4 Critical Pillars of a Massively Successful Real Estate Business
Hundreds of things can impact overall business performance, but four foundational elements must be in place to support a successful real estate business.
Brett Jennings (front center), founder of Real Estate Experts, and his incredible team did $167M in total production in 2019.
Pillar 1: Ownership
“Early in your real estate business, you wear all the hats - prospecting, admin duties, marketing, sales, client care, and more. To grow, you must replace yourself in all those roles. To do that well, you have to clearly define and own each role before you delegate it.” - Brett Jennings, Founder of Real Estate Experts
It’s vital to understand the importance of ownership as a foundational element of success. In some cases, ownership is literal, as in, ‘I am the owner and founder of a business.’ However, in many cases, ownership takes on a different iteration.
When you own something, you’re driven to achieve goals that illustrate your success. Most importantly, you’re personally affected by the outcomes created as a direct result of your efforts - good or bad. If the outcome is good, a strong owner will figure out how to duplicate the things that worked to achieve even better results next time. When they aren’t as favorable, good owners learn, adjust, adapt, and evolve.
So how does this work within a real estate business?
● All employees need to own their roles and results.
From administrative professionals to team leads, every employee on your team must be willing to own their role. Whether that means being held accountable to a specific prospecting or sales quota or being responsible for turning things around within a particular time frame, it's critical to establish measurable key performance indicators.
● Leaders need to own responsibility for effectively guiding their team(s).
For those in a leadership position, personal goals must be met, but you’re also held accountable for successfully managing a team. Leaders must ensure that roles for every member of their team are thoroughly defined and expectations are clearly set, so employees know how to be successful. Holding yourself accountable to strategic growth goals also allows you to decrease business risk and build wealth.
Building a team of owners, and weeding out those who don’t hold up their end of the bargain, will allow you to create an environment made up of strong performers, poised for long-term growth.
Pillar 2: Growth
“Early in my career, it was fail fast, fail forward, and fail often. You don't grow without failure.” - Nicole Lopez, founder of True Houston.
Embracing the power of growth is necessary to reach new milestones, overcome plateaus, and meet and exceed growth goals. Being satisfied with the status quo breeds a stagnant business - the killer of success. That’s why members of a real estate team who are not motivated to continually improve, enhance, and grow their business are destined for mediocrity at best.
To truly succeed, accountability has to be a priority throughout your organization. Employees, leaders, and executives must all be equally dedicated to achieving common goals, and your goals must be reasonable. It’s easy to go way off the rails by setting unrealistic or unattainable goals, but it’s important to resist the urge.
Aggressive goals are fine, but it’s critical to make sure the goals that are set for your organization aren’t setting your team members up for failure. To properly set obtainable goals, evaluate the time, resources, and prior performance of your teams, and use the SMART goals acronym to plot your path. SMART stands for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-based. Here’s a free worksheet you can use to get started.
Pillar 3: Value
“We’ve always known that setting ourselves apart in San Francisco’s booming real estate market requires being smarter and working harder. Understanding how tech professionals think and knowing what they want cuts out wasted time and allows us to meet and exceed their expectations.” - Kevin Gueco, founder of Kinoko Real Estate
As a business leader, you must be able to define and deliver the unique value you and your business bring to the table. Building a one-of-a-kind team that provides premium service allows you to fill a consumer need that’s in high demand. But what, exactly, does ‘unique value’ mean? It depends on the context, but generally, it means one or both of the following:
● You’re servicing a niche market of buyers and sellers, meaning you work with exclusive clientele who require an exceptional level of service and expertise.
● You’re in an upper echelon of real estate agents, due to your years of experience, volume, reputation in the community, or other credentials that set you apart from competitors and allow you to deliver the best result.
In either case, you have an uncommon value proposition to offer that’s built from your years of experience and proven track record of success. It’s critical to be able to define exactly what makes you different and valuable and to communicate it through your marketing to build new and referral business.
Pillar 4: Productivity
“We average about 300 transactions a year with only five agents, so as you can imagine, our process has to be super streamlined and organized to be successful. My best advice is to find a process that works and use it consistently - don’t try to reinvent the wheel! Also, have emotion in face-to-face interactions, but treat each transaction as a transaction. Go through your checklist, step-by-step, and if something goes wrong, systematically troubleshoot using yes or no questions. Over time, you'll have a straightforward solution to pretty much anything that could come up along the way.” - Nicole Solari, founder of Level Up Realty
Consistent productivity is an art, and it takes time to master. Anyone who has ever worked in a high-volume office knows that it’s very easy to find yourself experiencing “death by a thousand papercuts.” If you don’t have an efficient, streamlined process in place to manage day-to-day tasks and procedures, you’ll regularly find your time being eaten up by menial work.
Being able to prioritize, selectively commit to projects, accurately predict product scope and timelines, and effectively assign the appropriate number of resources to a project will serve you well. Better yet, enlisting the help of specialized support staff and technology tools that dramatically reduce the burdens of commonly dreaded projects is extraordinarily valuable.
To achieve this, it’s essential to identify areas of pain and make an effort to address each one within your means. Whether that means something as simple as identifying tech tools that better support your objectives, or something as drastic as considering a completely different career opportunity - it’s up to you to lead the charge.
Take the time to evaluate whether or not the four pillars outlined above (ownership, growth, value, and productivity) exist in your business today. If there are gaps, brainstorm ways to incorporate these core values into your business. If you feel confident you have a good foundation in place, examine each pillar closely and identify any opportunities for improvement. Making it a goal to revisit these pillars on a quarterly basis and setting SMART goals that help you continually improve will put you on track for long-term, scalable growth.
If you’re looking for guidance on any of the above (or are interested in learning about how you can own a real estate business without having to operate a brokerage), our top agent advisors are available to help.