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  • Chelsea Donovan

How to Build a Real Estate Team Your Clients Will Love

From morning prospecting calls to afternoon home tours, a day in the shoes of a real estate rainmaker has zero room for thumb twiddling. But while leading team meetings and monitoring your pipeline require your undivided attention, so do your clients.

With everything from Zillow Homes to a global health pandemic shaking up the real estate industry, consumer expectations are changing faster than ever. If you’re serious about delivering a ‘wow’ experience for your customers, a laser-focused real estate team is your ticket to the next level.

Whether you’re starting a brand new team or rethinking your approach to running your existing team, your clients need to know one thing: You’re never too busy to put them first.

Today, we’ll show you how to build a customer-centric team your clients can’t wait to refer to their friends. Let's get started.

Ready to start using Preclose with your team? Preclose GO! integrates seamlessly with your team’s calendars to help make scheduling meetings, showings, inspections, and closings between multiple parties more efficient and hassle-free. Check it out for free!

How to Build (or Re-build) a Client-Centric Real Estate Team

  • Step 1. Check In on Your Financial Goals

  • Step 2. Define or Redefine Your Key Roles

  • Step 3. Find and Keep the Right People for Your Team

  • Step 4. Double Down on Team Culture

  • Step 5. Utilize the Right System and Tools

What Is a Real Estate Team?

With shifting buyer and seller demographics, tech disruption — and of course, Covid — the game of real estate today looks nothing like it did a decade ago. Before we dive into the benefits of building a customer-centric real estate team, let’s start by answering the basics.

While the definition varies by state, the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) describes a real estate team as two or more real estate salespersons who work together to provide real estate services. Some teams may have 100+ agents, other teams may simply be composed of a buyer's agent and virtual assistant.

Every real estate team can and should look different, and there are benefits to all types of team models, whether that’s opening a team under a global franchise like RE/MAX, starting your own boutique brokerage or landing somewhere in the middle with a “teamerage”.

The point is that you build your team in the way that works best for you, while ensuring that your clients are 100% happy with the service you provide.

How do real estate teams work?

The nuts and bolts of how a real estate team works will depend on the type of model you select. Generally speaking, a real estate team always involves two or more agents who can work for the same client at once. For example, one agent can cover tasks for another who may have a heavy workload or simply need a break. (And let’s face it, we all need a break sometimes.)

For example, if you’re a producing broker or team leader, your real estate agents can handle any excess leads and showings while you plan your marketing and sales strategies. Or you might arm your agents with a rockstar transaction coordinator to help manage the contract to closing process, allowing them to get back on the phones.

You get the idea, right? With the right team, your business systems get the attention they deserve, and so do your existing prospects and clients.

The best part is, the way you structure your team and systems is entirely up to you. Just make sure it’s a win-win for you and your clients.

Ready to give your customers and team something to brag about? Preclose GO! offers teams a contract-to-closing experience they can be proud of. Try it for free today!

The Benefits of a Real Estate Team: Better Client Experience, Better Revenue

On a day of back-to-back appointments, a solo agent can easily lose track of documents, emails, and deadlines (which will definitely come back to haunt their online reviews).

If you’re spending an immense amount of time outside of the office, having a customer-focused real estate team is a huge plus. Here’s why:

  • Increased productivity. Starbucks and adrenaline can only get you so far. A real estate team, on the other hand, can handle those tasks on your to-do list that you'd otherwise put off until later (or worse, drop the ball on).

  • Better customer service. From surprise inspections to price negotiations, clients need you when they need you. With dedicated team members for buyers, sellers and transaction management, a specialized team will ensure you’re available to put out any potential fires with grace and ease.

  • More revenue. According to expert real estate coach Tom Ferry, “A functioning team will always out serve and out produce an individual.” No matter which way you cut it, a focused, client-driven team can help you close the gaps in your real estate pipeline in order to attract and convert more deals.

Without a doubt, these three factors equate to business success. But what if you’re not currently seeing these results in your existing team?

How to Build (or Re-build) a Client-Centric Real Estate Team

Step 1. Check In on Your Financial Goals

While this may come as a no-brainer, you don’t want to make a costly hiring mistake. According to CareerBuilder, the average cost of one bad hire is $15,000, yet almost 74% of companies say they’ve made the mistake of hiring the wrong candidate.

Before recruiting your next team member, you’ve got to sit down and crunch your numbers.

Consider the following:

1. Operating expenses

The first step is to analyze your annual expenditures — association fees, marketing costs, taxes, etc. Account for the real estate tools, software or apps you’ll use to help centralize your business and increase productivity across the team, whether that’s your CRM, project management tool or a smart transaction coordination platform like Preclose. 😉

2. Financial goals

Next, set your monthly revenue goals. Working backward, subtract your operating expenses from your income. This will help determine the budget with which you can initially compensate the team. Remember, not all real estate team members are agents. With the right systems and SOPs in place, hiring a transaction coordinator can be a major asset for your business.

3. Compensation plan

Lastly, brainstorm a competitive compensation plan that supports the development of every member of your team, both agents and staff. Will you offer a flat rate, split commission, or a combination of both? Think about additional resources or incentives that will help keep your customers happy and team focused.

Step 2. Define or Redefine Your Key Roles

To strike the right balance between the sales-generating team members and the back-of-the-house foundational positions, a productive real estate team generally consists of the following roles:

  • Team leader - the team leader or broker running the operation — a.k.a. you!

  • Buyers Agents - to work directly with clients showing properties, negotiating deals, etc.

  • Transaction Coordinator (TC) - performs your key administration and creates a positive experience for the customer. Core duties include communicating with all parties involved in the transaction and keeping your closings on track. TCs are essential team members, as they enable agents to focus on selling and closing more leads, without dropping the ball on your clients under contract.

  • Virtual Assistant (VA) - takes care of the remaining administrative tasks should the TC have a demanding workload. Tasks can include answering phones, scheduling meetings, and supporting the agents’ needs.

Depending on the demands of your real estate team, you may need additional members. For example, a listings agent can help you bring more sellers to the mix, a marketing manager can cover the team’s social media management and content creation, and an inside sales agent (ISA) can help with cold calls and lead nurture to build new contacts for agents.

Do you have the right people in the right seats? Which areas of the business are sucking up the majority of your time? Where do you spend the most time troubleshooting client requests or setbacks?

Once you’re clear on the must-have roles for driving the business forward, you’re ready to build a rock-solid hiring process.

With access to all your documents and communications in one central place, Preclose helps team leaders, agents and TCs see at a glance which deals are progressing seamlessly and which one might require urgent attention.

Step 3. Find and Keep the Right People for Your Team

No matter which team model you use, the hiring process can be expensive and time-consuming.

Census and Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows that 95% of hiring is done to fill existing positions, mostly due to voluntary turnover. You don’t want to spend weeks recruiting, interviewing, and onboarding a team member only to end up looking for their replacement days later.

Bottom line? A successful team means having the right candidates for the right positions.

Use a hiring plan to help you select the best person for the job, then reinforce your brand values and team culture during an airtight onboarding process.

To start, our founder Rebecca Guthrie has a detailed (and extremely helpful) guide on the 4x criteria for hiring a transaction coordinator. Here are just some of the recruiting gems you’ll want to work into your hiring plan or checklist:

1. Hire for the right reasons

While it’s okay to hire family and friends, make sure that relationship isn't the only reason. Do they have the skills and experiences needed for the position? The last thing you want is uncomfortable family dinners or accusations of favoritism within the team.

2. Clearly define the role and expectations in writing

Make your needs for the position crystal clear. Let new hires know that success at both the individual and team level requires everyone to pull their weight. When standards and expectations are clearly defined, team members can hold themselves (and one another) accountable.

3. Consider using a personality assessment

For a truly client-centric team, you need people who understand, appreciate and reflect your brand values. Personality tests such as DISC or the Myers-Briggs MBTI can provide insight into an applicant’s behavior, values, and motivations so that you can better understand and communicate your values in a way that will get them genuinely excited to achieve their personal best.

4. Ask scenario-based interview questions

It’s impossible to gauge competency through a resume. Ask hypothetical and behavioral problem-solving questions during the interview to get an idea of how a potential team member will respond in certain situations.

As a good rule of thumb, make sure to check references and reviews before bringing any new agent or team member on board. Unlike a static CV, testimonials can provide firsthand insight into how they really relate to their customers.

[ADD STAT IMAGE: 95% of hiring is done to fill existing positions, mostly due to voluntary turnover. Source: Harvard Business Review]

Step 4. Double Down on Team Culture

Happy customers are the bread and butter of every successful real estate team — and it all starts with your team culture.

As the team leader, it’s your job to make your business values clear from day one. If you have a general guideline or value like “Put customers first,” take the time to spell that out into actual examples and scenarios your team members can relate to, such as We respond to leads in less than five minutes,” or “We reply to all client emails within 24 hours.”

Think about the characteristics you’d like to see in an online review about your business and audit your values with these traits in mind. Look for things like:

✔ Frequent communication

✔ Excellent organization

✔ Meaningful interactions

✔ Always accessible

Now, with that same mind frame, what reviews would you want to read about your company on an employee review platform like Glassdoor?

A great way to keep the customer front-and-center, while nipping any internal team issues in the bud, is to develop team-building tactics that encourage transparency and feedback, such as regular team meetings with clear, consistent questions to help your agents track their progress.

Also, consider arranging occasional non-work group activities, such as team happy hours or client appreciation events. You want to create a culture where team members can feel comfortable and enjoy one another’s company, without the pressure of vying for the top spot in the monthly leaderboard.

Remember, not everyone has the same goals for their real estate career. Some agents want to close five deals per month, some want to do half that and spend the rest of their time with their families. Both goals are totally fine as long as:

a.) Your agents’ goals align with the team’s bigger objectives

b.) Everyone on the team is on the same page

Which brings us to our next point.

Step 5. Utilize the Right System and Tools

So, you’ve got experienced agents, an ace TC, and a headstrong leader who’s ready to close deals like a boss.

But you’re not done yet.

Even with a fully staffed team, keeping up with everyone's responsibilities can still be chaotic and overwhelming. If you want to make a lasting impression on your customers, you’ve got to keep your team organized, dialed-in and ready to go above and beyond expectations, which takes us to our final point.

You need to establish the right tools, workflows and systems in order to ensure effective communication with clients and one another, providing a smooth customer experience from A to Z.

With Preclose GO!, your real estate team can:

  • Monitor the entire team's progress across multiple transactions.

  • Easily communicate with all parties involved in a transaction.

  • Integrate email templates, documents, and to-do lists all on one platform.

  • Manage contracts, set up customized templates, and more!

When Catherine Evans joined an Atlanta-based Keller Williams team as one of their leading TCs, it was during one of the rockiest times in recent history. "I started this position the week before the quarantine. Georgia shut down eight days after my start date, and it was mandatory that everyone work from home," says Catherine.

Before finding the right transaction coordination platform for their team, she was clicking in and out of Trello boards for over 30 transactions per month. It was kind of a mess.

Luckily, Catherine now has a fully organized system that empowers her to connect with more of the team's clients, in less time.

“The biggest part is keeping everyone on the same deadlines. Right now, I have 38 files that I’m keeping track of. It’s a lot and missed deadlines don’t make anyone look good, so the customization aspect is really important,” she explains.

Catherine and her agents now use Preclose to automate the team’s transaction checklists, instantly customize email templates and simplify communication with buyers, sellers and third parties.

It’s one simple tool that makes a big difference on team and customer morale.

Team loyalty = customer loyalty

Preclose GO! is the home buying and selling experience platform your existing (and future) agents and TCs have been looking for. Easily communicate with clients, lenders, and other transaction parties via text, chat, and email all in one place. Try Preclose GO! for free with your real estate team and impress your clients from contract to close.

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