Real Estate

Fighting Burnout On Real Estate Teams Takes Planning, Top Agents Say

Team leaders at Sotheby’s and Keller Williams discussed steps their teams are taking to finish the summer strong at Inman Connect on Tuesday.

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Real estate teams must be proactive to fight burnout among their agents and other staff as they work toward a strong close to the summer, according to two top team leaders for Sotheby’s International Realty and Keller Williams.

Micheal Dreyfus of Sotheby’s International Realty and Sue Adler of Keller Williams shared their keys to a successful close to the summer season in a Tuesday virtual Inman Connect Now session.

“The burnout is real,” said Adler, CEO of a real estate team in New Jersey. “We’ve all had crazy, crazy seasons, and so we have to be able to keep our people and make sure they feel really, really appreciated.”

Give agents support

Dreyfus, an owner and top agent for Sotheby’s Golden Gate office in the Bay Area, said his five-person team also worked themselves to the bone last year and had to take steps — such as hiring an additional agent — to help existing team members take time off. 

“I felt like we really needed to get ourselves to the place where we could get some time off and go away and recharge,” he said.

Adler said a big reason behind her 30-member team’s success has been its support staff, which performs essential functions and allows agents to focus on sales and other tasks. But the flurry of business activity over the past year has taken its toll on this group too, she said.

“Our support staff right now, they are probably the most under-appreciated people, and they do so much work,” Adler said.

Having enough support staff, and low turnover, is crucial — especially for teams that are planning to grow or expand, Adler said.

Hire for the future

Her team looks ahead to what they anticipate their administrative needs will be next year and tries to make proactive hires in the summer and fall.

“Hire [for] where you want to go, not so much where you are now because, otherwise, you’re going to implode when your business is growing,” Adler said.

This preparation is critical for scaling operations as teams take on more business, she said.

Take advantage of the flexibility

Both team leaders discussed the ways their teams have changed over the course of the pandemic that have allowed for greater life flexibility for their employees and smoother operations in a coast-to-coast real estate environment.

Adler’s team, for example, has experienced more efficient training sessions via Zoom, where any number of employees can participate in instructional sessions simultaneously, rather than just one or two.

There are also benefits to having employees in different time zones, Adler said. Her team has an employee who is preparing to move to San Diego. Before the pandemic, some agents were writing contracts late into the evening at their East Coast office. Some of those tasks can now fall to this person, Adler said, when it’s only 5 p.m. local time.

Dreyfus is also a fan of having employees active in different time zones, he said.

“I think we’re going to keep some of this stuff that was thrusted on us and try to incorporate it into our business,” Dreyfus said.

Email Daniel Houston

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