March 2, 2024

The following is an excerpt from SCALE: A Successful Agent’s Guide to Leveling Up Their Real Estate Business by David Greene, real estate agent and host of the BiggerPockets Real Estate Podcast.

Achieving your maximum potential without help from others is like Tony Stark taking on a supervillain without his suit of armor. Even if he figures out a way, the effort and luck required would make it unsustainable. His real superpower is his brain, which allows him to take advantage of his suit. 

Tony’s suit, like your team members, is an extension of his creative ideas and talent for design. He needs it to achieve his goals. Your team should become an extension of you. They incorporate your experiences and knowledge and manifest them into positive impacts on your business. They reduce your own weak areas and double down on your strengths. The right team amplifies your business. Conversely, the wrong team—or more specifically, the wrong team member—does the opposite. An uncaring assistant can erase the client goodwill you built up in your previous interactions. Team members who pick up on others’ negativity, resentment, or corner-cutting can easily create a work culture in which everyone does that too. If this happens, they wreak havoc on your business.

Like most things in life, what can help you can also hurt you. That’s why it’s so important for you to get the leverage component right. The best team is an extension of you, and you must build it with that in mind. Every agent has different skills and as such will need different skills in the people they hire. The order of your hires and the way your team is structured should precisely follow the model I provide. 

However, don’t hire members who are simply carbon-copy molds of another agent’s team. Consider a sports franchise, which is the best model for how to build a team. No two sports teams are the same, yet every team wants the same talented players. If it were as simple as hiring talent to overpower the opposition, the team with the most talent (and highest payroll) would always win. Yet, this isn’t the case. Time and time again, it is the team with the best chemistry that keeps winning. 

For example, the New England Patriots dominated the National Football League for twenty years. They did so with roster changes every year.

While nearly every player on the team cycled in and out, two stalwarts remained throughout the dynasty: their quarterback, Tom Brady, and their head coach, Bill Belichick. Brady and Belichick created an environment of success unlike any other sports franchise. The system worked no matter which other players were on the team. Do you think the Patriots actively hired mediocre talent? Absolutely not. They looked for the best they could find—as did every other team in the NFL. What made the Patriots different? Their culture.

Belichick and Brady have incredibly talented football minds. 

They wanted players who could amplify Brady’s strengths (e.g., he was a pocket passer) and cover for his weaknesses (e.g., he didn’t move well in the pocket). He was an easy target to sack if he held onto the ball too long, so the Patriots stacked wide receivers around Brady to help him get rid of the ball quickly. Brady ran drills with these wide receivers off-season to ensure they were where he wanted them and when he wanted them there. That means the Patriots needed players who played well together, not simply talented individuals. The Patriots actively hired the players that Brady needed around him, not just the fastest or strongest guys available from the draft or with free agent status.

We all know the combination of chemistry, communication, and the time spent getting on the same page beats raw talent any day. Real estate agents can learn a lot from this football dynasty. Your team must function the same way. As a rockstar agent, you must remain focused, be committed to excellence, and want the best players around you. Are you charismatic and influential but incredibly unorganized? Do you see leads

slipping away? This problem costs agents a lot of money. Don’t make the mistake of hiring someone like you. Hire people who can highlight your strengths and downplay your weaknesses. Are you bold and direct but bad with numbers and contractual minutiae? Then hire the person who excels in those areas. You need people who round out your abilities and can help you grow your business.

Rockstars Don’t Do It Alone

Let me start by saying you cannot be a rockstar agent by yourself. It’s not sustainable, it’s not enjoyable, and it’s definitely not efficient.

In my experience, top-producing agents cap out at fifty closed deals in a year. Most work conducted by an agent does not generate income. If you’re closing fifty deals in a year, you’re probably working with up to 150 solid leads, and that is a lot of work with no payoff. 

As with everything else, there is a point of diminishing returns in real estate where the work you are putting in no longer results in the same amount of success. When you’re spread so thin that you lose focus on putting clients in contract or following up with leads, you’re working hard but not winning.

In every real estate transaction, there are more than one hundred small steps to get to a close. If you do all but one step flawlessly, you make zero money. When an agent has too many clients and not enough help, they hit the point of diminishing returns. Adding more leads at this point only contributes to less sales. The key to avoiding this problem is not to work less but to work smarter.

Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto is credited for creating the 80/20 principle. Pareto observed that 20 percent of effort is often responsible for 80 percent of results. While this is clearly not a hard and fast rule, it helps us to understand the importance of sticking to what is most meaningful, most beneficial, and what we’re best at. Working only in our 20 percent is a battle that never ends, but it is a battle worth fighting.

Rockstar agents understand their business depends on their ability to generate leads and to  convert escrows to close. A rockstar agent’s ability to set appointments with leads and put those new clients into contract are the two most important activities for a thriving business. This means these two activities are the 20 percent that rockstar agents should focus on. If you can’t do these two things well, nobody on your team will have much to do. You’ll still have payroll costs, and you won’t be generating revenue. If you can do these things well, your team will have plenty to do to help you grow your agency.

These two skills are difficult to master, but once you can do them well, they don’t take nearly as much time to continue to do them well. The table below will help you understand the tasks you should do and the tasks you should leverage. Use this simple list for every decision on tasks.

It’s impossible to list every job a rockstar agent does, but it’s useful to understand the types of jobs you should do and the types you should leverage. This may be confusing at first, but it gets easier the more you do it. You will develop an instinct for this division of labor. The empire builder doesn’t ask, “How can I build this?” They ask, “Who can help me build it?

Read more and start scaling your real estate business today. Buy David Greene’s SCALE: A Successful Agent’s Guide to Leveling Up Their Real Estate Business here.

Note By BiggerPockets: These are opinions written by the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions of BiggerPockets.

About Author