Side’s AgentBoss Recap: Use the DiSC Profile to Build a Real Estate Dream Team
Some of our most successful Side partner agents have been generous enough to host AgentBoss learning sessions at real estate events throughout the year. During each presentation, agents share detailed insight on how they’re building incredible success. This series will provide actionable advice on mission-critical topics shared during these sessions.
At Inman Connect Las Vegas 2019, we hosted several AgentBoss Learning Labs, one of which focused on how to structure your business like a CEO. Run by powerhouse agents Nicole Solari, Founder of Level Up Realty, and Brett Jennings, Founder of Real Estate Experts, this session was a goldmine of information for top agents looking for advice on how to scale, grow, hire the best people, and acquire top rankings in their market. Solari grew her business to over $120 million in annual home sales in less than five years, and Jennings grew from $10 million to over $165 million in annual home sales last year.
So how do you structure your business so you can get to that level of success?
Solari and Jennings recommend several critical initiatives:
1. Identify your leadership style and build a team around it
2. Learn from mistakes and manage bad hires
3. Use the DiSC profile to identify team members who will be a good fit
4. Build a happy productive team
1. Identify Your Leadership Style and Build Around It
It's important to understand how you function as a leader before you start hiring and building out your organization. Understanding your leadership style, identifying weaknesses, and harnessing strengths will help you determine what kind of people will be collaborative, positive additions to your team. So the big question to ask when you turn the lens to yourself is, what kind of a leader are you?
The Difference Between Leading and Managing
Solari said, "I tried really hard to be a good manager. What I found is that I'm a great leader, and I think a lot of people get the two confused. They think, 'Oh, I'm a really good manager because I tell everybody what to do, and they do it really well.' I wasn't able to do that."
Solari says she found her strength in leading by example, rather than telling other people what to do. To play to her strengths, Solari focused on defining her company's core values and building a powerful mission statement. These foundational elements gave her a great starting point in her efforts to make sure everyone on her team had the same mindset and was supporting the same goals.
Jennings chimed in, saying he sees himself less as a visionary and more as a mentor. He said, "My role in leadership is helping people clarify a vision for what they want to create for themselves in their lives. My purpose [is to] motivate, lead, and inspire people to create a better life through real estate."
Jennings worked as a life coach for several years. During that time, he found that he's passionate about helping others identify goals, come up with a plan to get there, and overcome obstacles that pop up along the way. "It just so happens that those skills translate really well to real estate because that's what we're doing for buyers and sellers. And as I built a team, I realized, if I pour into my people like I used to with coaching, that's what I enjoy the most, and that's what gets me the best results." But it wasn’t all roses.
Becoming What Your Team Needs
After a discussion with one of his mentors, Jennings had a realization. Being impulsive, taking quick action, and continually going 110 miles per hour was causing friction with his team. He knew what he wanted to be done, but he wasn't providing clear direction.
As an up-and-comer, he had a small team, and he could move fast with few repercussions, but that's no longer the case. Jennings said, "I recognized [that] the person I was that got me to where I am isn't the person I need to be to get me to where I want to go." This breakthrough motivated him to be more thoughtful and measured in his decision-making.
Jennings has had to teach himself to have more trust in the people he hires, and to empower them to own their role. His ultimate goal? "[I want] to be able to replace myself in the business more and more, until I can become the owner of the company rather than the operator."
Solari prefers to be very much involved in production, leading by example and focusing on the big picture, while Jennings prefers to be one step removed, helping team members achieve their vision of success.
2. Learn From Mistakes and Effectively Manage Bad Hires
Solari and Jennings both admit to making bad hires throughout the years, and it’s something they’ve both learned from. More specifically, Solari learned that hiring to fill a hole and solve for a specific pain point without thinking bigger is a mistake.
Worse than being a poor fit for the role, a bad hire can threaten the culture of a company. Solari said, “One bad employee can ruin everything, and sometimes you don’t even notice it until they’re gone.” Toxic employees, especially those who are vocal and dramatic, quickly bring others down. Before you realize it’s happening, productivity - and ultimately, profitability - suffer.
Solari explains it perfectly. “It's really important to protect your culture. Your brand is essentially your reputation in the marketplace. So if you have some agent out there doing things that they shouldn't be doing that are completely unrelated to real estate, it looks bad on you, and that's your reputation.”
So how do you navigate managing a bad hire? Solari suggests living by the mantra slow to hire, quick to fire. When the situation merits quick action, opt for damage control to limit the amount of negative energy spread throughout your team. “It was really hard for me to fire someone,” Solari admits. “I felt bad. But at the end of the day, this is your business, and you can't let them bring you down.”
3. Use the DiSC Profile to Identify Ideal Team Members
Both Jennings and Solari have been leveraging the DiSC profile, which stands for dominance, influence, steadiness, and conscientiousness, to make more informed hiring decisions. The tool was designed to be a ‘non-judgmental tool used for discussion of people's behavioral difference.’
The DiSC profile helps leaders learn what each personality type is motivated by, what stresses them out, how they handle and respond to conflict, and how they tackle problem-solving. It also provides insight into each type’s overall disposition and priorities.
Having under-the-hood insight leads to better team communication and creates a collaborative work environment with an efficient conflict resolution process. In real estate, agents can also use the DiSC profile to enhance sales skills. Being able to identify and thoughtfully respond to different types of customer personalities can be extremely valuable.
Photo source; discprofile.com
DISC Profile in Action: Nicole Solari
Solari is a D-C type, meaning she’s both a driver and is systematic. In her own words, she’s “direct and wants it now, now, now -- actually yesterday.” She’s focused on accuracy and results, and to work effectively, she needs support staff and buyer’s agents who are steady and conscientious (S-C) types.
So what makes S-Cs the right fit for Solari’s team? She says, “We needed that person that is super consistent, super steady, and really humble.” This personality type is analytical and can handle the stress of working in a fast-paced environment. Perhaps most importantly, they can handle working with a strong-willed leader who has a direct personality. Solari says, “I say something, and it's like rubber bullets, it just bounces off of them.”
S-Cs allow Solari to build a harmonious team because their consistency appeases Solari’s directness, and their need for steadiness is fulfilled by the consistent business Solari brings in through her role as a driver.
DISC Profile in Action: Brett Jennings
Since Jennings has a different business structure altogether, he has a different picture of his ideal team. Jennings clarifies, “I'm looking for those people that are mid-level D’s. I find that on the DiSC profile, I'm looking for that agent I know that I can grow and develop and maybe help build and launch their own team at some point. People who are assertive and want to grow, those are your natural-born salespeople.”
So Jennings targets producers; drivers who take the reigns, own their role, and focus on meeting new milestones. But how much of a difference does it make to focus on grooming the right people? Jennings said, “We cut our headcount by 30%, and we doubled our profitability and our production. The energy and the vibe in the office was awesome.”
4. Build a Happy, Productive Team
Solari and Jennings went on to touch on a few other topics and emphasized their importance in building a balanced team.
Be slow to hire and quick to fire
Take your time finding the right fit and think big picture. Don’t make a rush hiring decision just to put out a fire. And if you do end up making a bad hire, don’t wait and hope for better days. Opt for damage control to limit the amount of negative energy spread throughout your team.
Engage your team and make them part of the hiring decision
Adding a new team member to a closely-knit team should be a committee decision. Neglecting to consider the opinions of employees who will be working with a new hire day in and day out can quickly lead to a stressful work environment.
To alleviate future issues, encourage participation in interviews and ask for candid feedback throughout the hiring process. This gives your team skin in the game and an opportunity to say thanks but no thanks if they get a bad vibe from a candidate. As a leader, be sure to listen to what your employees say and take their feedback seriously.
Manage bad hires carefully
This is as important as taking the time to make a solid hire. If other employees see an underperforming team member getting what they perceive as special treatment, negative rumblings will start making their way throughout your organization. Openly communicate with employees so they know you're aware of the situation and you’re doing something about it. When merited, give the offending employee an opportunity to improve, but if nothing changes, don't be afraid to terminate the relationship.
Fiercely protect your team culture
Once you put the time and effort into building an amazing team of people who love to come to work every day, protect that culture with everything you’ve got. A company with a great culture is something to celebrate. It’s hard to build, and it’s easy to break. Your team works insanely hard for you, return the favor by nurturing the culture they love.
Show your team that you’ve got their back
This one fits hand and hand with the point mentioned above. Nothing drives negative behavior more than fear, but a team member who feels heard and protected is a loyal, secure, happy employee. Make sure your team knows they can count on you, keep them in the loop, and have their back when stuff hits the fan. Your loyalty will be reciprocated, and you’ll be rewarded with trust and respect.
Use this actionable advice to build a perfect team and accelerate your growth.