Ep. 379: The Fundamentals of Building a Powerful Team (with Jess Lenouvel)

Building a Real Estate Team

What to Look for When Hiring for Your Team

Who should listen: Real estate agents who are considering building a real estate team and those with a team who want to improve their team’s performance.

Key idea: Be very clear about what success will look like in the new position, know what will come off your plate as the business owner, and have a plan in place that will set the new member up to succeed in their role.

Jess Lenouvel is an expert when it comes to knowing what she wants out of her life and how to get it, but it wasn’t always like that. Like most of us, she had to learn.

As a real estate agent, she was taught that success required a never-ending game of hustle and grind. In the pursuit of gain, you had better be prepared for some pain.

She believed there had to be a better way.

More money, less hustle

In this week’s interview, Jess recalls the advise she was hearing from agents who grew up in the industry in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s. It was, not surprisingly, ancient history. Real estate is notorious for being 5 to 10 years behind other industries in its adoption of new technology, and Jess figured that it was time to move out of the old era and into the new.

Still, she couldn’t find anything that reflected her point of view—namely, that a successful career in real estate didn’t have to suck the life out of you. So she set out to write a book about what she had been telling her coaching clients for years. The result is More Money, Less Hustle: Becoming a 7-Figure Real Estate Agent. [#ad]

What’s impressive about Jess and her book is that she practices what she preaches in its pages. She’s created several multimillion businesses stemming from her career in real estate and now enjoys living the good life in the Bahamas.

We talk with Jess about her book, but we also ask her advice about starting a real estate team.

Building a real estate team

The interview moves along with our different questions, but in these show notes we’re going to highlight some (certainly not all) of the more significant ideas that Jess shares. As with most of our interviews, the value lies in the details, so we encourage you to listen to our conversation with Jess in its entirety.

What’s the #1 mistake agents make when starting their real estate business?

Agents who start to build a business often don’t know what the end result is supposed to look like. They don’t have a clear understanding of what they eventually want. According to Jess, that leads agents to never having true control over their business—they end up winging it.

It’s important to have a clear vision of what you want your business to be, where you want to go in life, and the role your business will play in getting you there. Once you know that, it’s merely a process of reverse-engineering what you need to do to make it happen.

How do you know when it’s time to hire your first agent?

When deciding if the time is right to start a real estate team, Jess advises agents to take what she calls an “energy audit.” It’s an exercise that will help you determine if you’re putting your energy into the most profitable tasks. There are 3 steps:

  1. List everything you do in all aspects of your life.
  2. Categorize all these items onto one sheet.
  3. Give each a value—high, medium, or low.

Jess remarks that there are tons of agents who make $500K a year doing $10-$15 an hour tasks every day. If, as she recommends, they could substitute $1,000 an hour tasks for those other tasks, it would likely make the difference between where they are and where they want to be.

What’s the biggest mistake agents make when building a team?

The biggest mistake is several mistakes rolled into one. The problems start when the hiring process isn’t well defined.

One of the first things you need to do before you hire anyone is to be very clear about what is coming off of your plate—what will be the role and responsibilities of the new hire.

You also need to have the organization in place that will allow a new hire to succeed—specifically, the systems and standard operating procedures by which you do what you do.

Next, and too often overlooked, is the time that is needed to train the new person. So oftenr businesses hire from a place of desperation. They put someone in a role who hasn’t been properly prepared and then blame them for failing.

What advice do you have for providing feedback?

Jess’s thoughts about providing feedback may be the most poignant part of our conversation because they go back to where we started our conversation—you begin with your vision.

From motivating an agent who is struggling, to deciding whether it’s time to part company with an agent who isn’t performing as well as you would like, it is your vision, and the mission and values that support it, to which you can turn for your talking point and the rationale for decisions.

Jess provides an extended example of how she puts the principle of vision, mission, and values into play at her company. It’s a lesson in being intentional and connecting everything you do back to a guiding light.

Connect | Resources

Book: More Money, Less Hustle: Becoming a 7-Figure Real Estate Agent

Facebook Group: The Listings Lab Method™ for Real Estate Agents


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