The Real Estate Career Path
The Road from Agent to Broker Includes Knowing How to Build a Team
Not every real estate agent wants to become a real estate broker. The responsibilities are more challenging. The work, while different, is no less demanding. And the risks are greater—but so are the rewards.
Before building her own team, Patricia Kiteke accumulated $40M in sales volume. She’s among the top 1% of agents in Toronto and the top 5% across Canada. And in this episode of Stay Paid, Patricia talks with Luke and Josh about the decision she made to become a broker and lessons she’s learned about how to build a team.
Now with eXp Realty, and three years after she first started her team, Patricia has six agents and three administrative assistants. Together, they closed 125 deals last year, and she is looking to double that number and hire 14 more agents this year.
Should I build a team?
The question of if or when to build a team is often predicated upon the numbers. Some will tell you it’s time to build a team when you have completed x transactions, or when you’ve accumulated x amount of wealth, or when you have x contacts in your database, or some other metric. Patricia suggests you consider building a team when one of two situations arise:
- You can’t do any more deals, but you know you’re leaving money on the table.
- You are sufficiently burned out and exhausted to the point where the business is running you rather than you running your business.
If you do decide to form a team, Patricia’s advice is to begin by hiring an administrative assistant. The tasks this person can do will free you up to hire, train, and continue to sell.
Even though you are building a team, in the beginning, you will remain the primary salesperson of that team. How long it will take to transition fully out of that role is dependent on many factors, but be careful not to relinquish that role too soon.
Should I ever give up my role in sales?
The answer to whether a team lead remains active in sales is a matter of philosophy, and rightly so. Some will readily abandon sales because they dislike the rejection, but that’s not a sufficiently good reason. Some won’t ever step away because their ego gets in the way, or they delight in the triumph of the close. But similarly, neither of these are a sufficiently good reason to hang on.
However, if you want to become the owner of a business, you will need to eventually relinquish transactions to your team. But before you do, make sure your team has the training and experience necessary to close the requisite number of transactions. And don’t ever give up analyzing your numbers.
For Patricia, stepping out of the transaction meant she could focus on high leverage activities and be available to help others develop their sales and leadership skills.
How do I make the transition?
It’s exceptionally important that your people understand your expectations. They need to know what to do, when you do it, how you do it, and why you do it. As you likely know from your own experience, when pursuing your real estate license, you aren’t taught the day-to-day activities necessary to succeeding in real estate:
- How many dials will it take to eventually get an appointment, and how many appointments to an eventual listing?
- How do you write a solid contract?
- What do you need to watch out for on an initial walk through?
- What are the best ways to start building a network?
Do. Document. Delegate.
The first and among the most important tasks to complete when making the transition to a team is to make sure you document everything you do, when, how, and why. In speaking with Luke and Josh, Patricia discusses how she managed this process.
It took her about a week, but when she was done, Patricia was able to easily identify tasks that could be automated, tasks she could hire someone to do, and tasks that, if she didn’t do herself, would diminish in value (for example, meeting with high-level clients).
Create a leadership team
In learning how to build a team of successful agents, Patricia created a sub-set of senior agents who were charged with mentoring and coaching junior agents. This leadership team would have less experienced agents shadow them. They would develop benchmarks and teach the day-to-day activities like those mentioned above.
This not only freed Patricia for other revenue-generating activities, but also allowed her to assess the leadership skills of the senior agents. She could then coach and mentor these agents while preparing them for greater responsibilities.
How do I succeed as a leader?
Of course, learning how to build a team involves learning how to be an effective leader. The skills that served you well at the start of your real estate career path are not necessarily the ones that you will need later on.
As you listen to this episode, you’ll hear Patricia talk about imposter syndrome and how to overcome it.
She shares the daily activities she has her new agents complete, and how they help them to develop the habit of prospecting.
Patricia also discusses the reasons why she believes some agents fail while others go on to achieve.
Finally, you can listen to her reveal the type of work culture she strives to create for and among the members of her team. How she achieves it might provide you with some inspiration for your own team.
- When building a team, your first hire should be a key administrative position.
- You build a team so you can delegate tasks to others and focus on higher leverage activities. That includes sales, but know when the time is right. Don’t let go too early.
- Put the right people on the right job. Play to their strengths. Having team members act as mentors let’s you assess their leadership skills.
- You’re going to have to teach new agents the day-to-day activities of the business. When they are earning their license, they aren’t taught how to write a solid contract, how many calls it takes to close two homes, how to develop a network, etc. That’s going to be up to you.
Start to document the processes in your office. It’s the first step toward being able to delegate tasks.
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