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Letting Go, Finding the Right Fit and Taking the Time to Train

Potty trainingLast week, I defined a TEAM as any two or more people working together to accomplish more together than one person can accomplish alone. Since there are so many examples of teams, I am not focusing on one way but the principals involved that will apply to any size or shape.

Letting Go

REALTORS like to be in control. Letting go and trusting people to perform and treat your clients the way you do is not easy.However, it is possible. You can not be everywhere and do everything if your business is going to continue to grow. Something will suffer, your marriage, your family, your health, or your clients.

Knowing your strengths and weaknesses and what you love to do is important when you begin to realize you need help. I am not a detailed person but more of a “big picture” person.  So I hire to my weakness which is a person who enjoys all the little details.

When I hear agents complain they are over-whelmed, I encourage them to hire someone to help them even if it is part time.

What I often hear is, “I can do it faster myself.”

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Yes, you probably can do it faster but all those little ‘faster myself’ tasks add up.

Trust & Training

When you first hire your new assistant you have high expectations the person will do a good job.  However they can only fulfill your expectations if you invest in training.

Training a new person takes a tremendous amount of work. You cannot expect a new team member to automatically know how to do what you do according to your standards and objectives without training them.

Some agents in my offices over the years, played Russian Roulette with all the assistants they keep going through. What I saw after observing this for years was the problem was not the new person but the REALTOR not spending the time in the beginning to train them.

The Right Fit

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I got lucky when I hired my first assistant, as Gary Keller had yet to write The Millionaire Real Estate Agent and I went with a “gut” feeling.  We worked together for the next 16 years. The next assistant I hired was very competent, and had previously been a assistant on a local real estate team, so I “assumed” very little training would be necessary.

Boy was I wrong.

Over the years, I have learned to use the online DISC test before hiring any team members, but because of this persons prior experience I neglected this.  The DISC is a diagnostic test that reveals insights into a person’s personality.

If and when there is something wrong on a team, everyone knows on the team knows it. If you as the team leader put off dealing with it, you will risk loosing the respect of the whole team.

Letting someone go, is not easy for me. It is not in my nature to hurt people but I had to step up and do it for the benefit of the whole team.

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Immediately, the joy and synergy of the team came back.

Empowering Them

Every person on a team needs to feel valued. If you are micro-managing  (note the operative word here is micro and not managing) a team member and not allowing them to excel in their strengths they feel insecure, unsure and unfulfilled.

If you hire the right person, and train them properly, let them go and empower them they will take pride in their work and know they are a valuable asset to the team.  You will be free to do the activities in real estate you love and will have more time for your family and personal life.

Building a team takes a tremendous amount of work.  The key things to remember out of this post:
1)    Hire the right person
2)    Train them properly
3)    Let them do their jobs, manage but don’t micr0-manage

Flickr Photo Credit

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Written By

Written by Missy Caulk, Associate Broker at Keller Williams Ann Arbor. Missy is the author of Ann Arbor Real Estate Talk and Blog Ann Arbor, and is also the Director for the Ann Arbor Area Board of Realtors and Member of MLS and Grievance Committee's.



  1. Erica Ramus

    March 15, 2010 at 9:27 pm

    Good post Missy. I have a problem delegating still. And when I do delegate and something is not done right or to my standards…. well I hate it. I also hate letting someone go. Big sigh.

  2. Ken Brand

    March 15, 2010 at 10:11 pm

    There’s a thirst for candid, here’s how it is, experience and perspective. This is a great share, thanks.

  3. Missy Caulk

    March 15, 2010 at 10:21 pm

    Erica, I think most REALTORS, independent contractors struggle with it. But, when you find the right person it really is very freeing.

    Ken, 🙂

  4. Jim Gatos

    March 17, 2010 at 6:28 am

    Genius.. This article is simply genius… Any of my future team mates start to argue with me, and I’ll show them the picture of the little girl in the “potty”… LOL

  5. Erion Shehaj

    March 17, 2010 at 11:47 am

    Hi Missy

    I would be curious to know how you go about hiring someone more in detail. Do you usually go for people that are referred to you, classified ads, both?

    I’ve always found hiring the right people, one of the hardest real estate tasks in my career.

    Thanks for sharing this.

  6. Missy

    March 17, 2010 at 12:03 pm

    Erion, most of the time they find me. One of my newest buyer agents called me up and begged. Seriously…I told her ok, we can try it for 3 months. She has done fabulous!

    One time I went through our MLS Agent Roster, and picked out agents who were selling 2-3 million a year and sent them a letter. An agent responded, I interviewed her, had her take the DISC, went over how we do lead generation and she joined. Turns out she doesn’t love calling the leads, as she said her stomach ties up in knots. But, she is still one the team.
    Another buyer agent on my team converts them for her and gets a 200.00 or upwards amount when it closes. So it worked.

    Two other buyer agents were referred to me.

    One was a past client.

    I have not run a craigslist ad. Getting ready to blog on hiring another one, and see if that pops. I’ll let ya know how that works out.

    I do know agents that have used craigslist to hire Assistants and of the 120 responses she received, most were engineers and/or way over qualified.

    I really love the DISC test and as you can see from my post, when I failed to use it, it was a big opps.

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