Top 10 Mistakes to Avoid When Building a Team

Kevin Kauffman and Fred Weaver are the co-founders of one of the nation’s most successful real estate teams and companies, Group 46:10 Network. Training-focused, fast-paced, technology-driven, 46:10 has been recognized as one of the top 250 real estate teams in the nation, year after year. While the average real estate agent sells around 6 houses per year, this team has a group of specialists who sell more than one house a day, ranking them in the top 1% of all real estate agents in the United States! But, it hasn’t always been easy.

After their team imploded in 2012, Fred and Kevin were left with a crippled business and no idea how to rebuild. They did it anyway, and learned a lot along the way. At BoomTown Unite, they took the stage to present their findings, and we’ve detailed their top “don’ts” when building a team for success:


Underestimate How Long Things Take & How Much They Will Cost

Kevin and Fred created what they called the “perfect plan.” They had talked to others in the industry about how they had created success, given themselves clear timelines and goals, and were ready to start seeing results.

Unfortunately, they had fooled themselves into thinking things would move quickly and easily towards success. They may have indeed created the “perfect plan,” but didn’t anticipate roadblocks.  And yes, there were many roadblocks and lots of failure along the way.

Goals are critical to real estate success, but setbacks are inevitable. When you hit a wall (and alas, you will), bounce back and be agile.

  • Continue writing down the small tasks you need to complete each day to get you to your weekly, monthly, and bigger goal.
  • Know the plan if something gets in the way, and keep it simple.
  • Take advantage of technology to help you time block. Use quiet space to knock out your task as soon as possible.
  • If you see yourself start to slip, evaluate what is causing this, and create a trigger that will keep you on track. This could be as simple as a phone reminder or a calendar invite.
  • Determine if it’s time to delegate.

Have a $hitty Training Program

As new employees were hired, Fred and Kevin were faced with the exhausting task of training them and getting them ramped up with their mission, systems, expectations, what-have-you. They took things case-by-case, and didn’t have a set training curriculum.

This meant reproducing lessons and onboarding processes over and over again. Haphazard knowledge-sharing, and very little consistency. 

They knew it wasn’t working, so they hired a consultant, and as Fred explained “paid someone a lot of money to tell us we needed a training program.”

It can take months for agents to close a deal once they’ve joined your team. With more intensive and strategic training from the get-go, you can hopefully shorten this time frame. From mastering the systems that you use to aligning with your business goals – a formal training curriculum will lay the foundation for your team’s future performance.

As Kevin has learned, “new hires need coaching and accountability on top of any training curriculum.  When you say “I wanna scale” whatever that looks like to you, you have to have a consistent onboarding and training program.

The current program at 46:10 is an intensive onboarding curriculum that leverages learning automation software to help new hires stay on track and complete all the necessary training. It doesn’t stop there though.


Think You Are Great at Hiring and Can Spot Talent Easily

We all are susceptible to thinking we know how to scout out top talent and nail the hiring process. This is a relationship business after all!

The resume looks great, the candidate whizzed through the industry and job-specific questions, so you’re confident they can perform XYZ. Good, right?

Not necessarily. After many many hires (and attempted hires) Kevin knows otherwise.

“It doesn’t work this way. If it does work. You’re lucky, and it won’t continue. It’s something you have to spend time getting good at. It can’t be just ‘going with your gut’ You HAVE to have a formal vetting process.”

When addressing that blurry zone of character and culture fit, how do you ensure this potential new hire will share your passions, gel with the team, drive everyone forward?

At BoomTown we conduct a series of  “culture interviews.” A casual conversation-centered sit down with some folks in various positions in the company. They get to know the candidate on a more personal level, ask some questions to seek out their values, and share their thoughts on the “fit” for each person.

Implement a vetting process that will get more team members involved, more casual conversations, open discussions of values, and don’t hurry!

Make Little-to-No Investment in Systems, Tech, and People

When you hire the right talent, you must fuel them with the right compensation and empower them with the right technology partner.

“You have to invest and build on a great system, people, etc. Don’t cut corners and nickel and dime here. You have to see it as an investment and not a cost.”

This means compensating your team members appropriately. It means not relying on a piecemeal system of sticky notes and whiteboards, but investing in tools and technology and a system to handle it all. Otherwise, your people and your processes won’t deliver the growth you want.

Forget to Track the Metrics that Drive your Business

“Appointments set. Contract signed. I’m constantly shocked that people have no idea how their team is performing! It’s crucial to track and understand it a a higher level.”

When you have an intelligent CRM that work with your website, you can eliminate the guesswork on tracking every metric in your business and your team’s performance from a single centralized reporting function. This means you can see what’s working and when it’s time to change course, and you can make better decisions, faster.

Try to be Perfect and Avoid Making Mistakes

In 2014, Fred and Kevin traveled to visit Ben Kinney’s office and see how they were operating their business. They found themselves walking through the office picking apart some of the systems and processes. They noted how they would be doing things differently. 

It then occurred to us that in fact they were not doing things “wrong.” Their production was 2x what ours was. Ben and his team were OK with taking risks. They were OK with making bigger mistakes because they could lead to bigger and bolder things.

Sometimes your idea or your plan won’t work, but it’s all about testing, trying and failing forward. If you work to constantly maintain the status quo, you’ll never see the growth you want.

Have a Calendar that Doesn’t Promote Success

Not reaching goals?

Not getting your key tasks accomplished?

Not moving to the next level?

According to Fred and Kevin, your calendar is probably crap.

“Show me on your calendar where your priorities are. You have to commit to the calendar and commit to your business. Don’t make it too tightly scheduled, but pick your biggest priorities and TIME BLOCK. Create a calendar that promotes success no matter what your role is. Ask to see your team members’ calendars. Some only work on what’s most urgent in the moment.”

When people decide exactly when, where, and how they will fulfill their goals, they create a link in their brains between a certain situation or cue and the behavior that should follow. “If or when X happens, then I will do Y” This helps to establish powerful triggers for action. You have to strategically structure your time to reach your real estate goals.

Place too Much Emphasis on Early Success or New Things

New hires that are going to be rockstars.

New shiny toys that are going to change your business.

A new mantra that will surely take your team to the next level.

A new idea that saw success right out of the gates.

Celebrate wins, for sure, but Fred and Kevin warn that you definitely want to stay away from putting labels on things too quickly, focusing too much attention on something that only deserves a trial period, or abandoning tried and true strategies for something another team has used to succeed. 

Spend Time Getting Ready to Get Ready

Too often we’re trying to be too perfect with what we’re rolling out.

This is how you start talking yourself out of growing. You become too afraid of failure. What I can tell you is that you’re lying to yourself if you think there’s a state of mind that exists where you’re perfectly happy with everything the way it is.

The key to success is a mindset shift. Tell yourself that even though it may not be perfect, it’s a start, and you’re heading in the right direction.

Accept Minor Setbacks as a Complete Failure

It can feel completely defeating at times in real estate. There’s no solution to this, but it’s critical to remember it’s never final. Just look at how far 46:10 came from what looked like total business devastation.

Don’t give up. Shut up and fix it. Learn from you mistake. It’s easy to recognize when team members let something minor completely derail them, but team leads and owners do this too. And, as Gary Keller says, don’t ever make a big decision in a valley!

There are plenty of pitfalls to avoid when you’re building your team, and there are just as many ways to ensure your success. Powering your company with the right technology and systems is one of them. The right technology partner, like the right hire, makes you better for working with them. They share your values and will move you forward. They offer you a smart business strategy, and they back it with a proven track record, and the heart and passion to grow your business.

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