How to Work and Market as a Team
A trending practice in real estate has been for top real estate agents to create teams to ease their demanding schedules and increasing pressure. The team can be made up of one agent and his or her support staff, or it can be a team of agents and their supporting staff that make the brand a success. There are many benefits to this system because it utilizes the strengths of the various members of the team, but to work as one unit both fairly and successfully takes foresight and strategy. From how to share clients to marketing as a group rather than a solo agent, we have put together a few suggestions on how to implement a team structure and manage it to thrive.
Just how important is collaboration to the success of an agent team? According to Forbes contributor Mark Green, the answer is very.
“A well-defined structure is vital for a successful team, delegating organization and accountability can exploit individual strengths and reinforce the overall team. The goal of a successful realtor team is to do more business; an efficient, well-organized team will generally close more deals than individual agents.”
We agree that to benefit most from the team structure, collaboration is essential. In order to truly capitalize on having multiple brains working toward one mission, there can’t be underlying competition between the members of the unit. Each team member offers distinct value because of his or her unique talents. Identifying each person’s area of expertise and making it known to all members of the team can help them to avoid stepping on eachother’s toes. For example, one team member may be very tech savvy while another knows a particular market very well, but needs help leveraging technology to reach out efficiently and effectively. That is an opportunity for those individuals to collaborate and contribute to the overall success of the team.
Presenting the Team to Clients
If there is more than one licenced real estate agent on a team, consider consolidating client lists into one database and communicating clearly how to divide profit and responsibility when effort is put forth by multiple agents. A wonderful benefit to having support is that if, for instance, one agent is out with one client, the supporting agent can step in and tackle another client issue while the other is away. But if agents are possessive and not receptive to the idea of others contacting their clients, the model will not work.
Creating the team structure challenges the sense of ownership that can often come from having a well established client base. For example, when planning the marketing collateral for the team, branding and promotion is likely to be a hot topic. There is often one agent that wants to be in the limelight, and he or she is working to collaborate with other agents that may be used to promoting themselves individually. It can go against everyone’s normal nature to start using “we” rather than “I” as the culture of the group shifts. Group photography can be a good opportunity with which to begin to address this obstacle. Discuss with your team what structure will best incorporate everyone’s role and personality. You may discover your team is most comfortable having one agent as the face of the company, with the supporting roles in the background. However, if there are multiple agents who are contributing a significant amount of established relationships, they may not be open to that approach and instead prefer to visually communicate equality. Whatever you decide as a group, keep it consistent with your goals.
Once you have an inventory of images, give all team members access to the photos. There will be a need for sharing most documents and images used for selling and marketing. Allowing each member of the team to have access to these resources helps to build the culture of “we” and doesn’t restrict contributions. Google Drive provides an easy-to-use platform to share and host files that are accessible to all members of your team.
This need for sharing is even greater when it comes to CRM data being collected for marketing to your now combined client and prospect databases. Marketing Artfully emphasized the importance of database sharing in their article Marketing Tips For Real Estate Teams.
“Some of the agents that join your team will have a database of their own. With all the tools in place now to sort and sift contacts, you should ask or require that they add their contacts to your database, assuring that you will release them if they leave and that no one else on the team will get those leads without their permission.”
When one agent in the team gets busy, it can be easy for him or her to forget about consistent farming. One of the benefits of the team approach is that another agent or a dedicated office manager can pick up the slack. Therefore, when marketing as a team with a single database, tracking must be in place to be sure each person in the farming area is being reached. If there are silos within the team and no tracking mechanism is in place, duplicates are also more likely because territories and clients could be accidently farmed by two agents without their knowledge.
Now that client databases have been combined and each team member knows his or her role, the team must present itself as a cohesive unit - particularly when it comes to maintaining the integrity of the brand. In Looking Like a Team: 5 Real Estate Branding Ideas for Brokers, Placester.com’s Andrew Rapp suggests starting with your logo:
“A logo is the most prominent aspect of any real estate branding strategy. It’s ironic, then, that digital logo files are usually a complete mess. Because everyone uses them, they get scattered everywhere, oddly named and badly distorted. Before long it’s impossible to find a good, clean copy when you need a business card printed or a website updated.”
To help your team maintain brand consistency, create brand usage guidelines and keep those and your logo in the same location in which you share other visual assets, such as your team photos. Be sure to keep the shared folder updated with the most recent approved versions of all visual assets and communicate with the team when anything has been updated. If multiple people are going to be creating marketing materials, establish a standard, approved template they can use. This will not only speed up the design process, but it will present a unified look in farming and lead generation activities. One way to make this process easy and promote consistency in direct mail and other print campaigns is with a team account on QuantumDigital.com.
For email communications, it’s important that each team member be provided with a standard signature with your logo, website, and contact information. This way, when a new person from the team reaches out to a prospect or client on behalf of another, the recipient will immediately recognize the brand. Secondly, within email and other communications, all team members should speak the same “language” - meaning that they use the same terminology. For example, if there are multiple ways to refer to a certain market, house style, etc, it’s a good idea to create and agree upon a glossary of terms that everyone shares. Minimizing potentially confusing interactions during a transition from one supporting team member to another helps the customer see the benefits of the unit.
Working as a team is not only a stress reliever for those who are able to delegate to supporting staff, it’s also an opportunity for everyone to work for the same end goal - the success that comes with providing a great experience to home buyers and sellers. But when fishing for new clients, the team must work in a similar fashion in listing lead generation efforts.
For those who are deciding if a team is the next step in your career, Inman gives some great advice on Team building: what you should know before you begin:
“Creating a team is not something that will happen overnight. Instead, it will take creating a vision for how the team will come together, being proactive in pursuing those who would be a great fit, and finding the ability to trust those whom you’ve selected to do thing things they are great at so you can do the same.”
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