Unquestionably, teams offer real estate agents many benefits, including the ability to share workloads, leverage a strong brand’s leads and to specialize, all of which, in turn, can help to deliver a superior customer experience.
But real estate teams are far from equal, and it can be difficult to tell upfront if a particular team will be a good fit for the onboarding agent.
However, by asking the right questions at the interview stage, an agent will be in a better position to discern whether the team ultimately represents the right career move or a wrong turn.
Real estate teams come in many shapes and sizes, with some team structures offering the best fit for novice agents while other team models better suit top producers. Mentor/mentee models, for instance, are typically led by team leads dedicated to training. This team structure represents a low-cost, low-risk team model, in which the novice agent typically receives mentoring and training for one to two years before moving onto a team where they receive leads.
New agents interviewing with this type of team structure will want to ask what type of training they offer. The best mentors will teach their agents how to set up goals with both realistic and stretch targets. Also, do they train on tech, such as a CRM, electronic real estate signature software, or a transaction management system? Do they teach basic fundamentals, like learning how to prospect, build a sphere and hold an open house? If this is the path you prefer, you might ask to sit in on a team training to gain a feel for what the team is like.
Newer agents may also be drawn to a “lead team” structure, which runs on volume and relies mostly on advertising to generate leads.
In addition, there are CEO-led teams with four to nine members under a central leads; rainmaker models run by a team lead who doubles as the top producer; expansion teams, which allow agents to grow their business geographically; and the self-branded team leader models, in which the team leads set lead gen goals and relies on client referrals, loyal relationships and stellar service to fuel their operation.
Regardless of the team structure, you’ll want to get a complete picture of the financial package:
Tech offerings should also be viewed as part of the total package. Does the team support social media marketing and advertise with Google Ads or Facebook? Do they have a favored CRM and is it covered by the broker? Do they offer real estate transaction management software and, even better, one specifically designed for teams, like dotloop for teams?
Every great real estate team should have a business plan and a mission statement behind what it hopes to accomplish and how it will achieve those goals. Is the team lead hoping to grow profits through cultivating and training real estate agents, or do they see new recruits as a means of offloading tasks?
A business plan and a mission statement signal purpose and direction. If the team lead doesn’t yet know what their plan is for the business, then it’s doubtful that they will have a well-organized plan for your future growth.
Culture is king and for good reason. Real estate agents can spend upwards of 60 hours a week working so it’s important that you interact well with your co-workers. Does the team favor a work-life balance? Do they sponsor company events?
You might find clues in the team’s mission statement, as many teams that place high value on culture will speak to it directly in these guiding principles. Listen for words and phrases like “empowerment,” “team development” and “fostering teamwork.”
You might also ask to meet with the team’s leaders and maybe a few folks from sales and operations. If they beat you to the offer, even better!
This is one area where much can get lost in translation, so it’s best to be clear upfront about your role and the expectations around it. If you’re hired as a buying agent, will you be able to list? What will be your geographic area? Will you need to farm a specific community? Is there a quota in terms of transactions? What about a time commitment and how will that fit into your lifestyle? Also, you’ll want to ask how the team generates leads and distributes them among the agents.
Joining a team is a career-changing move. Make sure you interview at least three teams before you decide and remember: It’s as important that you interview them as much as they’re interviewing you.
At the end of the day, if it’s longevity you’re looking for, the most important question you may ask is the one you ask yourself: Can you see yourself there in five or even 10 years down the road? That’s the question only you can answer.