BreakAway Agent Podcast Episode #10 with John Ellis from Keller Williams Northwest Montana Realty

How Team Leaders Use Systems To Find and Train The Best Talent

On this episode of the BreakAway Agent Podcast, John Ellis dives right into how to develop the best real estate team. As CEO and team leader with Keller Williams Northwest Montana Realty, John definitely has leadership experience. He has been licensed as a real estate agent since 1990. He has led in many areas of the real estate industry, including being a mega agent, real estate broker/owner, coach, land developer, and builder.

With all that in mind, Tiffany Youngren picks his brain and the two of them discuss how to have a successful real estate business. It all starts with building the right foundation and having systems to back up your team.

If you are or are working to become one of these breakaway agents, who is building a team – this episode is for you!

Building Successful Teams Starts With Hiring The Right People

John starts off by suggesting that everyone who wants to get involved in real estate should take a personality assessment. As CEO of a Keller Williams branch, he recommends their specific test. However, the DISC assessment is also a great one.

He says that before he started with the KPA (Keller Personality Assessment), he would just hire whoever was handy. Now though, the process for finding the right person to add to the team is about two months. With a longer process, you end up having fewer turnovers.

John says that in real estate, a team leader often hires off a knee jerk reaction, and doesn’t spend enough time making sure the person they are hiring fits in with the rest of the team. This leads to having to fire more people, or worse, NOT firing them and bringing your team down.

Make Sure You Are Matching The Right Person To The Right Position.

As important as it is to hire the right person, it is more important to make sure they are being hired for the right position. John does career visioning, with the KPA to help guide that process, and it has helped shape his team. He recalls one specific person who spent nearly two months coaching, only to realize that they were about to hire him for the wrong job.

When you take personality assessments and spend time getting to know your potential team, you’ll be able to make sure they are doing the job that is best suited for them specifically.

Learn How To Call 3-D

John uses a strategy he calls “Calling 3D,” which is a great way to learn more about future hires and whether or not they make a good fit. Basically, when a potential hire gives him a reference, he will call that reference and get another reference. Then he will call that reference and get another one. And so on until he might talk to 15+ people.

He isn’t looking for 15 people to tell him how wonderful the hire is, he already got that from the first reference. Instead, he is looking for:

  • What else he can learn about a new hire so that he can better help them grow
  • What faults people notice about a potential new agent

At this point in the process, he has already made up his mind about whether or not he will hire the person or not. He isn’t looking to find faults to find reasons to not hire them, he just wants to learn as much as possible so that everyone reaches their full potential.

Culture and Growth Are A Big Part Of Each Role

For John Ellis, culture is a crucial strategy for every successful real estate team. As a team leader with lots of experience, he now has a great understanding of what each member of his own team can bring to the table.

Specifically, he references ALC (Keller Williams Agent Leadership Council), which is made up of the top 20% of agents in each office. They act as a board of directors that help each office become more productive and profitable. Their input helps each real estate team tailor their strategies so that the office can thrive no matter what the market is doing.

John stresses the importance of having these types of people around to be an advisory board that evaluates the team and makes sure they are growing in the right direction.

What Makes A Strong Team Culture?

Serving each other and serving the community is a big part of what makes a strong culture. At least for John, having a team mindset that is focused on others is what makes a team successful. His culture starts at the top, and is God first, then family, then work.

He makes it known in the office that they are there to support each other. If someone is having an issue, the whole team is there to rally behind them and help them however they need.

A Good Work Environment Turns Into A Recruitment Strategy

If you’ve got the best place to work, and your agents are happy, they are going to tell everyone about it. John’s office gets so many applications because they are known for being a great place to work.

If you make your place of business a place that everyone wants to be, regardless of the industry, you will never have an issue finding people who want to work with you.

Open Houses Could Transform Your Business

Figure out a way to bring in as many leads as you can. Maybe partner new technology with old school techniques. Use systems that work and then adjust your marketing strategy to bring in people.

A great example he gives is mega open houses. Open houses are a great way to not only showcase homes you have listed but to show people how you do business. Make events on Facebook, take out an ad, put up hundreds of signs, make it a party. Whatever you need to do to get new leads, do that! Go above and beyond and get your name out there.

Time and Effort Is All That It Takes To Master Something

You can master anything if you put in the time and effort, including learning scripts of the business. Learning scripts is a great way to grow your business. How you talk to people is crucial in this type of industry.

Turn learning a script into a system. You don’t need to master EVERY script. Stay in your lane. What are you good at? Are you good at open houses? Master that script and teach yourself how to better close the sale.

Real estate doesn’t have to be complicated. The industry is really simple. Meet people, learn how to talk to them, and close the deal.

Find Your One Thing That Will Help You Grow

Everything is about systems and finding out what your one thing is to help you grow. Specifically, learning how to generate leads and following up with them is what will set you apart. Finding what you are great at, the one thing that helps you stand out will make it feel less like work and more like your passion.

John’s one thing used to be throwing events at a high level. He’s great at organizing them, inviting the right people, putting on events that make a splash and fulfill a goal. His new one thing is teaching new agents what the Keller Williams value proposition. He does this so that they can figure out what they are good at and have a successful career.

Hire New Team Members Sooner Than You Think

You need people on your team that will help you. Even if it is just part time, hire people who can support your team. Just like at a doctors office, the doctor doesn’t sit down with you and help you fill out the paperwork. He has nurses and admin staff to take care of that so that he can go on saving lives.

In real estate, it is important to surround yourself with people who can support you with some of the smaller and more time-consuming tasks. Free up your time and focus on what you’re good at. Hire people who are good at what you aren’t good at or don’t have the time to do. Ultimately, this will help you and your team grow.

As a team leader, John Ellis wants to share his experience and help spread value and support the community. Some of the key takeaways from this episode is not to forget the basics. Open houses are still important, communicating with clients and collaborators is still crucial, and having a learn before you earn mentality will set you up for success.

About Our BreakAway Guest

How to Eliminate Chaos with Laura Leist

John Ellis, CEO and Team Leader

Keller Williams Northwest Montana Realty

John has been licensed as a real estate agent since 1990. He has led in many areas of the real estate industry, including being a mega agent, real estate broker/owner, coach, land developer, and builder.