for all.

VL: It’s vital to have transparency and a lot of idea-sharing between the teams in our organization, so that there’s a balance of lead generators, coaches and less-experienced agents who will grow as a result of their mentorship.

CJ: That’s always been key for a team leader, and it’s one of the things I like best about heading up our own operation. It’s my effort, my perceptions, and my decisions that will establish our brand in the marketplace, with the confidence that the team we build and manage will win us our share of that market.

JA: Of course, it’s all about marketshare, and however you choose to manage your team—within an established brand or as an independent—the bottom line must be more successful agents and an improved customer experience.

TM: There’s no question that teams and team captains add a lot of value to our companies. They also offer a great way for our companies to grow organically. If Vince is right, and he may be, if teaming is the future of a younger real estate workforce, then it’s only a matter of us, as company leaders, figuring how best to make it work.

For more information, please visit www.nar.realtor.

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