When You Can’t Do It All
Brokers with too many balls in the air risk missing company goals.
Consider hiring a manager so you can focus on your strengths.
The first step in any self-improvement journey is admitting you
need help. This advice applies equally to the responsibilities of
running your company.
How can you determine whether you’re stretched too thin
as the person who handles every management task at your
brokerage? Here, brokers discuss some of the telltale signs
that will let you know when you’d be better off concentrating on
the tasks you do best and hiring a manager to handle the rest.
It isn’t just one event that should prompt you to consider hiring
a manager. Here are four indicators of an underperforming
company that could suggest you aren’t focusing on what’s most
important as broker-owner:
1. You’re not meeting your company’s goals. If you want to
build production or market share and aren’t accomplishing
those missions, you probably need assistance. “I need to be
growing at a rate better than the market to be ahead of my
competition,” explains David McCarthy, CRS, operating partner–
broker at the 150-salesperson Keller Williams Boston-Metro
and the 69-salesperson Keller
Williams Chestnut Hill in
2. You don’t have enough
time to consult properly
with your sales associates.
“The most important thing
you can do is realize that if you don’t
have enough time to be with your sales associates, you
need a manager,” contends Janen Ardia, executive vice
president and broker of record for the 39-salesperson
RE/MAX Heritage with offices in Flanders and Chester,
N.J. “In that case, I’d hire a manager who’s able to take over
a lot of the day-to-day issues that come up with salespeople
who need more hands-on attention. And I don’t
even mean new salespeople.
Because the market has been volatile, a lot of experienced
salespeople need more consultation.”
3. You’ve neglected big-picture work. If you spend most of
your time on day-to-day tasks like operating the office, argues
Ardia, your talents are likely being wasted. Ardia realized she
needed help when she neglected to do a quarterly review to
map out a strategic plan to improve productivity. “People
mistakenly believe moving the company up another level is
done only through recruiting,” she explains. “If I realize I’m
paying attention to too many other things—even though they’re
valid and necessary—I need to bring in someone to handle the
day-to-day coaching or training or attending to other issues, like
handling a price adjustment with a client.”
4. You’re just not able to keep up. Maybe you’re not seeing
the signals. That’s a stage of his company’s trajectory Kelly
Sweeney vividly recalls. “I remember back when we had only
100 salespeople and three offices,” says the CEO of three
Coldwell Banker companies spanning 15 offices in southeast
and western Michigan. “I had to do all the managing of the
largest office, plus the deal doctoring, recruiting and training,
and setting the strategic vision and leading the company.
There’s not enough gas in your tank to do all that effectively.”
Is a Manager the Answer?
When you recognize you need help, the question is whom to
hire. Different brokers have different selection criteria, and your
choice doesn’t have to be a manager. “It’s based on what you’re
good at and goes back to what you need.” says Sweeney. He
says he’s seen lots of successful brokerages with a selling broker,
a highly skilled administrator who runs the office swimmingly,
and no need for a manager. “That might work for a 20-to- 30–
salesperson company,” he says. “But if you have 70 salespeople,
you probably need a licensed manager to deal with all the
challenges that come up in transactions. Also, what’s your
demographic? If you have a small group of experienced
salespeople, they may not need a lot of mentoring.”
how to . . .