Top Coach Shares The 10 Biggest Mistakes Sales Associates Make When Building a Team
Monica Reynolds is a Keller Williams MAPS Coach based in San Diego and the author of two books: Multiply Your Success with Real Estate Assistants and The Professional Assistant. A pioneer in the hiring of administrative assistants and building professional team structures, she recommends avoiding these mistakes when building your team:
Hiring Too Quickly
Finding the best candidates encompasses more than identifying who is the best fit for the job. “Gary Keller talks about ‘topgrading’ [building a high-quality workforce with top performers] and says it takes 100 interviews to find that one special person,” Reynolds says. “You only need three key hires, one being the executive assistant [who] makes the trains run on the track.” Assessing whether someone fits your team’s culture is equally important. “Look closely at each candidate and learn their life story. “If they have a victim mentality or if they are victorious over the challenges in their life is a key for me.
Lacking a Financial Plan
Before adding to your team—especially when hiring an assistant who will draw a salary—you will need at least three months’ income for that individual. “Don’t hire unless you've got an economic model in place that will pay for that assistant,” Reynolds says.
No Definitive Culture or Job Descriptions
Most agents don’t have a defined job description, which makes it difficult to create a culture of top performers. “Expectations should be communicated upfront,” Reynolds says. “It’s about defining your lane and being excellent in your lane. An organizational chart tells someone who they report to versus, ‘Wow, there are 14 people on the team … who do I ask if I have a question?’ Too many times assistants tell me, ‘I got hired for one thing and I’m doing another’ or ‘I didn't have a job description and never had a schedule.’”
Training is a must for new hires but is rarely provided. “What happens is an agent will bring on an assistant or a buyer’s agent and say, ‘OK, there's the phone’ or ‘Here's the file … I’ll see you in a few hours,’” Reynolds says. “I know an agent who was not training his assistants and lost over $150,000 the first year. [When] people don't follow the model, it’s a mess.”
Waffling on Firing
“You have to protect your team’s standards and fire someone immediately when you make a mistake,” Reynolds says. “You don't have an office of puppies. They can be the nicest people but what do they do all day? When you hire the wrong person, you locked a puppy up. When you bring someone in with a bad attitude, it upsets the team. Sometimes they’re not a cultural fit and yet they’re a good producer. So, the [team lead] will hang onto them even though it destroys the culture and sets a [lower] standard.”
Employing Family and Friends
There are exceptions, but it’s usually a mistake to recruit loved ones. “When anybody asks if they should hire a family member I say, ‘No, tell [them] to work someplace else.’”
Fear of Delegating
Agents are control monsters who are unwilling to trust the ability of someone else. “I hire talent first, but they have to get licensed within six months,” Reynolds says. “Training them to handle contracts has allowed me to be a salesperson versus trying to maintain a file.”
Sending All Calls to Mobile Phones
It’s imperative to have a landline where the phone can be answered at the office. “Agents have everything going to their cellphone, and the assistants are not answering the phone. Does that make sense?”
No Lead Generation
“If you’re hiring a buyer’s agent and you don't have lead generation systems in place, what are you hiring a buyer’s agent for? On the admin side, for every 45 to 50 transactions, you should have a full-time admin.”
Not Scouting Around For More Talent
Lead generation should not be limited to finding buyers and sellers. “If you're building a team, you need to always be looking over the fence to see who else is out there that could be part of your team,” Reynolds says.
Leslie Stone is a Vero Beach-based freelance writer.