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The Agent Count Model Doesn’t Work For Real Estate Teams

If you want to see your team implode after a few years, focus on filling seats with anyone who can breathe, Jeff Glover writes. Here’s why the agent count model simply doesn’t work for building a profitable team.

If you’re gonna hand me the mic, I’m gonna say it: You can’t build a long-term, sustainably profitable team following the agent count model.

Now, you can certainly build a brokerage this way, but not a team that’s in it for more than a quick hit in success. Someone shared with me a video from a competitor that literally said, out loud on Facebook Live, “Our criteria for hiring is if they are breathing or not.”

Are you kidding me? You want to see your team implode after a few years of quick-hit success, follow that strategy, and better yet, broadcast it on social media for all of your agents to hear what you intend to surround them with.

So why’s it OK to follow that model for a brokerage but not a team?

Well, if you run a brokerage, the things that are important to agents are different from agents on teams. Most brokerages today are forced to follow a “recruit first” model because their margins are so thin, and the only way to increase profits, with shrinking margins, is to increase agent count.

I get that, and I use that model in my brokerages as well. Most brokerage agents are used to it and don’t care who you hire, so long as they are getting value for what they are paying you for, they look the other way. 

However, teams are different. Those agents want and expect more. They want you and your environment, your services, your support, your marketing, all of that, to be better, and heck, they are paying more for it, so they deserve it. Otherwise, they’d join a brokerage.

Teams have the unique ability to instill standards, have structure and use accountability in areas where brokerages can not. Teams should not be revolving doors. They should be a place that fosters top production because you have top producers who are in it for the long haul, not just to get some “good” training for a few years.

Quit surrounding your people with ducks when they are eagles. And if you aren’t attracting eagles, it’s time to take a step back and evaluate your entire business model. Starting with yourself.

Why? Because one day you will wake up and your top producers will be forced out because they don’t want to be surrounded by losers, posers and non-productive people that so many of you bring on to your teams. There’s a saying that’s been around for a bit: The quality will show up in the quantity. There is absolute truth to that, and you want to know what else is true?

In 20 years of doing this — and 18 of those in brokerage and team leadership — the quantity will also push out the quality, and I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to wake up one day with a team of a bunch of dead weight. I want to surround myself with the best so they force me to be better and force us to continue hiring top leaders and talent, which further drive production and profitability.

You see, making recruiting your sole focus is the lazy way out. Sure, it takes a ton of effort to recruit, and I am not saying you shouldn’t be involved in recruiting activities each and every day. What I am saying is give more attention to building up your leaders, your people, your systems, your culture — all the things that would cause someone to love their life with you — and get these in order first before hiring anyone who can fog a mirror.

Jeff Glover is the founder of Live Unreal Companies, the parent company of several real estate-related businesses including the No. 1 homeselling team in Michigan, real estate brokerages consisting of over 600 agents, a homebuying mobile phone app and is also the No. 1 producing real estate coach in the country, selling over 100 homes annually in the last decade.

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