I often hear from my agents that they don’t understand why I manage.
The statement that usually follows is that they themselves think they would never want to manage real estate agents. The funny thing about that paradigm is that all of my top producers are managing other sales agents. In fact, the only way to become a top producer, no matter what type of real estate you work in, is to create leverage points in your business through your leadership of others.
So instead of looking at managers as the regulators of the coffee and bagels in the kitchen, become a student of what they do on a daily basis and view them as a resource to impart the critical management skills you’ll someday need to create a larger business, if you so choose. If you aspire to be a top producer in your niche, you’ll need to learn to manage five different groups of people: your staff, your office’s staff, your manager, junior agents you’re mentoring and other agents in your firm who are not affiliated with your team. As your office’s manager is already managing these subsets of people in your organization, it stands to reason that he or she can teach you a thing or two about creating leverage points in your business to grow it significantly beyond what you can as a sole practitioner.
Once you reach a certain point in your business, during the first couple of years, you start to understand that you can’t work any more hours; you now have to work smarter, not harder. The only way to continue to grow your business is to create greater efficiencies in your processes and to add people to help create more business opportunities for yourself. This is the point when you shift from being a lone agent working your niche to a manager of resources, other agents and your own staff.
This shift in a sales or leasing agent’s business will test his or her skills and can cause a little confusion and chaos as new skills need to be acquired and mastered along the way. I’ve seen the train go off the tracks many times when agents won’t commit to learning new skills. It sends them backward in their business. The stress of leaving your comfort zone is good if you embrace it. If you already know how to solve every problem, then you aren’t pushing the boundaries of your current skills and knowledge. Finding your way is central to the learning process, so don’t turn back; push onward.
All top producers, no matter what niche of the real estate business they focus on, are skilled managers. As you’re building your business, don’t just focus on your sales skills, learn how to manage resources, create an appropriate staff architecture for your specialty and, most important of all, become a leader of others. Without these skills, becoming a top producer in your field will be a long and difficult journey.