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How to Organize Your Brokerage

May 25, 2015

The complex transactions and multi-layered work of commercial real estate often lend themselves to a team approach. We all use experts to facilitate our work, and many brokers are finding that it’s efficient to have a group assembled that expertly covers all the commercial real estate bases for their clients.  

By creating a brokerage team, you can tap into the strengths of your colleagues and combine your talents to reach your goals. Some teams are just a partnership between two brokers who find that they work well together and have complementary skills. Others are teams of several people in a firm, each with a role to play in the start-to-finish process.

In a 2013 presentation, Ralph Spencer of SIOR mentions several key support roles in a brokerage team:

  • Financial analysis
  • Research
  • Marketing
  • Administrative assistance

He goes on to divide the role of the broker into 3 major functions:

Find: Identifies opportunities that fit the team
Win: Contacts clients and pursues projects
Fulfill: Closes transactions and ensures client satisfaction

Many commercial real estate professionals find that they excel in one or more of the roles above, but there is usually at least one aspect of the job that’s not an ideal fit – whether for their personality or their expertise. This is where working on a team can become an advantage.  Three big reasons to form a brokerage team are: improved customer service, productivity, and job satisfaction. This can create a more attractive work environment for brokers that also helps them move toward market dominance. Managers see teams as an excellent driver of growth for the firm, and clients will be drawn to the unique service available from a coordinated team.

To function in this way, the team must be formed deliberately and thoughtfully. Formulate a business plan and create a team operating agreement to ensure that all members agree on goals and procedures.  It’s important to know the strengths and priorities of each member upfront, so they are positioned to play to their strengths.

As the team moves forward, watch out for these common causes of team dysfunction, identified by Spencer:

Absence of trust - team members hesitate to ask for help, conceal their mistakes.
Fear of conflict - members ignore controversial topics; fail to tap into member perspectives.
Lack of commitment - ambiguous about direction and priorities, lots of second-guessing.
Avoiding accountability - miss deadlines, team leader bears the burden for discipline.
Inattention to results - easy to become distracted; decreases competitive edge.

Brokerage teams have becoming increasingly widespread in recent years. This is mostly thanks to increased mobility and connectivity. Support staff can be in one location while brokers can work in the field and have 24/7 access to the team. There’s no doubt that a well-designed brokerage team can be quite successful. Considering all of the advantages of teamwork, why would you do it any other way?


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 52 Commercial Real Estate Data Services

Topics: Best Practices

The Apto Team

Written by The Apto Team

Apto, the commercial real estate software company, is the #1 CRM and deal management platform for commercial real estate brokers, with more paid users than any other service. Apto was built by and for brokers to help them manage contacts, properties, listings and deals from anywhere, on any device. Apto customers include thousands of independent brokers around the world, as well as multinational brokerages CBRE, JLL, NKF, Cushman & Wakefield and others. Headquartered in Denver, Apto is one of the fastest-growing private companies in the U.S., as ranked by Inc. magazine three years in a row.

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