Craig Hartranft's Tips on Building a High-Performance Team
Craig Hartranft, team lead for The Craig Hartranft Team at Berkshire Hathaway Homesale Realty in Lancaster, Pa., shares the keys that landed him on The Thousand.
When Craig Hartranft left law enforcement for real estate in 1989, he was doing it all: coordinating appointments, showings and open houses, generating leads and working with buyers and sellers.
“I had 40 to 45 transactions by my third year and knew I needed to do something different,” says the sales associate and leader of The Craig Hartranft Team at Berkshire Hathaway Homesale Realty in Lancaster, Pa.
Hartranft discovered the late Howard Brinton’s Star Power Systems and shadowed Allan Domb, a successful Philadelphia real estate broker who taught him the team concept. “I started with an assistant and added a buyer’s agent and kept growing,” he says. His buyer’s agents and listing agents gradually became separate divisions.
Hartranft eventually stepped out of day-to-day operations and took on a leadership role. One of his key team members, Jim McPhail, did the same. “Jim complements my weaknesses, so we work well together.” The team now averages more than 500 transactions (40-plus per team member) per year.
Here are Hartranft’s keys to success:
Hire with Intention
“We used to hire the first person who said yes,” Hartranft says. “Now our goal is to develop productive agents.” To find the right talent, he enlists the help of John Pyke, one of the nation’s leading authorities on hiring for real estate. “Candidates take extensive personality testing—like DISC behavior assessment on steroids—that tells us if they are the right fit.”
Provide Tools to Succeed
Hartranft offers a hands-on, paid training program. “A lot of folks cannot afford to come into the business without a 100 percent commission,” he says. “So, as part of our training, we provide an hourly or weekly wage to come and assist our veteran agents for the first six months.”
Utilize Individual Talents
Hartranft prides himself on being a humble leader. “Don’t be intimated if someone has strengths that you don’t,” he says. “I have many weaknesses and other folks on the team [counterbalance] those weaknesses.”
Speed to Lead
“Our conversion rate is over 8 percent while the national average is around 2 percent,” Hartranft says. “How? Because when a lead comes in our CRM automatically thanks them for coming to our website or for reaching out on Zillow and says someone will be in touch shortly. Our goal is for our agents to follow the system 80 percent of the time.”
Location, Location, Location
Central Pennsylvania is a conglomeration of small towns,” Hartranft says. “Tourism is big because of the Amish community, and Armstrong World Industries’ headquarters is here. When the market tanks in other parts of the country we have moderate appreciation.”
Mistakes Don’t Exist
Create a culture where people are treated well and mistakes are seen as learning opportunities, and the team will flourish. “When we get together on a weekly basis, we share any of these learning opportunities,” Hartranft says. “After 30 years, I’m still learning from my agents. Those are the things that help you keep retention with your team members. They see the value of the learning opportunity.”
Leslie Stone is a Vero Beach, Fla.-based freelance writer. She is a contributor to Florida Realtor magazine and has previously served as the magazine's associate editor. She regularly writes about the real estate industry.
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