Tom Ferry, real estate coaching extraordinaire and CEO of Tom Ferry International joins us to talk about the trends (and the challenges to these trends) he sees in the industry with a specific focus on teams and agents. Tom shares what broker owners can do to lead their teams to success and how to avoid unnecessary frustration.
Listen to the full podcast interview below.
Thanks for joining us Tom.
You travel all around the world talking to real estate professionals inspiring them to achieve – what are some of the common themes you are hearing these days?
I think it depends who you are talking to. I would say that the top producers today are becoming more and more wealthy, they are selling more and more houses, they are forming better business practices, developing their teams and their skills and then there is basically the rest of the industry.
And when I am talking to agents who aren’t making the money they want, they are complaining about a lack of inventory. Where the first group, the top producers, all they are talking about right now, the things that I hear when I listen to the 30,000 coaching conversations that are happening every month through our ecosystem, are things like, "Conversions matter." Leads are easy.” "What are the best tools or software or training mechanisms that I can use to help myself and my team serve my clients at the highest level?"
It’s really the rich and the rest.
Obviously, more and more agents are starting teams, it’s not new to form a team. But it is becoming more of a standard practice than it has been in the past. What are some of the common mistakes you see when forming a team?
How much time do we have? Listen, God bless them all. It’s been fascinating to watch. Even back in the ‘90s, when we were talking about teams back then and seeing it today. The problems are the same.
Number 1 – It's a total lack in hiring practice. They are not sure who they should hire, how they should hire. Are there a better set of questions I should ask? Should the agent even be involved in the hiring process?
Number 2 – A total lack of on boarding. And it’s funny, when you talk to broker owners today, and I say these are some of the challenges – they always laugh and say these are some of the challenges that we faced when we first started. And my response is, what a wonderful opportunity for you as an owner to bring more value to your team leader by helping them understand hiring practices, on boarding, retention plans, training plan, lead development and lead flow.
These are issues that the vast majority of these teams never thought about when they declared one day, I’m going to start a team, I’m going to leverage myself. Of course, then there is the whole leadership side, who do I need to be now as a leader vs. that self-centered, high producing, rock-star, pre-madonna real estate professional (and I say all of that in a loving way because these are my clients!) Well now all of a sudden, your goal is, 'how do I help all these people around me, transfer over my skills, give them the tools they need, then give them the time they need to develop.'
And what we all know is the vast majority of those agents just don’t have the patience and they end up sabotaging themselves, and their agents and teams in the process. It’s a myriad of problems and the great news is, the owners, the managers and the C-level executives, these are all problems that you’ve solved, what a wonderful gift for you to operationalize your methodologies and then start training your agents on exactly how they should use it in your culture in your brokerage.
Great advice. Are there any other tips you can offer brokers to help their teams to continue to be successful?
I would say, the No.1 answer is treat them like you would any satellite office, any acquisition, a whole bunch of the CEOs I’m working with personally today, we are all trying to buy as many companies as we can right now and they got a platform - A box if you will, a set of strategies they use every single time.
If you take that same methodology of ‘I’m going to go by this office because it’s in the right area, it fits my growth pattern.’ If you looked at teams the same exact way, if you operationalized the same exact way – the team would be more successful – they would be much more connected to the broker, owner, the manager because they were given those tools and given that training.
Plus, from a quality control standpoint, the thing that scares me the most is they are letting these agents and teams go out and start everywhere, and they forget these people are carrying your banner, your brand name. So, I would be thinking about quality control.
One crazy idea I’ve been discussion with a lot of CEOs - is why aren’t we financing some of these teams? Why aren’t we forming a new corporation with them, a new LLC where the brokerage owns 5, 10 or 20% and the agent team leader owns the balance. What this gives you now as an owner, is first of all, a better piece of the action, plus you can say rather than going to hire these people, let’s go hire them together, based upon the appropriate LLC split and my team can work with that team to make sure we have quality control and marketing, on transaction management and everything else. That’s something that’s out of the box.
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