Juggling the responsibilities of selling with growing a real estate team is no easy feat, especially for high-powered agents who handle much of their team’s lead generation and sales activities.
Melanie Giglio-Vakos, a real estate professional with Jameson Sotheby’s International Realty, can attest to the trials and tribulations of building the ideal team. She heads the company’s MVP Team, which is currently composed of seven real estate professionals.
A balancing act
Staying on top of the demands of running a competitive real estate business with managing the recruiting necessary to meet that growth is an ongoing challenge. Giglio-Vakos is never above the fray. “I’m constantly working on the team and making sure everything is quality controlled, and making sure that everybody’s doing their best,” she says. “But then, I also have to work in the business, as well.”
For Giglio-Vakos and her team, it’s all about shared calendars and time management systems. She says she relies heavily on her calendar to help her budget her time, and shares that calendar with her team. That may seem like an obvious tip, but she notes that there are other advantages, like letting agents know when it’s appropriate to reach out to her for assistance and when they should sit tight.
Expectations up front
When vetting prospective team members, Giglio-Vakos says she looks for a professional who has the team’s best interest in mind. Assessing the candidate’s motives is key. “It’s really important to have that team rapport … I do not want someone who is really out just for themselves [and] to be in it for a short period of time and then leave the team.”
Once an ideal candidate has been found, Giglio-Vakos recommends setting expectations up front and gauging how that candidate feels about the responsibilities that the position calls for. “It’s important to understand what the person’s goals are so that you can understand how well they would [fit] with the team.”
Welcoming a new team member into the fold is a hands-on operation for Giglio-Vakos. One useful technique that kills two birds with one stone is shadowing, which allows for training a new team member without distracting Giglio-Vakos from her day-to-day business.
“The first week or so, I always recommend [them] to just stay right by my side [and] to really have them try and understand all aspects of the business,” she says. “I want to make sure that my team is working with the same systems and the same type of work ethic that I have.”
Once a new team member has found their footing, Giglio-Vakos advises meeting with them constantly to evaluate their performance. She says she meets with new hires three months into their tenure to gauge how their relationship within the team is working out, and to identify areas where they can improve and make changes.
Not all business relationships can be seamless, however, and when a team leader realizes that a new hire is not the right fit, Giglio-Vakos recommends acting immediately. “Address problems early and give them a warning; if [the situation] doesn’t change, then it’s just time to let go.”