The benefits of selling as a team

Business, Sales,  Principals,  Salespeople

Real estate has long been a profession fueled by repute, status, and personal achievement – it’s a free-for-all, dog-eat-dog world of individual competition where the best agent wins the listing and the commission. Or at least that’s how we imagine it.

In reality, this notion of individual greatness may be beginning to wane, as the idea of selling as a team rises in popularity.

According to a 2018 survey by the National Association of Realtors in the US, 26 per cent of their agents work in either a partnership or a team. This might only represent just over a quarter of all realtors, but given the status quo of individual selling, it could be dramatic – especially if that percentage continues to rise.

Frank Pike, Principal at Marsellos Pike in Morayfield, has been selling as a team for more than 30 years, and has no intention of changing that business model any time soon.

“We have just two sales agents, and we work as a team along with three assistants, who take care of things like building and pest inspections, answering enquiries, and first buyer inspections,” says Pike.

“That allows the agents – myself and the other agent, who’s been with me for 24 years – to focus on listing properties and negotiating sales.”

Pike says a major issue with the real estate sector as it is currently is that agents come into the profession having been told they’re going to be superstars, only to realise that it’s more difficult than they expected, and soon after leave the industry altogether.

The team-based model, he says, counteracts that by ensuring higher salaries, rather than relying on individual commissions.

“Something like 80 per cent of real estate agents earn less than $50,000 a year – that’s not sustainable, that’s not a good business model,” he says.

“With teams, people are on good salaries.”

Perhaps the biggest bonus of selling as a team, however, is the business stability that Pike says it brings.

“We can take holidays and know that everything’s being looked after in the office by the team,” he says.

“You get time to rest, and the business has stability.

“The other thing is that in the traditional model, fees tend to fluctuate, and so a typical client is going to look for the agent with the lowest fees, even within a business.

“The business stability is not there, which I think is another reason why a lot of salespeople leave the industry, and in my view it just makes the business pretty unstable and unprofitable.”

To drive home the team atmosphere, Marsellos Pike never include individual phone numbers on their advertising, choosing instead to only ever advertise their office contact.

“Most agents in the traditional model have got their mobile numbers on their signs, as they’re the only ones who want to take that enquiry,” says Pike.

“We meet as a team, we sell as a team, we look after each other as a team; it’s not about the individual.

“The focus is always on the customer, because that’s who pays our bills.”

Pike says the team format is starting to be embraced by larger agencies, but the key difference is that they tend to have multiple teams within a business, rather than running the entire branch as a single team.

He adds that the team model can work whether you’re selling real estate in a rural area, a central business district, or anywhere in between.

“Although there are some different dynamics in the marketplace, it’s still the marketplace, and the team concept can work in any market,” says Pike.