Tips to running a successful realty team

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Running a successful realty team requires time and dedication—expect a functional operation to take between three and five years—and Drew Woolcott of the REMAX Escarpment Woolcott Realty Inc. has some tips to share.

Woolcott Realty did 390 transactions in 2018, no small feat for 22-agent team, and Woolcott says the bedrock is hiring the right personnel.

“We do personality tests and we look for a mix of an A-type and a personality that’s highly socialized because you have to work together,” Woolcott told REP. “The main thing we look for is work ethic and personality tests don’t seem to test for that, unfortunately. A lot of it can be trial and error.”

Indeed, in any industry, choosing the right people is heuristic, but one facet firmly in the team lead’s control is system development. Woolcott Realty has strict protocols for its agents to adhere with audit trails, which measures progress in an effort to overcome shortcomings.

“There’s protocol in when one goes on a listing appointment, another one when an agent meets with a buyer, and a series of activities that have are done with lead that enters the building, and they’re audited by administration to make sure there’s compliance,” said Woolcott. “Let’s take a lead, for example, that comes in and is assigned to both listing and buying agents: It’s entered into a database and a plan is then formulated on that lead, which involves a series of follow-up calls, emails and mailings. The execution of that plan is audited periodically by an administration to ensure that those items are accomplished, and they aren’t then the lead is reassigned to an agent who will accomplish them.”

Agents’ progress is tracked through a goal-setting regimen. Whether it’s predicated on transaction number or financial target, the goal is broken down into individual steps that will help them accomplish what they have set out to.

“It could be number of calls, showings or listings, appointments, the number of offers or transactions one should be doing,” said Woolcott. “Then there are terms of accountability; there are forms each agent fills out every week that enumerates the steps they should be taking, and have taken, towards their goals and then we compare them to the steps they should have taken if there’s a gap between the two, so we can figure out where they’re going wrong and get them back on track.”

Woolcott Realty also generates leads for its team members, and it accomplishes that through various means. For starters, there’s time-tested advertising.

“We do a lot of billboard and print advertising, and we do a lot of online advertising too. The online advertising leads are incubated inside our sales department and when they get to the appointment stage they’re handed over to an outside agent to develop them from there. Leads that call in go directly to our agents. We have a manager who works with them on a weekly basis, coaching them and keeping them on track, as well as working with them on scripts.”

Woolcott is emphatic about the importance of advertising and his firm isn’t afraid to spend.

“We do traditional newspaper advertising, and despite popular wisdom, we find that effective,” he said.  “We also do buses, bus stops, benches, and we public our own newspaper every month that’s delivered to in excess of 60,000 people by Canada Post.”

Canvassing neighbourhoods is also another time-tested method of cultivating clients, as is open houses reign supreme, but as every agent can attest, a solid database can yield bountiful fruits.

“The vast majority of our an agent’s time is spent in our database of leads and our existing clientele,” said Woolcott. “That work accounts for some 40-50% of our business. A lot of time is spent nursing and incubating those leads.”