Sometimes, providing the highest quality of service to real estate clients requires a collective effort. By having a team of agents working together, you’re more likely to have access to the niche expertise your clients expect of their luxury real estate professionals — not to mention, you have more time to spend on each individual sale and purchase.
But under what circumstances should you consider turning your individual luxury practice into a team, and what are some useful strategies for identifying and uniting the right combination of talent? Here are some applicable insights, courtesy of two top performing agent teams.
When your client list is getting out of hand
Before Gregg Lynn established the Gregg Lynn Team at Sotheby’s International Realty in San Francisco, he realized he was getting too busy for his own good — and as a result, he was no longer able to deliver the great service each of his clients was due.
“During my third year in the real estate business, I was fortunate to begin winning multiple listings, each requiring exposure at a weekend open house and a weekday broker caravan,” he recounts. “With each listing sold, two to three new listings arrived. That was the moment I realized that to sustain this growth spurt, I needed a team.”
As he got more listings than he could manage himself, Lynn recruited some of his favorite Sotheby’s International Realty colleagues to help sell them. And so began the journey of building the Gregg Lynn team.
When your great minds are thinking alike
For the agents at the Power of 4 — Kathleen Benoit, Anne Morrissey, Karen Baldwin, and Bee Francis — joining forces simply made sense. And they consistently rank as the top producing real estate team in Desert Mountain, a luxury community in North Scottsdale, Arizona. “After working in the same office for years, the four of us developed a friendship,” they describe. “We realized we had the same work ethic and competitive spirit to be the best.”
But it was more than just a matter of wanting to work together. It was a calculated strategic move. “Each of us brings different strengths to our business. It made sense to become a team, enabling us to provide exceptional service to our buyers and sellers.”
Similar work ethic, but diverse specialties
Gathering a successful group together means that all the agents have to be mutually compatible in their personalities and approach — something Lynn agrees with. “My goal in creating a team has been to provide a secure, permanent, passionate, and successful real estate environment — a ‘work family’,” he says. “Everyone is spirited about each other, our team, our clients, and our brokerage. We understand who we are and our role in the universe.”
But compatibility and like-mindedness don’t need to mean homogeneity. The Power of 4 ensured their team had a variety of strengths:Morrissey is a long-time real estate leader who began her career in the ultra-competitive market of metropolitan New York City before moving to the San Francisco Bay Area and Desert Mountain marketplaces. Francis, born and raised in Sweden, is a graduate of the University of Stockholm majoring in business and marketing and has over two decades of real estate experience selling the Desert Mountain lifestyle. Baldwin has twice won Golden Nugget Awards for the custom homes she has helped to design and build and was senior vice-president for sales and marketing for an international motivational training company. Benoit brings experience selling real estate in luxury communities on the San Francisco Peninsula and on Chicago’s North Shore, and previously worked as a real estate marketing executive with a real estate development company in Dallas.
Assembling an effective team means sharing a general understanding of what’s required, with agents free to branch out into specific skill sets and niches. “Our team annually manages hundreds of transactions with clients ranging from first time homeowners to CEOs,” notes Lynn, “So our teammates are charismatic, flexible self-starters and proven multi-taskers.”
Groups need to meet on common ground
It goes without saying that good communication and coordination is mission critical when your team has multiple clients on the go at any given time. But you need to take your commitment to communication to the next level and make it a central principle of your team’s practice and philosophy. “Mutual respect and communication — these items are essential to a successful real estate business,” says the Power of 4.
“We are all full and equal partners; there is no team leader in our dynamic as the Power of 4,” they continue. “We meet regularly to go over our weekly schedules, goals, and plans. We are always striving to improve ourselves and find inspiration from Ninja Selling, our clients, other successful agents, and industry leaders.”
For Lynn, tasks like bringing on new recruits are a matter of consensus. “To ensure alignment with our team’s goals, values, and family energy, everyone on the team has an opportunity to interview and weigh in on a potential new teammate before an offer is extended.”
To ensure continued engagement and long-term alignment, Lynn turns some of his communication touchpoints into team events. “For the last three years, our team has traveled overseas to launch the new year in a professionally facilitated retreat where we celebrate each other and our accomplishments, brainstorm how we will improve our internal processes, and set goals for the coming year,” he says. “Three years ago we began hosting mid-year retreats as well.”
Don’t build a team before you truly need it
While uniting a dream team together sounds promising in theory, you shouldn’t do it until it’s necessary in practice. “It’s essential not to start a team too early,” cautions Lynn. “Creating a team before your real estate business has high momentum will lead to teammates not having enough business.”
So when should you begin building your team? “If you end your day accomplishing 100 percent for your clients, you don’t have the volume of business you need to support a team,” he advises. “When you’ve worked over 12 hours per day for 100-plus days, and the last thing you do each night is add to the long list of client needs you didn’t have time for that day, that’s a good time to begin thinking about a team.”
Once your office or brokerage is busy enough to warrant a joint effort, bringing together the right real estate team is hugely rewarding — for you and your clients.
“We are built on the idea that we are stronger as a team than we are individuals,” says the Power of 4. “We believe the important building blocks to a successful team are mutual respect, the ability to laugh at ourselves, and professional diversity. Each of us is an equal partner in every transaction, and we believe having a good support network helps with our success.”
About Sotheby’s International Realty
Sotheby’s International Realty was founded in 1976 as a real estate service for discerning clients of Sotheby’s auction house. Today, the company’s global footprint spans 990 offices located in 72 countries and territories worldwide, including 43 company-owned brokerage offices in key metropolitan and resort markets. In February 2004, Realogy entered into a long-term strategic alliance with Sotheby’s, the operator of the auction house. The agreement provided for the licensing of the Sotheby’s International Realty name and the development of a franchise system. The franchise system is comprised of an affiliate network, where each office is independently owned and operated. Sotheby’s International Realty supports its affiliates and agents with a host of operational, marketing, recruiting, educational and business development resources. Affiliates and agents also benefit from an association with the venerable Sotheby’s auction house, established in 1744. For more information, visit www.sothebysrealty.com.
The affiliate network is operated by Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates LLC, and the company owned brokerages are operated by Sotheby’s International Realty, Inc. Both entities are subsidiaries of Realogy Holdings Corp. (NYSE: RLGY) a global leader in real estate franchising and provider of real estate brokerage, relocation and settlement services. Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates LLC and Sotheby’s International Realty Inc., both fully support the principles of the Fair Housing Act and the Equal Opportunity Act.
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