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Does size really matter? How to choose the right team for you

teams month horizontalIn September, Inman digs deep on real estate teams — what it takes to join or build one, how to optimize a team and even when to consider leaving one. Adding nuance on top of Inman’s weekly Teams Beat email newsletter, this theme month will serve up top insights from the best team leaders across the country.

When you’re considering joining a real estate team, you have a big decision ahead of you.

Mega teams offer opportunities for growth, diverse lead generation levers to bring you more business, and varied training resources to help you hone your skills. Whereas on a smaller tight-knit team, you can be the top agent — with the perks it affords — have control over teamwide decisions and get more one-on-one coaching.

Which team size is best? Here are the top pros and cons for both mega teams and small teams, from the unique perspective of this leader at one of the largest mega teams in the country.

The pros of joining a small team

Join a tight-knit community

Smaller teams will be more selective about the agents whom they partner with, often leading to more synergy and an enhanced team culture. Small teams often become more like families, really supporting one another inside and outside of the office, while becoming lifelong friends in the process.

More personalized 1:1 coaching

If you’re one of only three agents on the team, you will get more face-time and tailored one-on-one coaching from your leader. On mega teams, some leaders will only coach the top 20 percent of producers. The other 80 percent of agents may be coached by someone else or in cohort-style coaching, resulting in less individualized attention.

Receive higher-converting leads directly from your rainmaker

On smaller teams, the team leader often is lead generating and passing warmer leads directly to agents.

On a mega team, the rainmaker may be out of production, and there are more agents to divvy up leads to. Likewise, on a mega team, the rainmaker is spending more time lead generating for agents and, in turn, spending less time actively building a pipeline of buyers and sellers to pass to the team.

Less competition

On a smaller team, there are fewer agents and less competition to be at the top of the pack. Being a top agent often results in more leads and leverage, along with being recognized at the top of a leaderboard. Many agents’ success is fueled by recognition and celebration of their efforts and results.

A seat at the table and a louder decision-making voice

On a mega team, you may not be asked your opinion as often on where the team’s marketing dollars are spent. You may not be pulled into an interview with the team’s new listing manager. You likely won’t be consulted on what the team’s next client event should be. Smaller teams often take agents’ opinions into account when making decisions that impact the whole team.

The cons of joining a small team

Limited future opportunities

A small team might stunt your growth. If you’re not exposed to higher-level achievers, are you realizing your potential? Are you testing your limits, trying new things and reaping the benefits of more competition? With a small team, you may need to leave and start your own team from scratch or join a larger team for a new opportunity, resulting in inevitable disruption to your business.

Fewer high-level achievers to learn from and grow alongside

Who are you surrounding yourself with? The quality of your business (and life) is directly impacted by the people you spend the most time with. On a small team, your growth may be stunted by less exposure to bigger thinkers and innovative leaders.

The pros of joining a mega team

Higher level leverage

Most agents join teams for enhanced leverage, so you can take your “not-to-do-list” and hand it to someone else. With a mega team, you will likely get more leverage simply due to the team having more staff.

How much more business could you do if you never had to create a marketing campaign again? How much happier would you be if you didn’t have to spend hours cold calling because you had a steady flow of warm leads to convert? More leverage in your business will lead to increased production (and more work-life harmony).

More at-bats with buyers and sellers

With a larger team comes more investment in leads and systems to convert them. A smaller team might not be leveraging AI for best-in-class sales conversion. A smaller team may not be able to host six sphere-of-influence and past-client events in a given year. The same team may not have the resources, budget, or expertise to support diversified lead generation levers. Larger teams often mean a steadier flow of leads.

More competition to fuel your growth

The old adage “the cream rises to the top” holds true here. Will having teammates who you can learn from inspire you? Will seeing an agent do 10 units in 30 days month after month show you your dreams are possible and the path forward to achieve them? Being exposed to stronger producers will help you better yourself and your business.

More specialists doing high-level work to drive agent production and experience

Will a small team have a VP or director of lead generation? Operations? Marketing? Onboarding? Client care? Design and staging? Technology? Training? Coaching? Industry?

A smaller team may only have one director of operations, who is a Swiss Army knife, pivoting from running marketing campaigns to running errands for your team leader to installing signs to managing transactions. This results in a diluted focus and being spread thin.

Endless opportunity

If you’re on a small team, what’s your growth path forward without leaving the team? A move from buyer’s agent to listing agent? Then what?

You likely will need to leave the team to earn your next opportunity or move from your own production to success through others and more passive income.

On a mega team, you could start a team within a team, become a director of sales, or a coach or trainer for additional income opportunities. A larger team allows you to carve out a role or career path that challenges you without needing to leave the organization and start new.

The cons of joining a mega team

You may be a small fish in a big pond

On a mega team, you may feel like a number. You may not get as much individualized support if you’re not doing much production. Although there is equal opportunity for all agents on big teams, more leverage and leads often exist for the agent who is doing a disproportionate amount of the business — even if that doesn’t seem fair.

You may pay a higher split for resources you don’t need

Mega teams have a large value proposition. If you aren’t wanting to increase your unit count dramatically, you may not need as many leads, touch campaigns to convert them, lead gen levers to employ, daily training, one-on-one coaching, etc.

More value often comes at a cost. Depending on your goals, you may not use all of the mega team value your team split is paying for. 

Your mindset may be challenged

Growth is inevitable when you surround yourself with people who are achieving a higher level of success than you. If you don’t want to be challenged or step outside of your comfort zone, a mega team might not be the best fit.

Erin McCormick Torres serves as COO for Livian at KW. She is an author, business coach, Realtor and content creator who runs the popular blog Travel Like a Local: Vermont. Connect with her on Instagram and LinkedIn. 

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