Executing on all you need to do is near impossible to do alone and still continue to grow your business. There is a human capacity to what you can accomplish. There comes a time where you need to enlist the help of others – you need to build a team so you can take part of your plan and start delegating activities. Here are some tips to help you build the right team!
There is a limit to what anyone can do alone. For example, for a loan officer, typically when someone funds over five purchase loans a month they begin to get overwhelmed. There are just too many things to do: open houses, putting deals together, working on marketing campaigns, updating their pipeline, hitting their close of escrow dates, trying to manage a database. For real estate agents, I see that their capacity gets challenged once they are closing 2-3 deals per month. Something has to give. Usually lead generation is what is sacrificed first so it is imperative that you either manage your time and priorities better or you consider building a team.
If you don’t have the support for your business, it usually results in a roller coaster of good months and bad months. One month production is up because you’ve spent your time prospecting. The next month business is down because now you’re spending all your time managing the pipeline. Then you shift back to prospecting and the cycle continues. This is why so many in the mortgage and real estate industry are in scarcity mode much of the time.
To build a sustainable business you must constantly be building your pipeline. The primary function for all of us should be creating new business opportunities. When you reach the point where this is no longer possible you must start looking for someone to help you. This usually coincides with good production numbers. Once you reach a certain level you can generally ask for what you need. In my experience the first person you should hire is someone who can manage your pipeline or current deals in contract. This person will help with your files, with communication, with follow-up and database management so you have time to spend prospecting and focusing on gathering new opportunities.
Before I hired my first assistant, I spent time looking at my job. I made a list of all the things I did. At the top of the list I put the things I really enjoyed doing. At the bottom of the list went all the things I hated doing. So when I did hire someone, their job description was already done – they got all the things I hated doing. For most of you that will be the details and follow-up but for others it could be the marketing and prospecting.
As you get beyond the first hire, you’ll want to continually refine what you need. You’ll be able to pass more responsibility to others. Building an effective team allows you to focus on your strengths but it isn’t simply placing a warm body in a seat. Teams are only as good as their leaders. Leaders are only good if they have a clear vision – they know what activities and results need to be measured, they know what needs to be accomplished, and they’ve provided the team with a roadmap on how to get there. Leaders have built the foundation for their business and they communicate it.
Being a visionary isn’t the only requirement of a leader. You also must be able to manage people. You should set guidelines and measure performance. You must deal with personnel issues. If you’re not a leader in this sense of the word, if you identify that your strengths are in opportunity creation and not day-to-day supervision, then hire someone who has the leadership skills to get things done. It should be someone you respect, will be willing to listen to, and has the ability to hold others accountable.
Not Just Any Team – the Right Team
Make sure that you hire the right people. Vet them ahead of time. Ask them what their goals are. Don’t hire anyone you think won’t be with you for more than two to three years. You won’t even start to see any benefit from the hire until about six months in after you’ve spent time training and investing in them. Some of the best lessons I’ve learned is building teams are:
- Fire people fast if they aren’t a good fit. Negative energy spreads.
- Have very defined roles with metrics and results attached so you can make good long-term decisions.
- Believing that a team can take away your stress is nonsense. You should master what you’re doing by yourself before you should feel comfortable bringing in new people.
- It is better to build small and to dial in who you are and what you’re doing than to look for somebody to come in and rescue you.
- You will never escape the responsibility of owning your customer’s experience or building your brand. You must own your team’s mistakes like you made them yourself. Inspecting their work and continuously training and supporting them are the only ways you will thrive.
- Continue to build your process and roles and responsibilities. Learn from every deal so you reduce any potential mistakes or delays that may occur during the process.
- If you blame them for issues or treat them poorly or inconsistently, they will leave. For them it is a job and they can find a better one so treat them well.
- Identify what makes them feel appreciated and praise them often. I love The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace, by Gary Chapman and Paul White as a reference to help ensure they are getting their needs met.
You will not be able to take your business to the next level without letting go of something and building a team. Just be prepared and have a good business plan to share with them so everyone knows what part they play in the team’s success.