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Team Lead Generation, Part One September 19th, 2016 | Posted in General Real Estate, Other Interests, Real Estate

If you have ever heard Walter Sanford speak in a conference, you already know that he places a high value on unpaid team members.  We’ll cover this topic of unpaid team members in a two-part blog today and tomorrow.

Having a team approach in real estate allows you to look bigger and provide a greater perceived value without increasing your overhead.  Presenting the team concept at your listing presentation will allow you to eliminate many other expensive services.  In the context of generating leads, your team is the most important asset you have.

Teams have been misunderstood in real estate since I was one of the originators of the idea in the late 70s.  At that time, having a helper was almost unheard of in real estate.  I was brought before the standards and practices committee and ethics committee to make certain that I was not violating any rules or codes of conduct.  Though my assistant was given very mediocre job duties, it was still a huge departure from the norm.

As other top producers saw that I could use a paid team member to complete many of my daily menial tasks, they began to copy the system.  Soon, there were agents who had assistants for almost every duty in the office!  The problem with this assistant-crazy philosophy is you (the rainmaker) do not make any money.  The right balance of profitability and size must be achieved.

I have always been very strict regarding when a team member should be added.  I believe that a paid assistant should only be included after these steps have been followed:

  1. You have created system manuals on each of your duties so these tasks can be easily delegated.
  2. You have delegated as many tasks to technology as possible. These tasks include drip mailings, database manipulation, and service fulfillment.
  3. You have set guidelines on the tasks that you will never do and the tasks that you will rarely do:
  4. Never make a house call to a buyer
  5. Rarely ever accept a listing where you have to be present for showings
  6. Being present for inspections
  7. Spend the complete closing time with the client or trying to eliminate the step altogether
  8. All of the other silly operations that we do in real estate that waste our time and keep us from more profitable, client-fulfilling activities
  9. You have delegated as many operations of the sale as possible to the client.
  10. You have had your family join your team to handle some of the most mundane activities and even light lead generation.
  11. You have asked your unpaid affiliates, such as lenders, home warranty representatives, escrow officers, pest control staff, hazard management staff, title representatives, and all of the other various affiliates who make their living from your work with buyers and sellers.


Many agents skip directly to the paid assistant.  This is a HUGE mistake, especially if you do not already have systems and manuals in place.  It is also a mistake in having an assistant do tasks that should not be done in the first place.

One of the early steps I take with my coaching clients is ensuring that their systems are set correctly to maximize profitability.  Only then, do we add assistants as lead generation systems go wanting or the agent is burnt out in some aspect of the business.

Before we get into joint lead generation systems with your affiliates, I would like to talk about buyer’s agents, which we fully cover in our book Buyer Net Profit.  After a top agent selects a transaction coordinator who likes to do transaction coordination more than they like to generate leads, the next high-overhead, low-lead producing assistant that is hired is usually a buyer’s assistant.  This is done often out of complete frustration by the agent.

Here is what normally follows: buyer’s agent usurps all of the agent’s very best, easy-to-close clients, therefore making a decent living with little or no work.  This buyer’s assistant is normally paid about half of the transaction.  The agent and rainmaker absorb the overhead, thus only netting an amount close to a referral fee.  Referring out the buyer would be a less expensive option due to the lack of time involved in a referral.

Hiring assistants is the fastest way to lose time in management and increase your overhead, unless it is done correctly.  The theme of this two-part blog is to educate, enlighten, and make you aware that you need to have the foundational aspects of your business in order.  This can be done by creating system manuals and having as many unpaid participants as possible, until you just cannot handle it any longer and feel that a paid assistant must be hired.  Please remember however that this assistant, when hired for transaction coordination, must be depended upon to produce enough leads to become a profitable business decision.

…and that was just the back story for us to get to the REAL heart of the matter tomorrow!  Stay tuned.  Come back to visit us tomorrow for the rest of the blog on unpaid team members.

Lead generation is what builds your business and keeps your pipeline full, no matter what the market says!  Grow Your Leads: Just Add Wa(l)ter is a hefty book full of detailed and complete prospecting systems, and it includes the data CD (digital copy).  This is also a great manual for an assistant.

Call 800.792.5837 and ask for the $50 blog special on Grow Your Leads: Just Add Wa(l)ter.  Check out the content details here:

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