Are You Team Building?

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Anthony Lamacchia: Are you team building? Have you been selling a lot of homes for three, four or five, six years and you realize, okay, it’s now time to start building a team. Maybe you started doing it in the last year or two or three, but something mysterious happened, something you didn’t expect has happened. You’re not really selling that many more homes, but you have two or three or one or whatever it is, more people working with you and you’re thinking yourself, “Good God, if I just stayed working by myself, I’d be selling as many or close to as many and I wouldn’t be giving commission out.” This is something that’s very common. I see it with many, many people across the country. Sometimes team building is not the right choice for agents. You have to know what you’re good at and what you’re not. You also have to think about your long term vision.

Anthony Lamacchia here with Crush It In Real Estate. I want to spend a few minutes talking to you guys about this. I just finished working out and I wanted to talk to you about this for a little bit.

Building a team is not for everyone. This is coming from someone who built my company from having a team. I was a single agent, then I had a small team, then I had a power team, then we converted into a brokerage model in late 2014, early 2015. It took a couple of years of pain to make that happen. When I think back to when we first started building the team, there were some years of pain there too. Most people don’t want to go through years of pain to get to where they want to be. You got to think about that.

You got to think of what am I really good at because once you become a true team leader, it’s like becoming a broker-owner. Well, now you’ve got two jobs. Now, you need to sell homes, and you need to be the leader. It’s two separate jobs and you have to think about. If you’re one of these people right now that’s like, “I want to build a team. I want to start bringing on buyer agents and have people work for me and all this and that.” There’s a whole bunch of things that you got to think about.

One of them is really think, do you like managing people? Think about that. Don’t just say, “Yes, I can do it.” Actually, think it through. Do you want to be responsible for someone else’s income? Do you want to be responsible for a much bigger picture? If it fails, guess what? It’s on you. That’s how it goes. That’s how the cookie crumbles when you’re the leader. If things don’t work out, you take the biggest beating, you get paid last. I can’t tell you how many years I have spent getting paid last. Or if we do a new venture, waiting two or three years to get paid. That’s what it takes to get things off the ground oftentimes.

When these people say, “Oh, I’m worried about my bottom line, and my net profit.” Well, good for you, but don’t try to actually build something because you’ll only get so far and you’ll hit a ceiling. More so, though, what I’m trying to dig into is the time spent. That’s the part I want to think about. If you’re someone who’s thinking about building it, you need to say to yourself, “Well, if I just go out and sell homes, I can crank out 30, 40, 50, 60, 70 homes a year,” whatever your number is. Everybody’s capable at different levels, but do I really want to add people?

Here’s what I say. This is how you think about it. It’s the opposite of what I see a lot of people do. You have to lead with business. When I started bringing people on, the reason I started bringing people on is because I could not do anymore. I could not keep up. We had more business than we could handle. Then we added people, not the opposite. What a lot of people do when they’re team building is they’ll go out and they’ll say, “I want to add sales so let me add some more people.”

I’m talking about in the early days. Obviously, we have a brokerage model now, adding more people adds more sales. It’s different. I’m talking about in the early part of team building. You’ve got to think, am I bringing someone on just to add sales or am I bringing someone on because I have so much business that I can’t handle it? That’s when you bring people on.

I’ve talked about this before. First hire is an admin. First hire or maybe even the second hire is an admin. Then you’ve got to think about, “All right, is it time to bring on a buyer’s agent?” If it’s time, fine, but again, it’s only because you can’t keep up. Then when you bring on a buyer’s agent, don’t be greedy. I talk to too many people that have teams that are like, “Well, I took that lead because that’s a million-dollar lead. I’m taking that for me.” No, no. Guys, you’ve got to give the good leads. You’ve got to give them all. You got to set up a rotation and send the leads out and don’t squad pick because the team agents are going to get conscious of it and they’re going to be like, “So I get the scraps and he gets the good stuff, she gets the good stuff.” That’s not cool.

You have to accept if you’re going to do it, you’ve got to be all in. There’s no putting your toe in the water. There’s a lot of people out there that I’ve seen and I can think of examples all over our state and some examples around the country of people that I say to myself, “Jesus, that person was selling 60 homes a year and now they’re selling 65 and on 25 of them they’re giving up commission. They would have been better off just staying at the 60 and selling on their own and not having to worry about other people They burned one, two, three, four years trying to do this team thing that they’re all proud and excited to do, and then it doesn’t work out and they basically wasted their time.”

We had a Crush It In Real Estate event on January 17. We had people on the stage that literally sell 60, not all of them. We had all different walks of life, but there was a couple of people that sell 60 to 90 homes a year by themselves. You got to ask yourself, if you’re at that crossroads of do I want to build a team or if you’re someone that’s listening, and you’re like, “Jesus, it’s like, he’s talking to me. I built a team a couple of years ago, and we’re not growing.” Well, if that’s the case, sometimes you need to get smaller to get bigger. Just make the change. You know what I mean?

Just make the change because you’re only hurting yourself and, frankly, you’re hurting others too. Too many people get this notion in their head when they team-build that people are just going to live under their thumb. “I’m going to bring on agents and they’re going to stay right here. They’re going to take my leads, and they should be happy they have leads and they should work all the leads. They’re going to get a little commission, and every sale is going to go under my name and me, me, me.” Then when the person leaves, they are like, “Why are they leaving?”

What do you expect? I got news for you, every one of you team leaders out there. Your agents aren’t going to stay with you forever. Period. End of story. I don’t care. I’ve dozens and dozens of friends around the country, some of which might be like, “Anthony, do you have to say that?” Sorry guys, love you, but team leaders have to accept that team agents are not going to stay with them forever. It just doesn’t happen. It’s not normal human behavior. Every three or four years, each human wants to feel they’re going to the next level. If you go into it understanding that and you create a transitional plan for them, it’ll make it easier.

Now, I’m going to the end of when you bring on agents. Before, I was talking about the beginning. In the beginning, when you bring people on, you’ve got to make sure you’re giving them training every single week. Sometimes people say, “Well, I don’t have time to train them. I’m doing listing appointments.” [chuckles] I got this for you, find time. I don’t know what to say. Manage your time better, hire additional admins so that you can get time to invest in them.

Back when I was doing that transition, I went through the transition of selling into having a real team, late 2009 and to 2011. 2011 period I was done, done selling. I have not worked with another buyer or seller since that time. There were some rocks in there. There were some bumps in there where, yes, I had to give up some income. We had to hire additional support to support me so that I could train the agents and things like that.

It was frustrating sometimes. I made less money for a couple of years and then, bang, it hit and it took off. We started doing much better. Then when we switched to a brokerage model, the same thing, some bumps. I had to put people in front of me. I had to make those managerial things happen so that we could keep the glue together to get to the other side. We’ve obviously done that and we’re brokerage model.

What I’m saying is, the key to my message is you’ve got to think to yourself, “What am I good at? What do I really want to be doing?” Too often do I see people get into being team leaders and then it doesn’t work out and they’re, “I wasted two years. I wasted three years. I should have just stayed on my own.” Well, then stay on your own. There’s nothing wrong with that. I know a lot of people that lead great lives being single agents or a single agent with one admin. I know people that lead amazing lives doing that. Nothing wrong with that whatsoever. You should not feel like you failed.

If you’re one of these people that did try it and it didn’t work out and some of the things I’m mentioning is happening to you, then make a change. Big deal. You think we haven’t had to make changes in our company? Everybody sees Fakebook. You’re watching me on Fakebook right now and you’re like, “Oh, everything’s perfect. Everything he does..” No, no. We have bumps all along the road. We make changes. There’s painful changes we’ve had to make. If you’re in that situation, you make it, but don’t wait too long.

The same equal the same. You do the same thing, you get the same result. If you’re not happy about what you’re doing, if you feel you’re spending your whole day– I’ve heard a lot of team leaders say to me, “I feel like I babysit.” Well, if that’s how you see it, get out of it. It’s not babysitting, it’s leading. It’s not babysitting. There’s a big difference. If you see it that way, if you feel like you’re babysitting, it’s not for you. That’s not bad that it’s not for you.

I hope that makes sense. I hope that helps some people make some decisions as to whether or not they want to get into being a team leader. I hope that that helps some people who have become team leaders decide if they want to stick it out and continue at it.

Some tips for you people that want to stick it out. Don’t be greedy with leads. Don’t skim the top and take the good ones and give them your scraps. Be generous enough with them that they feel they have an upside especially on their own business. You should be giving them a higher split on their own business. If you’re not, that’ll bite you and they’ll change sooner.

Also, be aware of the three to the four-year mark. Most agents and teams, once they get to three to four years, they start looking around. It’s normal. Don’t hate them for it. It’s totally normal. It happens. Don’t stress out, embrace it. If you’re at another company, see if you can make a deal with your broker-owner and let them know about that, hey, eventually when they get to the point of wanting to be on their own, you’ll assist them in transitioning to be on their own and maybe you get a piece of that. We set up something like that at our company for our team leaders.

Those are some thoughts as to whether or not you want to get into being a team leader. There’s a hell of a team leader right there., what’s up, buddy? How are you doing buddy? Think about those kinds of things because it’ll help you and it’ll save you a lot of times so you don’t burn three, four years and then end up realizing, what the hell did I do? Have a good day, guys. Happy home selling.