The Chicago Association of REALTORS®, the “Voice for Real Estate” in Chicago since 1883, represents over 17,000 members from all real estate specialties including commercial sales, development, property management, appraisal, auctions and residential sales.
Andy Shiparski, Coldwell Banker Residential – moderator
Matt Laricy, Americorp, Ltd.
Lauren Mitrick Wood, Compass Real Estate
At the August 29th Building Your Team breakfast, both Lauren Mitrick Wood and Matt Laricy offered differing approaches to building their teams— reinforcing Andy Shiparski’s advice not to fall for the misconception that all teams run the same way. Figure out what you want to do and perfect it. Lauren joked that so many people were looking forward to learning her “secret” to building her team, but her secret is there’s no secret— they simply work hard.
Staying true to your vision, your gut and the hustle required for success will ensure you build a happy, successful team that lasts.
The First Hire & Beyond
Don’t hire because building a team is the thing to do. Hire because you need the help. Lauren’s first hire was a rental agent, and if she were to go back, she wouldn’t change her decision. She needed help managing her rentals, so delegating those to a rental agent allowed her to focus on growing her business elsewhere.
Matt also warns against hiring too early. He says the most successful agents feel the hustle first— “Have a nervous breakdown then start a team!”—so they fully understand what it takes to succeed. Looking back, he wished he first hired a personal assistant to help with his scheduling.
Also, if you need help with more admin-related tasks, don’t necessarily start young talent who dreams of becoming a big, successful agent. Hire someone who likes lists and enjoys organization. Otherwise, you won’t retain your talent.
Building Your Team Means Leading Your Team
Andy warned attendees that hiring new team members was only the beginning— building great teams takes great leaders who put time and effort into leading them. This takes active communication and one-on-one time with your agents.
Lauren has weekly meetings with each agent, because she finds that works better than solitary team meetings. In these meetings she asks what’s going on and what she can do to help. She credits this style of leadership to Ninja Sales Training, which she highly recommends.
Matt also meets with his team members individually. He breaks his down to yearly goal-setting, quarterly sit-downs to touch base on those goals, and then weekly meetings where they talk market and listings.
Invest Back Into Your Business
You have to invest money to make money. Matt invests at least 25 percent of his income back into his business, and Lauren invests anywhere between 10 and 15 percent. Even if you aren’t getting a complete ROI for the year, look at what you learned, and apply those lessons the next year.
Lauren likes to invest specifically in great closing gifts— bringing a chef to a house, taking clients out to a nice dinner, hosting a cocktail party, and so on. She’s a people person who enjoys solidifying those relationships, and she finds more often than not, investing in a closing gift gets her clients’ referral business.
Happy, Cohesive Teams 101
Finding the happy medium between group think and cut-throat competition among your team can be tricky.
Matt’s team is in constant communication with each other, both formally and informally. They’re emailing, group chatting, Snapchatting and more. They are competitive, but to them it’s just banter. If you find one team member is creating a jealous atmosphere, he urges you to cut that negativity out of the team before it spreads.
Lauren’s team consistently hosts company events. They’re always checking in with each other, going to dinners together, meeting each other’s families and furthering their relationships.
Andy echoed the practice of active team communication and support. He encourages all team leaders and team members to raise the bar of respect and help each other out, no matter the role, no matter the company.