Real estate is an industry populated by predominantly non-university-educated practitioners. And while learning on the job can develop many desirable traits in agents, a lack of tertiary education can also mean many agency team members lack structure, discipline, and a general understanding of how teams function efficiently and effectively.
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So how can you ensure your team runs at its optimal level? In my 35 years of real estate, equipped with a Master of Business Administration (MBA), I’ve learnt that the ideal Effective Business Unit (EBU) is a team of three, each of whom understands the benefits of “remaining in your lane”.
In this team, the lead agent would focus purely on high-end prospecting, listing, negotiating, keeping a deal together, vendor management and selling.
The associate agent is focused on buyer work, lead generation, and database management and is open for inspections.
The EA or client services manager’s (CSM) role is to manage all back-end aspects associated with “list to launch” and “exchange to settlement”.
If you’re hiring new team members, instituting this system can be as simple as advertising with clear, delineated job descriptions, and hiring and performance management on that basis. But if you’re introducing this structure into an existing team in which the lines between jobs are already blurred, then you’ll need to tread carefully to make sure all team members are on board. How?
- Give team members a heads-up that you are planning on introducing more structure into the business in the form of job descriptions.
- Invite your team to contribute to writing their job description; this will give you an indication of where the lines are blurring and a clear indicator of what to address when introducing the final descriptions.
- Have individual conversations with your team members about how this new job delineation will impact their day-to-day tasks and roles — what they will be required to do that they weren’t doing before, and what they will no longer be doing.
- Explain the career progression pathways associated with these roles to staff. This helps staff know that if they are no longer required to perform a task, there’s a pathway to once again having that task within their KPIs.
A highly functional team that has specialty roles can handle more volume, mitigate leakage in the business and suffer less burnout. There will be plenty of benefits for each team member in a clearly defined team structure, so while some people may be resistant to change, make sure you encourage your staff to adapt to this new system. Track the difference that the change makes to your business by comparing the volume your team is getting through before and after the change, as well as using some wellness indicators to monitor how the structure positively impacts your staff. They will soon see the benefits and so will you.
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