Why? Genetics, that’s why. Fortunately, these days we have a dozen personality tests to tell you what you could have learned by watching a few episodes of the A-Team – everyone has their role to play.
Recently many Commercial Real Estate (CRE) Brokerages across the world have realized this and have developed a method of operation to take advantage of this fact. It’s called “Teaming”. (Yes, it’s another corporate buzzword. Add it to the list. e.g. “Synergy”, “Stovepipe”, “Core Competency”, “Swim Lanes”, etc. Want more?)
According to one definition, Teaming is:
“Two or more draft animals harnessed to the same vehicle or implement.”
While this may sound like an accurate description on some Mondays, perhaps we find a better definition from BusinessDictionary.com:
“A group of people with a full set of complementary skills required to complete a task, job, or project.
Team members (1) operate with a high degree of interdependence, (2) share authority and responsibility for
self-management, (3) are accountable for the collective performance, and (4) work toward a common goal and shared
rewards(s). A team becomes more than just a collection of people when a strong sense of mutual commitment creates
synergy, thus generating performance greater than the sum of the performance of its individual members.”
The last line is the most important – “Generating performance greater than the sum of the performance of its individual members.” While this may seem like a simple enough concept, historically, Commercial Real Estate has not been a team sport. Each Agent was expected to generate leads, win business, execute the business, overcome objections and close the deal, and handle all the administrative minutiae that comes with a complex transaction. While all Agents should be able to do all of these things successfully, can they do all of them with the same degree of competence, enthusiasm, and efficiency?Generating performance greater than the sum of the performance of its individual members. Click To Tweet
Certain personalities are more inclined to certain segments of the deal cycle. This is where Teaming comes in. Theoretically, if Agents only conduct the facet that they are most proficient with, the entire team will inherently be more efficient and productive than if each Agent tried to conduct all facets of the deal cycle on their own.
BEST. TEAM. EVER.
What does this look like? There are a million different models, but let’s use the A-Team Model for the sake of simplicity:
1. Face Man. Your outgoing, hand kissing, baby shaking Agent. They attend functions, make calls, have lunch or drinks (not necessarily in that order). They generate leads, win clients and get deals. That’s all they do. Why? Because they hate paperwork.
2. Hannibal. Your solutions and negotiations Agent. Creative, aggressive. Improvise, adapt, overcome. Doesn’t hate people, doesn’t love paperwork. They negotiate the contract, deal with objections, and ultimately bring the Hatfields and McCoys to terms. That’s all they do. Why? Because they aren’t quite as friendly as A, and yet they don’t love paperwork either.
3. B.A. Baracus. Your nuts and bolts Agent. Possibly introverted. Likes schedules. Hates surprises. Keeps you out of trouble with your friendly neighborhood Real Estate Commission. Gently reminds you to attend the closing (“I pity the fool.”) Ensures you get a 5% fee, and not a .005% fee. That’s all they do. Why? They hate people. Or they are shy. Or violent. Or both.
Yes, some people are a combination of the above three. Murdock, perhaps? The key is to determine which people on your team are best suited for each facet of the business, and focus them on that.
I’M WORTH MY WEIGHT IN GOLD.
Pay is a key issue in Teaming. What is each position worth to the deal? Is it an even split across the board? Always?
Does Face Man, who only brings in the deal get paid less? True, he or she only participates at the onset, but without Face, there would be no deal at all.
What about Hannibal? Shouldn’t Hannibal, who is arguably doing most of the heavy lifting during the deal be rewarded with the lion’s share of the fee? “Sorry, I know it’s Midnight. I was going to call you during normal business hours, but… Hey, do you think we should ask for a $100 concession because someone scraped some of the yellow paint off the curb in the parking lot? Due Diligence ends in 30 days and I was just wondering…”
And what of B.A.? If your idea of a good time is 400 pages thick and says “Tolstoy” on the cover, you may thoroughly enjoy this position, but many of us (read: me) do not. Keeping the team on track is a must. That, in and of itself, has value. Not to mention those pesky “inadvertent minor changes” to the contract terms at the final hour. (“I pity the fool!”) What’s catching something like that worth?
Many CRE Teams have gone as far as to delineate all of their Team member’s responsibilities in a contract, along with fee structures. Why? With a three-person team that all gets along, a contract may be unnecessary. But what if one of the team members slacks off? What if communication begins to wane? What if the team of 3 suddenly becomes the team of 30? I’m not suggesting it’s necessary for all teams, but there is a reason the Prenup exists.
Are there 10 million other ways to form a CRE Team? Sure. I’d like to hear about how you have done it. Share your thoughts and experiences. Remember, “If you have a problem… if no one else can help… and if you can find them… maybe you can hire… The A-Team.”
Follow me at @CBCJP
Image Courtesy of “Business People Shows Businesspeople Office And Businesswoman” by Stuart Miles FreeDigitalPhotos.net